With little on-the-scene fan-fare but a fair amount of pre-meeting lobbying, delegates at the Convention Liaison Council (CLC) approved a major restructuring of the organization at its November meeting in Fort Worth, TX.

The delegates voted to replace CLC's existing executive committee (and its rotating slate of officers) with a board that has four permanent seats for the chief paid executives of these organizations: the Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA), American Society of Association Executives (ASAE), Meeting Professionals International (MPI), and the International Association for Exposition Management (IAEM). In addition, there will be five rotating seats on the board open to any of the other 22 organizations (including the Insurance Conference Planners Association) that constitute CLC.

Delegates also approved limiting participation in CLC to one delegate instead of three for each of the member organizations (including the four permanent board members). This "house of delegates" will meet only once a year instead of twice. But CLC delegates also approved a recommendation for a new meeting to be held once a year or every 18 months. This meeting would be a forum for the discussion of industry issues, and would be open by invitation to non-CLC members.

These were the recommendations of CLC's strategic planning committee, and following their approval, outgoing Chairman Craig Smith, president of AVW Audio Visual, Inc., Dallas, told the group: "Congratulations. You've just led CLC into the 21st century." The strategic committee, led by George Kirkland, president, Los Angeles CVB, and facilitated by Hugh Lee, president, Center for Organization Development, Rochester, NY, came up with the recommendations over the past year. Several problem areas were identified: CLC had failed to serve as an effective forum for discussion of industry issues, was too involved in governance issues, and needed to re-engage some of the founding organizations that had become passive participants. Delegates also approved the insertion of the word global into CLC's mission statement, with the understanding that the organization may some day strive to have a more international representation among its member organizations.

In other CLC news, the technology committee recommended the development of a Web page for CLC by summer 1997. Delegates approved $20,000 in spending to get the project off the ground.

Puerto Rico's Westin Rio Mar Beach Resort & Country Club had its chance to impress all 500 attendees of the Insurance Conference Planners Association (ICPA) Annual Meeting when it hosted an evening function during the event.

But two groups of insurance conference planners got up close and personal with the property-one group before and one group after the ICPA meeting (held nearby at El Conquistador Resort).

In addition to a tour of the gleaming new facilities, planners enjoyed meals at some of the 600-room resort's 13 varied restaurants and lounges, sun beside the 150-meter pool, and the mix of Atlantic and Caribbean waters along Rio Mar Beach on Puerto Rico's northeastern shore. Massage appointments gave planners a look at the property's two-level fitness and health center.

Clothing and gift boutiques, a casino, and the Caribbean's largest ballroom (21,500 square feet) connected to a 12,700-square-foot prefunction area will be high on planners' lists of this new property's attributes. Lawns and poolside patios also are available for functions, and the ballroom and 24 separate meeting rooms combine for a total of 48,000 square feet of meeting space.

Two championship golf courses, 13 tennis courts, and a 35,000-square-foot clubhouse with pro shop, locker rooms, and restaurants will serve a group's recreational needs. Or, there's hiking in nearby El Yunque rain forest, trips to Old San Juan, and plenty of water sports to occupy qualifiers.

The Westin Rio Mar is 16 miles from San Juan International Airport.