Birmingham City Council

Mr. Hoyt Goes to Australia. City-Paid Trip Takes Him to Sports Business Convention

Birmingham City Councilor Steven Hoyt (foreground). Councilor Crystal Smitherman is in the background. (Source: Sam Prickett)

Birmingham City Councilor Steven Hoyt and council administrator Cheryl Kidd will leave Birmingham on Wednesday to attend the Sport Accord Gold Coast 2019 Summit in Queensland, Australia.

The city will pay $8,930.07 for each of them to attend, making it the most expensive city-funded trip, per person, than any city employee has taken since at least November 2017. Travel records before November 2017 are not available from the city’s website.

Hoyt and Kidd will be part of a delegation representing the 2021 World Games, which will be held in Birmingham. That delegation, Hoyt said, includes World Games Chairman Jonathan Porter, among other non-city representatives. The city is not paying for the private employees.

Hoyt said that the delegation’s goal will be to determine best practices for the World Games, “to make sure that when they come here, we make sure that it runs smoothly and that we cover all the bases that we need to cover with respect to transportation, to venues and security, and to ensure that it’s a wholesome environment when they get here. That’s the whole point of going.”

Hoyt and Kidd will be in Australia from May 1 to 11, but the summit does not begin until May 5 and will last through May 10. That delay, Hoyt said, is to allow time for “your body to adjust and all that … to adjust to the time zones (after) 14 hours in the air.” The World Games delegation will also hold meetings during that time, he added.

The summit, which bills itself as “the most attended international convention in sport business,” says its goal is to facilitate connections between attendees, “key decision-makers and influencers in sport,” and various international sports federations. The conference’s website also highlights the Gold Coast’s vacation attractions, including its “best in the world” beaches, culinary scene and theme parks.

Hoyt and Kidd have each been approved to spend $2,500 on registration for the event, $1,753.22 on lodging, $2,809.83 on airfare, $300 on taxis, and $1,567.02 on meals.

Hoyt said he is “unapologetic” about the trip, saying it will contribute to the projected $100 million economic impact the World Games will have on Birmingham. “It’s a drop in the bucket,” he said.