Dennis Grumbine, the CEO of the Lebanon Valley Expo Center, decided to retire on his own and was not pushed out because of anything that happened this year in a clash between him and the county, according to the acting president of the expo center's board of directors.
The Lebanon County Board of Commissioners disbanded the county’s tourism promotion agency in the spring. The agency had been headed by Grumbine.
During the meetings discussing the possible move, Grumbine verbally sparred with Commissioner William Ames. He also traded accusations with Chris Barrett, who the county hired to analyze its tourism business and who now sits on a board putting together a new tourism promotion agency.
None of that had anything to do with Grumbine’s retirement plans, according to expo officials.
“I’m sure people are going to talk, and they’re going to think certain things,” said Sean P. McKinney, acting president of the expo center’s board of directors. “But I can tell you it’s absolutely not true. This was his decision.”
Grumbine did not return messages seeking comment.
McKinney said the hope is to have a replacement by Nov. 1, the effective date of Grumbine’s retirement.
He said the board formed a search committee at a meeting this week. Grumbine provided information on what the board should be looking for in its next executive director and how it should undertake the search and will provide advice during the process.
“We are going to make we do what’s best for the Expo,” McKinney said. “We don’t quite have the rentals and area that (the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex and Expo Center in) Harrisburg or (the) York (Expo Center) has, but we have a very nice facility and a good reputation. To keep that reputation, we want to make sure we have the right person and the right fit.”
Grumbine had been the CEO of the expo center for 11 years and had been on the board for 40 years.
“He’s helped see us through a couple of expansions, and he has a very high level of integrity,” McKinney said. “He is a very good guy and we really do wish him well. I think from his perspective, it was just time.”