By Mike Dunn

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — This week brings a key decision by the folks who run the Pennsylvania Convention Center.

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Board members are scheduled to vote Wednesday on whether to hire a private firm to run the day-to-day operations.

This comes in the wake of declining bookings of major conventions.

Three firms have bid for the contract to run the Convention Center.

On Wednesday, the board may either choose from among those three, or may decide to retain the current local staff.

The chairman of the Convention Center board, Gregory Fox, says this is just one part of a larger effort to make the center as competitive as possible.

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“We’re looking at so many different aspects of our operations, including our management model, the labor work rules, the transparency of our billing and the way in which labor, in fact, is supplied to the building,” Fox Said.

Two of the three bidders, SMG of Conshohocken and Global Spectrum, owned by Comcast, are considered the front runners.

The vote Wednesday comes in the wake of a report of a steep decline in major convention bookings beginning next year, through at least 2016.

Fox says outsourcing management may be one way to help reverse that.

“There are convention centers everywhere. The only way the Pennsylvania Convention Center is going to succeed if we get to the point where we are highly competitive both in terms of cost and service,” Fox said.

Since it opened 20 years ago, the Pennsylvania Convention Center has been run by a politically appointed board that oversees paid staff.

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