MCTA eager to hire director

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— To get something done, the first step is finding the time to do it.

At a special Friday meeting, Moffat County Tourism Association board members said hiring a staff person is a top priority for the group.

MCTA has not had a staff position since former Executive Director Shelly Flannery resigned in January. Board members have said they do not have time to balance the myriad projects the group is pursuing with their own full-time jobs.

A staff person would be the ideal solution, they said.

"We need to get this done because it's important for us," board member Frank Moe said. "To get things done we need to get done, we need to get a staff person hired."

County officials are reluctant to hire someone outright, board president Tammie Thompson-Booker said.

Moffat County Commission members have said the county is wary of creating a new government position because it would require certain benefits and commitments to that person.

With an expected loss in county revenue next year, the commissioners said they are not convinced creating that position is in the best interest of the county.

They are not, however, opposed to MCTA hiring a staff member.

Flannery originally was hired through Flint Personnel Services and was then hired as a contract employee, which is akin to being hired as a subcontractor for a construction job.

Contract employees can be given a scope of work to complete within a certain timeframe but cannot be directed on a daily basis like a standard employee.

Therein lies the problem, MCTA board members said.

"We can't tell someone that is a contract employee where to be and when to be there," Thompson-Booker said. "That is a problem."

Board members have said they want more oversight for a new staff position than they had with Flannery. Members agree that it is important for the board to take responsibility for the group's plans and actions.

Board member John Ponikvar said he does not want to see the MCTA enter into another contract agreement.

"Because then you play games like last time," he said. "You end up with an executive director that's not really an executive director."

The board agreed to approach the Commission soon to ask if the county would be willing to hire a part-time director for the agency, which would make the position ineligible for certain benefits.

If it is not, MCTA members discussed the possibility of hiring a director through the Craig Chamber of Commerce. MCTA would pay for all bookkeeping, benefits, insurance and payroll taxes.

Working with the Chamber will be good to ease relations between the two groups, Ponikvar said. The relationship was strained last winter after a debate about how much MCTA should contribute to the Chamber for running the Moffat County Visitor Center.

"We're working on this relationship with the Chamber," Ponikvar said. "This is a way to do it."

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