MCTA finalizes staff position

Board hopes to fill director opening by mid-October

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At its Tuesday meeting, the Moffat County Tourism Association board:

• Discussed its full-page ad in the 2009 Colorado Official State Vacation Guide. MCTA is selling portions of its ad space to local businesses, and has up to three spots remaining. Each spot costs $986, and the magazine runs about 800,000 copies, which are direct-mailed to subscribers around the country and abroad and also put in every state Visitor's Center in Colorado. Call MCTA board member Melody Villard at 824-9302 for more information. Those interested should call immediately.

• Approved up to $500 to purchase goods for a gift basket for the silent auction at the 2008 Governor's Tourism Conference. The board wants to focus on items that will bring someone to the area, such as a free hotel or bed and breakfast room, a pass to the Yampa Valley Golf Course and Moffat County history books.

The Moffat County Tourism Association board would like its director position filled by Oct. 15.

At a special meeting Tuesday, the board approved a decision to begin advertising and conduct interviews within the next month.

MCTA board members have said they think it is necessary for their group to have a staff person to complete the group's stated goal, to promote Moffat County as a tourist destination to audiences regionally and across the country.

The board does not want to hire a person through the county because the Moffat County Commissioners have asked that any MCTA employee be hired on a contract basis. Contract employees, however, cannot be told when and where to be places, according to Colorado statute, which presents a problem to board members.

The MCTA board needs to be able to tell its staff person what to do and when to do it, board member Pat McCaffrey said.

One option for the group is to hire a staff member through the Craig Chamber of Commerce. That option still is on the table, MCTA board member John Ponikvar said, but the Chamber board has not discussed it fully or voted on the issue.

In that event, the Chamber would put MCTA's staff member on their payroll, and MCTA would reimburse the Chamber for wages and possibly other expenses.

If MCTA's relationship with the Chamber doesn't pan out, the MCTA board could hire a person through Flint Personnel Services, which it did for a time with former Executive Director Shelly Flannery.

It cost the county about $8,000 a year to hire Flannery through Flint Personnel, which included payroll taxes, worker's compensation insurance and other expenses.

Ponikvar lamented that MCTA has to work around the system to get things done.

"That's the unfortunate part," he said. "We always have to play these games to make it work."

The MCTA also approved a job description, which included a first-90-days plan for the position and a wage plan.

The MCTA staff position will pay $2,500 a month for 30 hours a week, the board decided. The numbers work out to be about $20 an hour and $30,000 a year.

The board identified the MCTA Web site, assessing current and future projects and networking with local, and regional organizations as priorities for the position's first three months.

The board plans to hold a work review for whoever fills the position every 90 days, at which point it also will outline objectives for the next term. In the future, the position would be required to staff the Moffat County Visitor Center, as well, board members said.

Board member Melody Villard said she plans to apply for the position. She and other board members said it is not a conflict of interest for her to give input on the position's job description.

"I think considering it's going to be open to everybody, and there's a fair opportunity for everybody that is interested, that I don't think it" presents a conflict, Villard said, adding she would resign from the board if she were chosen for the position.

Villard said she also will not participate in any discussions or votes regarding who to hire and why.

Collin Smith can be reached at 875-1794 or cesmith@craigdailypress.com

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