The Moffat County Tourism Association is taking another crack at hiring a new director.
At its Thursday meeting, the MCTA Board voted, 7-0, to reopen the group’s search for a new director.
The group began its search after director Marilynn Hill announced in April her resignation from the post.
MCTA Board Chairwoman Kandee Dilldine said the organization received 16 applications in its initial search. The group later trimmed the list to two finalists.
However, both of those finalists withdrew their names from consideration.
In one case, the candidate assumed the job could be performed from Denver, the applicant’s hometown. In the other case, the applicant thought the posting was for an office assistant position.
MCTA will reopen the application process for a week. The organization hopes to preliminarily review applications at next week’s meeting, and pick finalists two weeks from now.
After the meeting, Dilldine explained what type of candidate the board is looking for.
“Somebody with a strong marketing background,” she said. “Somebody who knows how to go out and get the tourists we want. Somebody with a strong personality that can deal with the media, deal with the public and deal with other entities — especially political entities.
“Even though we’re not elected by the public, we’re in the public eye a lot because it is tax dollars.”
MCTA is funded through a local lodging tax.
Dilldine said the director position will pay about $32,000 a year, which she acknowledges is a low figure given the level of experience the group seeks.
“What we’re looking for is someone who’s used to making $100,000 a year…. It is a part-time position that feels like a full-time position,” she said.
The position does not offer benefits.
“And that’s hard for a lot of people, especially in this day and age,” Dilldine said.
Nonetheless, the board hopes to find someone from outside the area who has those qualifications and wouldn’t mind a pay cut if it comes with the higher quality of life Moffat County offers.
“We’re hoping somebody out there loves the marketing part of it, who loves the idea of coming up with ways to entice tourists here,” Dilldine said.
Frank Moe, co-owner of Best Western Plus Deer Park Inn & Suites in Craig, attended the meeting as a hotel representative.
After the meeting, Moe said it’s unreasonable to expect an experienced candidate to accept $32,000 per year.
“You need to take your expectations and fit them into the salary and the job,” Moe said. “Let’s be realistic about what we’re trying to accomplish and what type of person we need.”
Rather than look outside the county to find the most highly-qualified person for the job, Moe suggested the board could find someone local with lesser experience who could work with an outside marketing team.
That kind of structure already exists at MCTA, he said.
Beginning in January, MCTA has been working with Edwards-based marketing group Hill Aevium to develop a marketing strategy for Moffat County.
“We need somebody who can work with Hill Aevium who knows the ins and outs of Moffat County and its assets, but use the experience level of Hill Aevium,” Moe said.
Once found, the director will be tasked with marketing the county, particularly its opportunities for self-guided outdoor adventures, and to find tourists who are undaunted by the vast openness Moffat County provides, Dilldine said.
“Moffat County is big and not clearly marked,” she said. “And, that’s how we want it to stay.”
Dilldine said she hopes the new director can begin work in mid-July.
In the meantime, MCTA plans to hire an office assistant. The group has three finalists for the position, and interviews will begin next week.
The office assistant is a new position. The salary for the new position was not included in this year’s budget, so the money will be drawn from MCTA’s advertising budget until a new budget is drawn for next year.
“We’re not using a lot of advertising dollars because we’re doing a study with Hill Aevium,” Dilldine said.
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