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Washington’s hunt for new WTDA director enters interview phase

The search for a new director of the Washington Tourism Development Authority is in the first round of interviews. Lynn Davis, the former director, resigned last month.
The deadline to for applicants seeking to replace Davis was June 4. Fifteen applications were received, according to Stacey Everette, the city’s human-resources director. “Have we narrowed the applicant pool? Yes. Do we have ‘finalists’? Not sure yet,” she wrote in an email.
After the interviews are completed, there might not be any finalists, and the city would have to re-advertise the position, Everette wrote.
The salary range for a WTDA director is from $49,851 to $74,777, according to a city document.
The minimum requirements for the next WTDA director are a bachelor’s degree in business, marketing, public relations or a related field of study from a four-year college or university; three or more years of directly related experience, or an equivalent combination of education and experience; a valid North Carolina driver’s license, according to a city document.
The job summary for the position includes, but is not limited to, the following:
• Market and promote the city as a destination, marketing the downtown, planning and implementing special events to promote the downtown and related tasks.
• Reviews and prepares financial reports and oversees budget; communicates with WTDA board; maintains all board documents in preparation for financial audit.
• Develops marketing plans, brainstorms ideas with ad agency, approves ads and copy, pitches stories to media.
• Oversees and identifies Civic Center maintenance needs; maintains facility for use by renters; coordinates repairs and improvements while maintaining the character of a historic property.
• Maintains records of hotel occupancy, visitation statistics, trends from attractions, website traffic, state travel trends, etc. to determine effectiveness.
Last month, WTDA Chairman John Butler said the new director would be considered at city employee, under terms of the interlocal agreement between the city and WTDA. Under the interlocal agreement between the city and WTDA, the salary and benefits of the new director would be paid by WTDA from the revenue it receives from the city’s occupancy tax.
Also, the city is seeking a new Civic Center coordinator. The deadline to submit applications for the position was June 4. Nine applications were received. The annual salary range for that job is from $21,715 to $32,594, according to a city document.
The minimum requirements for the coordinator’s position are a bachelor’s degree from a four-year college or university, two to three years of related experience or equivalent combination of experience and education and a valid North Carolina driver’s license.
Revenue from Washington’s 6-percent occupancy tax increased 32 percent from fiscal year 2013 through fiscal year 2017, according to city financial data on file with the N.C. Department of State Treasurer.
The city took in $209,348 in occupancy-tax revenue in FY 2013. In the next four fiscal years, the revenues came in at $222,208 in FY 2014, $247,187 in FY 2015, $259,553 in FY 2016 and $277,992 in FY 2017. For every $100 spent on lodging such as hotel and motel rooms, the city collects $6 in taxes.
A significant amount of occupancy-tax revenues are used to fund programs and projects intended to bring more people for overnight stays to areas served by agencies like the WTDA. The WTDA allocates two-thirds of its annual revenue to promote travel and tourism and the remaining third on tourism-related expenditures.

About Mike Voss

Mike Voss is the contributing editor at the Washington Daily News. He has a daughter and four grandchildren. Except for nearly six years he worked at the Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, Va., in the early to mid-1990s, he has been at the Daily News since April 1986.
Journalism awards:
• Pulitzer Prize for Meritorious Public Service, 1990.
• Society of Professional Journalists: Sigma Delta Chi Award, Bronze Medallion.
• Associated Press Managing Editors’ Public Service Award.
• Investigative Reporters & Editors’ Award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Public Service Award, 1989.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Investigative Reporting, 1990.
All those were for the articles he and Betty Gray wrote about the city’s contaminated water system in 1989-1990.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Investigative Reporting, 1991.
• North Carolina Press Association, Third Place, General News Reporting, 2005.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Lighter Columns, 2006.
Recently learned he will receive another award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Lighter Columns, 2010.
4. Lectured at or served on seminar panels at journalism schools at UNC-Chapel Hill, University of Maryland, Columbia University, Mary Washington University and Francis Marion University.

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