Jackson tourism agency considers director hire

jacksonJackson County’s getting closer to having a director in place to handle the day-to-day needs of its tourism agency with the deadline to apply for the job closing last week.

The Jackson County Tourism Development Authority has been struggling lately with a growing workload that’s just too big for a volunteer board to handle. But at the same time, the board didn’t want to hire a permanent position until it had some more time to gauge needs and hammer out just how they’d want the position to work. 

So, they opted to look for a contracted worker instead to do the job for a one-year term, giving the TDA the chance to re-evaluate after seeing the position work in practice. 

“We aren’t hiring a director at this time,” said Robert Jumper, chairman of the TDA board. “We’re contracting with an individual to do duties that are similar to a director’s duties.”

The next step will be to sort through the applications and decide who will be best for the job. At this point, Jumper couldn’t give an estimate of when such a decision might be made but said the TDA will at least discuss any progress at its August meeting. 

It’s also uncertain how much the contracted director would get paid. The 2015-16 TDA budget carries a $75,000 line item for the paycheck, but Jumper said that number is just a placeholder. 

“We compared with other counties and came up with a reserve,” he said. “There’s been no discussion as to how much we will be paying (for) this contracted service labor, but we wanted to reserve an amount within the budget.”

According to an analysis the TDA put together earlier this year, salaries for full-time TDA directors in North Carolina range from about $30,000 in Sampson County to $89,000 in Orange County, so using the entire $75,000 would put Jackson County toward the higher end of the spectrum.

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