Natchez tourism director designate backs out
from Staff Reports - NEWS
December 21, 2016 - ListenUpYall.com
By John Mott Coffey
NATCHEZ, Miss. – City officials will continue searching for a Natchez tourism director after their final candidate backed out.
Mayor Darryl Grennell said he met with her Tuesday to firm up details of the job, but she decided not to take it. Grennell declined to identify the prospect. “I’m not going to give any names,” he said.
The mayor said he’ll meet after the holiday season with the Natchez Board of Aldermen and Convention Promotion Commission to decide what direction to take in finding someone else to be tourism director.
Grennell and the two boards interviewed two applicants on Saturday. Grennell met again Tuesday with the candidate they agreed to hire. He had plans to publicly announce who she is, but she decided to stay in her current job, Grennell said.
The Board of Aldermen in April ousted then-tourism director Kevin Kirby and the six-member Convention Promotion Commission after they bickered for months about how the city’s tourism program was being managed. The CPC has since been refilled with new members. Jennifer Ogden Combs has been interim tourism director until aldermen appoint a new one.
City officials since summer have been actively seeking a permanent tourism director with an advertised salary of $75,000 to $100,000 a year. A pool of applicants was shrunk to the two interviewed Saturday in a meeting closed to the public by the Board of Aldermen.
The city’s tourism sector has been rattled this year by infighting and confusion. Clashes emerged about who’s in charge, how city tourism funds are being managed and how convention business is being divvied out to hotels, caterers and other vendors. This came as the city was celebrating the Natchez Tricentennial with a year-long series of events to attract a stated goal of 650,000 visitors in 2016.