Regardless of how one feels about the resignation of the Director of our Visitor's Bureau, we have to look now to the "new" Bureau and its future.
Some comments circulating about the "next move" have given me some heartburn. Apparently, the current Board is engaging a "head hunter" to find prospective candidates to present to the Board.
It seems to me the first thing the new Board should do is find an interim director for the summer season. I would recommend a "retired" political figure with requisite experience in managing the workforce, representing Dare County in public relative to tourism issues, and most importantly, digging into the organization itself--correcting wrongs if present, and leaving intact what works. With all the issues floating before the public, real or imagined, it makes no sense to bring a new permanent Director to the job if their first order of business is cleaning up a public relations nightmare.
In regards to the permanent Director, I would urge the Board to not only engage a search firm, but open up the application process for local candidates to submit their own resumes.
I am not a fan of recruiting firms as my experience with them is that they rarely perform as advertised. Even high-end firms do little in the way of pre-qualifying candidates. Most of them will simply pick up the phone and try to locate some current tourism bureau director in another city looking to move up, or even move down to a slower pace. They'll throw stuff against our "wall", hoping one of them will stick, and walk away with a hefty fee. If we are bound and determined to hire someone already in such a position, surely after all this time, some of the major players in Dare County should have an idea of folks running bureau's in other towns possessed of good reputations and results. Let's reach out to them directly, if that is the route we are going to take.
I would recommend a different course, at least at the outset....
Off the top of my head, I can name a half-dozen or more local personalities that already possess the skill set to successfully manage the Visitor's Bureau. I'm not sure how a search firm would reach out to those folks, since none of them are currently employed as "directors" of an existing bureau. But within the civic, Chamber, real estate, banking, insurance and even media circles, I firmly believe we have enough local talent to award the position to home grown candidates.
Dare County is a complicated place. We have distinct geographic communities. Our politics are rough and tumble. A tourism director will also need to grapple with development and controversies such as beach nourishment and Federal beach closures. The diversity of tourism opportunities is tremendous, ranging from golf, to charter fishing, surf fishing, ORV driving, kayaking, surfing, wind and sail sports, and nature excursions. It would take years for a newcomer to assimilate all of this, yet many locals already know the "score" and probably have good ideas on how to improve upon what we already possess. In my opinion, an outsider is far more likely to fail or struggle attempting to juggle all the various issues versus a seasoned local.