NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The city is looking for a new face — someone who will promote North Adams' cultural and recreational assets and partner with regional organizations with similar goals.
The position for a director of tourism and community events was posted on BerkshireJobs.com last week. The job appears to expand on what had been the director of the Mayor's Office of Tourism and Cultural Development.
According to the job posting, "This position will create an atmosphere that attracts, welcomes and supports existing and new cultural institutions and creative businesses, as well as artists and creative individuals of all disciplines into the city of North Adams."
The goal is to increase the number of visitors (and the amount of their spending) in the city by coordinating events with other entities and towns and promoting marketing intiatives. The director will also coordinate all city-sponsored activities, such as the Mayor's Downtown Celebration, the Northern Berkshire Food Festival, and sporting events among others. The person selected will also be expected to grow a volunteer corps and work with existing organizations.
The post requires a bachelor's degree in marketing or communications and several years experience in related marketing. The new director will also have to be able to handle the website, email marketing, social media and online strategies.
The tourism position had been filled for the past decade by Rod Bunt, a former WNAW radio host hired by the former administration. Bunt quit March 3 saying he was looking for opportunities in the private sector, but there had been speculation for months that he and Mayor Richard Alcombright weren't seeing eye to eye on the position's responsibilities. "I've been canned, sacked, terminated, booted, ...," he wrote on his "The Unemployment Diary," but later told the Transcript that it was a writing exercise for an obscure literary magazine.
Alcombright said the city would take the opportunity to expand and "carefully craft" the director's job description to incorporate more marketing skills. Within a couple weeks of Bunt's departure and before any job vacancy was posted, the city had received nearly three dozen resumes.
The director's post is currently an S-35, with a starting pay of $33,009. The advertisement does not give a wage estimate nor is it clear the position will be the same classification. Alcombright last year raised eyebrows when he pushed for a new classification for an administrative assistant that jumped the job's starting wage up several steps from the secretarial classification.
The city's also looking for a seasonal park security officer for Windsor Lake and the campground. The Parks & Recreation Commission discussed the post at its last meeting.
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Anything shy of $50k is going to get you lousy candidates and the same group of "local experts" who have never figured out how to crack this nut.
The city should make it a contract position, not an employee, with incentives that could take it close to $100K if things go REALLY well. THEN you would get some real candidates who actually have a chance of making things happen.
Editor: Very interesting idea. What kind of incentives? How would you "rate" the person? I Agree (0) - I Disagree (0)
The incentives would be $$$ and have to built into the budget for the position, but doled out on a discretionary basis by the mayor's office or, better - an independent board made up of local tourism stakeholders. Any monies left at the end of the fiscal year would return to the general fund and the process would start over again.
Certain benchmarks would trigger certain levels of compensation - Media Coverage - $x for a story directly generated by the office covered by a Boston TV station. $2x for the same in the New York Times.
Other types of achievement could be measured by attendance at events, feedback and ratings from vendors/participants, meeting deadlines, financial success of events, etc....
Most importantly this person should become the face of North Adams tourism at trade-shows, cultural events, fundraisers, etc... That type of dynamic personality is critical. He/She is selling the city.
It would not be hard to craft a fairly objective contract that clearly defines this role and what is not only expected, but what is hoped for.
I've gotten the impression that too many creative types in North Adams think that "if you build it, they will come." The fact is that 99% of businesses/ideas will fail without good marketing. Those that succeed on luck and word of mouth alone are far and few between.
If they treat this position like an event planner rather than a marketing position, the city will get the same old results.
Editor: Hmm, sounds complicated but workable. I agree that falling back into event planner mode isn't the way to go. I Agree (0) - I Disagree (0)
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