Georgia Turner, Flagler’s new tourism chief, had her debut before the Tourist Development Council Wednesday as the council approved grants totaling $170,000, including underwriting for two popular and growing local conferences that attract numerous out-of-towners.
Turner was hired in November to lead the county’s tourism efforts on behalf of the Tourist Development Council. She introduces herself in her own words.
After Peggy Heiser announced her resignation as tourism’s VP, Lauren Walsh, Nick Langille and Laura Gamba followed, though Chamber President Doug Baxter assures: “It’s got nothing to do with me,” while the TDC wondered if pay is adequate.
Georgia Turner, a sharp, congenial 30-year veteran of public relations and marketing hired out of the Daytona Beach Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, follows Peggy Heiser, who resigned two weeks ago from the $65,000-a-year job.
Peggy Heiser’s resignation, attributed to family priorities, will have political and economic ramifications as the Chamber of Commerce’s Doug Baxter–not the tourism council or the county commission–chooses a successor.
A proposal to raise TDC executive Peggy Heiser’s salary by 7.7 percent was pulled from consideration shortly before the meeting, eliminating what would have been a contentious debate over the council’s budget.
The publicly funded tourism council approved a 7.7 percent raise for the Flagler Chamber of Commerce’s VP for tourism and the council’s administrative head, and 6 percent raises for two staff members. The Flagler County Commission must give final approval.
Beginning today, Flagler’s tourist council will host four “journalists” for four days, touring the county’s attractions and restaurants, all expenses paid, with $3,500 in public money, in exchange for presumably “positive” press.
The first $10,000 were lost when the tourism council’s logo did not appear in a TV ad. Another $10,000 are in jeopardy because of a missed deadline, though the auditorium is having a successful year, with three sold-out shows so far.