By: Tammy Daniels On: 11:57PM / Tuesday July 05, 2011
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The city is expected to have a new tourism director named by Thursday.
Mayor Richard Alcombright confirmed on Tuesday that a selection had been made but some details were still being worked out before he felt comfortable in making a public announcement.
"I think everybody will be excited," he said. "I think we made a good choice."
The new director of tourism and community events will be introduced at a "First Thursday" discussion group with artists at the Beaver Mill. The monthly evening sessions have been held by Eric Rudd and other artists at the Beaver Mill for some time.
Alcombright said the timing for the session dovetailed with the expectation that a new director would be hired and resulted with Rudd's invitation to attend.
Area artists and the general public are invited as well. The talk will be held on the first floor of Frog Lotus Yoga Studio from 6:30 to 8; use the center front entrance. Light refreshments will be served.
Rudd's press release on the evening stated "This discussion will give the artist-community a chance to not only hear ideas from the new director, but also to hear ideas and concerns from the community."
The director's job has been vacant since the departure of Rod Bunt this past March. Some 30 or so applications were submitted and the finalists narrowed down to a handful.
The post itself has become controversial as the city struggled with a $1 million deficit. Last month, the City Council debated tossing out the entire tourism department (the director and some cash for events) before approving the budget in its entirety.
Some may have expected the job to be back on the chopping block after the defeat of a controversial $1.2 million override to fund the deficit but the mayor says he'll fight to keep the post.
"This will be in Plan B," he said. "I'm going to leave that in the budget ... I am standing by this."
The mayor sees the director's post as a revenue generator, one that will agressively market the city and seek out grants. The goal is for the new director to raise his or her own salary through grants or increases in revenue by luring tourists and new business to the city.
A salary of $34,186 has been budgeted but the total line item for the tourism department has been cut $10,000 from this year.
Alcombright said he planned to submit a revised 2012 budget on July 26. "We cut from the city and the school side $900,000 out of the initial document we came up with in March and April," he said. "The deficit is now about $477,000 ... We're working to get it down."
One bright spot is the recently passed state budget that holds out hope of restoring some $65 million in local aid cuts. That's dependent on how the state's books look; it could be October before municipalities get firm numbers.
"We could pick up a quarter of a million ... This could be a real shot in an arm," said the mayor.
iBerkshires.com welcomes critical, respectful dialogue. Name-calling, personal attacks, libel, slander or foul language is not allowed. All comments are reviewed before posting and will be deleted or edited as necessary.
FANTASTIC NEWS!!! This position is extremely important. The director will not only put on every event that North Adams currently has, but will be tasked with adding a bevy of new events as well. (hopefully late nights, farmer/artist markets, weekend events all Summer and much more) More events = more spending. It's a wonderful step forward, a necessity, and a position that is vital to north Adams growth, and prosperity. Congratulations...grab that ball and run...no...sprint with it!!!
What's with all the disagree clicks...let me guess...the money should be spent on reducing the city deficit (like 34K would even dent it). Well...small minded, short sighted thinkers will always say this. The 34K WILL produce far far far more revenue!!! That position CREATES revenue, and generates money beyond 34K annually for North Adams. Get off your ignorant high horses, and open your eyes...this position WILL 100% bring in more money for North Adams. That is a fact!
I look forward to the discussion on Thursday. This position is an extraordinarily important position for the City of North Adams, helping to nurture and grow the creative economy and bring tourists with dollars to the city. It is my understanding there were some fantastic candidates for this position, many great people who were willing to get paid a little less to help this city grow. So I am positive we have a great person in place.
The hotel and meals tax helps pay for this position. The businesses that collect these extra taxes deserve to see spent on marketing the city and attracting temporary and permanent visitors. This person has a lot to acomplish and prove in a short amount of time with a small budget. Volunteers still need to step up and assist this position.
Amazing that this Mayor simply doesn't get it. The voters just said no to his tax scam and now before we see what he is going to do with the budget he hires somebody. This was the guy who said programs would be eliminated in the schools and employees would be put on furlough. Before even presenting plan "B" he is off to the races hiring new people. I also wish that you so called experts that worship this Mayor would stop refering to those who question his policies as "ignorant high horses". My horse is not ignorant and for that matter niether am I. It would appear that those who bought Dick's propaganda just can't see the forrest because of the trees!
This is not a new position but a replacement for Rod Bunt who left a few months ago. As others have said, the person getting this job has to go out and raise their own salary, and the activities they coordinate are vital to the health of the businesses in this city. They pay taxes too, in case you forget. And the events that are run often bring in fees and revenues and both sales and lodging tax revenues.
You don't starve the cash cows that provides sustenance to the city.
We were told time and time again that if the override did not not pass that , city services would be cut, school programs would be cut , teachers would be let go police and fire response would be slower, streets would not be plowed. Is their anything or anyone that the mayor will not throw under the bus to get what he wants ???
First: The Office of Tourism should be moved to Main Street. It should not be located on a poorly accessible nearly one-way street. Former Mayor Barrett took over that building as one of his revengeful vendettas.
In the Barrett era, the most common question asked by tourists on Main Street was: "How do we get to Bennington?"
So the non union employees of the city - which majority are the lowest paid - may be FORCED to take a 2wk furlough but yet they HIRE a party that " may " bring in funds to the city. What happens if they dont ?? news flash...they get paid anyways. You call us ignorant ?? Well if the mayor FORCES a furlough since this person is the newbee he/she will get the quickest 2wk vaca in history !
Let me see if I understand. Plan B. Let teachers go. Let fireman go . Let police go . Furlough non union employees. Cut programs in city schools. But hire a tour director?? What happened to the 1200 voters that were yelling to save the schools ??? It is the mayor that is throwing the kids under the bus now.
The position was almost eliminated during the Plan A budget which anticipated the passage of the override--now cuts are on the table and he hires a person to fill a position that was almost on the chopping block---he announces this hire at a soiree on the Ruddinistas turf--before he has brought Plan B to the Council---an major insult to the Council--they should defund the position----it's just a glorified "event planner" and "cruise director" anyway-at least that's what Joe (first post) says---more events more events--Dick does know how to take care of his constituencies-- teachers' unions and artistas
If the mayor FORCES the furlough on the non union employees then I say they form their own union so he cannot take money out of their pockets. Majority of them are the lowest paid employees on the city payroll. So FORCING them to give up 2wks pay due to being non union and not ALL city employees should be considered discrimination. Either ALL employees pay up or NONE.
Editor: They're conflating national astroturf movements with local budget conflicts. I Agree (0) - I Disagree (0)
Since the editor's viewpoint is blatantly clear, TEA stands for Taxed Enough Already.....
Fact: It is not an astroturf movement, to quote Nancy Pelosi, which the editor apparently is well versed with, but a grass roots organization tired of spending and more taxes.
You poor thing. The location of the Tourism Office is perfect as it is where people enter the downtown. Secondly Mayor Barrett opened a second Tourism office at the gatehouse of the old Windsor Mill of which I worked at for many years. I have lived in North Adams all my life and no Mayor ever did as much to change our city for the good as Mayor Barrett. He created the Tourist office and all the events you now have in North Adams happened during his time in office. The present Mayor had nothing to do with any of them including Wilco. Mayor Barrett served us well and those who try to tarnish him ought to crawl into a big hole. There are those who will never give hime the credit he deserves and that is too bad. He took a beat up town and turned it into something special. The question is whether all you so called experts can build on it or return it back to what it was before. It looks like it will be the later.
No matter how positive the story is it ends with several sour notes. Call it free speech. I call it a sad excuse to get clicks. Thanks once again for turning what should be a nice positive story about the city moving forward into another hit on the wedge that further divides the community. Good luck Mrs Bosley. You'll need it to deal with the negative comments left on this website. Why should the city spend thousands of dollars with iberkshires to promote itself when idiots can trash it for free. Smart business?
Editor: When is the city spending thousand of dollars with us?? Do you know something we don't?
People have opinions and we don't cherry pick. The only way to really stop the negative comments is to not have any comments. It's something we've discussed but we'd also lose some positive and insightful conversations. And that would be sad. PS: It is Ms. Bosley. I Agree (0) - I Disagree (0)
:: Preliminary Election: Deadline to register is Wednesday, Sept. 7. (Office open from 8 to 8.)
:: General Election: Deadline to register is Tuesday, Oct. 18
Registration can be completed at the city clerk's office at City Hall.
Absentee ballots are now available at the city clerk's office for the Sept. 27 preliminary city election. Voters may come in between the hours of 8 and 4:30 weekdays. Written reguests for mailed ballots can be sent to City Clerk's Office, 10 Main St., North Adams, MA 01247. Deadline for absentee ballots is Monday, Sept. 26, at noon.
The preliminary election will be held Tuesday, Sept. 27, to narrow the field of three mayoral candidates to two. The general election to select nine city councilors and a mayor will be held Tuesday, Nov. 8.