Pat McCauley, the city's tourism marketing contractor, is resigning effective April 30, saying
it is in the best interests of both her and the city.
McCauley, owner of InsideOut Solutions, made the surprise announcement during the public comment section of the March 9 city council meeting.
"I thank you all for the opportunity to be the Sequim tourism marketing coordinator for 10 years," she said.
"It was a real opportunity to market Sequim to the rest of the world for the past 10 years."
McCauley read from a resignation letter written Monday to Interim City Manager Linda Herzog.
She cited a 180-percent increase in the city's hotel/motel taxes during the past 10 years and establishment of tourism enhancement grants that have benefited festivals and other events.
McCauley also noted the founding of the Olympic Peninsula Tourism Commission and partnerships with the chambers of commerce in both Sequim and Port Angeles, the state Department of Community, Trade and Economic Development and the state Department of Tourism.
"I believe it is in my best interest and that of the city to retire from the position of Sequim marketing contractor effective April 30. This date will give me time to complete works in progress and work with SMAC and staff to develop a transition plan that continues to grow the tourism industry in Sequim," she said.
Councilor Erik Erichsen said he enjoyed working with McCauley and that she will be missed.
Councilor Bill Huizinga said, "I'm really, really sorry to hear you won't be working on this. I really hate to see you leave. I know you seem to feel you need to but I beg you not to."
Councilor Walt Schubert said he echoed those sentiments.
"I've known you for 10 years. It's amazing what you have done for this community.
"This is the second excellent person we've lost in two weeks, and I think we need to look at what we are doing here," he said.
At the Feb. 23 city council
meeting, Planning Commission chairman Larry Freedman resigned, also saying it would be better for the city as he had become the issue instead of specific projects or policy changes being sought by the city.
At its Dec. 8 meeting, the city council had decided to issue a request for proposals for a marketing coordinator with a contract beginning in March 2009.
City Councilor Ken Hays said these contracts should be longer than one year or else be reviewed annually, not just automatically renewed every year.
But then the council decided at its Dec. 15 meeting against seeking proposals for a marketing coordinator for 2009, concluding it was too late in the process for next year.
So its current $11,000 contract with InsideOut Solutions was extended for one year while the city studied requests for proposals issued by other cities.
The 2009 city budget includes $11,000 for the city's marketing coordinator and $53,234 for tourism-related advertising expenses associated with the contract.
The funding comes from the city's $140,000 in annual hotel/motel taxes, which come from 0.4 percent of the sales tax paid by visitors to the city's hotels, motels, bed and breakfasts and other lodging establishments.
Reach Brian Gawley at email@example.com.
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