MARINETTE — The debate between members of the Marinette County Board of Supervisors over how to promote tourism and market the county may finally end in the near future.

The county board’s Administrative Committee voted Thursday to recommend the creation of development and tourism director and program assistant positions in the Administrative Department, and a program assistant position in the Facilities and Parks Department.

The recommendations to create these positions will be voted on by the full county board when it meets Feb. 25.

The Development Committee approved the recommendations to create the development and tourism director and program assistant positions in Administration on Tuesday.

“The county board at its Jan. 14 board meeting directed the Development Committee and the county administrator to create internal community development and tourism director positions,” said County Administrator John Lefebvre. “It is my recommendation as county administrator to create a director position for development and tourism and a program assistant position to help with the task of advancing community development and tourism.

“The director and program assistant positions will not result in a duplication of skill sets and will provide continuity if either of the positions were ever to be vacated.”

The Administrative Committee voted 5-0 to recommend the creation of the director position, with Supervisor Vilas Schroeder absent, and 4-1, with Supervisor Tricia Grebin dissenting, to recommend the creation of the program assistant position.

It voted unanimously to recommend the creation of the program assistant position in the Facilities and Parks Department.

The Development and Infrastructure committees have both endorsed the creation of the position in Facilities and Parks, which Lefebvre has said will focus on promoting and marketing county assets and allow the county to plan and develop new recreational activities, and apply for grants.

Supervisor Don Pazynski questioned on Thursday if the creation of all three positions would be “overkill” and result in duplication of efforts.

“I’m glad to hear what you’re doing here,” he said. “We’ve got to do something.”

“I think they should be looked at as complimentary to each other,” Lefebvre said. “I don’t think any of these positions are going to run into each other.”

He said he had discussions with some supervisors about the directives from the county board to create separate development and tourism positions and “was concerned about putting two directors in place without support, that you would have no continuity if someone would vacate the position.”

“I suggested that maybe we wanted to look at combining these positions into one division (of Administration),” he explained. “We would have a director in charge of development and tourism and we would have support staff, which would be a program assistant, somebody who would be able to stay in the office and help direct when the director is out in the field and to carry through with whatever the director needs them to do.”

The qualifications sought from the development and tourism director would include: A bachelor’s degree in business administration, planning/community development, marketing or a related field; and two years experience in tourism, community and/or economic development or a related  field, with one of year of supervisory experience.

Lefebvre said the program assistant position in the Facilities and Parks Department would be funded through a contingency fund, the director position would be financed through county funds budgeted for economic development and that the second program assistant position would be funded from the county’s tourism budget.

He said the three positions in the future would need to be funded with revenue from the county sales tax, which he said in the past two years has been solely used for debt retirement.

Grebin said she supported the proposed program assistant position in Facilities and Parks, but not the one to serve as support staff for the development and tourism director

She said she opposes the county marketing private companies and businesses,

Lefebvre said the county on a website provides links to places to stay, play and eat.

“We haven’t thought thoroughly enough on what this director is going to do,” Supervisor Rick Polzin said. “But we should move forward on this and if there are policy things that we don’t agree with, we ought to establish a plan. I don’t think that’s been done.”

Lefebvre said  the development and tourism director and the program assistant in Administration will likely need a “sizable budget so that they can contract out certain things to be done.”

“John had some direction from the county board and now he’s made a recommendation to us,” said Supervisor Mark Anderson, committee member and county board chairperson. “I think it’s time for the county board to allow John to do his job. 

“We need to move on this stuff. Everybody I’ve ever talked to about Marinette County says we’re behind on everything.”