MARINETTE — A long-awaited decision on how Marinette County will receive economic and community development, and tourism and marketing services in the future will be determined later this month if the County Board of Supervisors and its Administrative Committee follow the advice of the Development Committee. 

The Development Committee on Tuesday voted 7-0 to recommend the immediate creation of a development and tourism director position with the salary to be determined after the position is rated by Carlson Dettmann Consulting, which previously did a wage study for the county.

The Development Committee also voted unanimously to recommend the immediate creation of a program assistant position to assist the development and tourism director.

The Administrative Committee is scheduled to meet Thursday and the county board’s next meeting is Feb. 25.

Both positions will be under the jurisdiction of the county’s Administration Department, Administrator John Lefebvre told the committee. 

The county board voted Jan. 14 to direct the Development Committee and Lefebvre to create internal community development and tourism director positions.

“So we had the potential for two positions,” Lefebvre said Tuesday. “After some conversation with a couple of county board members — the ones who made the motions at the county board meeting and the ones who seemed to have a fair amount of interest in this topic — I suggested maybe we should look at having some continuity between these positions. 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.

“If you have a development director position and that person works for year or two and leaves, no one else knows what’s going on and what has happened in that department and you have to start over, in essence, from scratch. When you talk about tourism, if you have a single-person office it’s difficult to keep continuity if somebody leaves that position.”

Lefebvre said in addition to providing continuity, the advantage of having a tourism and development director and a program assistant is that there will not be a duplication of skill sets.

“The program assistant would be somebody who would remain for the most part in the office, be available to answer the phone and answer questions and assist the director with whatever the director has decided is the direction they need to go and the work they need to do,” he explained. “My concern is if you create two upper management positions, they’re both going to be out of the office and the calls to either one of them is just going to go to voicemail.”

Lefebvre said the job description for the proposed development and tourism director should be sent to Carlson Dettman Consulting to be rated so the pay range for it can be determined. He said the program assistant position wouldn’t have to be rated because the county already has several program assistant positions that already have been rated.

The county board voted in February 2018 to contract with the City of Marinette for tourism promotion and marketing. It has been without a tourism director of its own since Butch Kostreva resigned his part-time position in November 2017. Lefebvre said in October of last year that he had notified the city “that it is not my intent to bring the contract back to the county board for renewal.”

“I think it’s a good solution,” said Supervisor Bobbie Popp, of Lefebvre’s proposals.

“I commend you John for getting all of the information that you put forth in your recommendation,” said Supervisor Ted Sauve, chairperson of the Development Committee.

“It wasn’t by myself,” Lefevre said. “I had plenty of help from a number of county board supervisors who were willing to sit down and have this discussion.

“These positions are not in a department by themselves. These positions are part of administration, they’re part of my department. We’re going to call it a division of administration to try and set if aside a little bit.”

Savue asked Lefebvre how long it would take to fill the two positions if they are approved by the Administrative Committee and the full county board,.

“You’re probably looking at a good four months,” said Lefebvre, who noted if they are approved by the county board, the wage level of the director position needs to determined with advertising and interviews to follow.

Popp said she thought it would be a good idea for the director to be selected first and then be involved in  the hiring of the program assistant.

“I suggest we move forward with the hiring of them both immediately,” Lefebvre said. “The same people who are going to hire the development director are going to be hiring the program assistant ... so they would be in a position to know what their skill sets are going to be, what each one brings to the table. We’d do it at the same time, otherwise it’s going to be four months out. I’m going to be religiously involved in the interviewing for the position. It’s going to be my decision with the chairperson of this committee.”