Walton County searching for new tourism director to join in-house team

Visitors line the beach near Pompano Joes in Miramar Beach.

SANTA ROSA BEACH — Walton County commissioners have rejected bids from executive search firms that had responded to a county invitation to bid on its search for an executive director for the Walton County Tourist Development Council (TDC).

Instead, commissioners decided Tuesday to bring the search in-house and handle it through the county’s Human Resources Division — although they didn’t completely close the door on the possible eventual use of a search firm to find candidates for the post.

The decision to bring the search in-house, at least for now, runs directly counter to a request from the TDC board of directors. The board is a group of hospitality industry professionals, local officials — including County Commission Chairman Mike Barker — and business people whose enterprises collect the 5% “bed tax” charged to visitors to the south end of the county.

Beachgoers make their way down the stairs at the Blue Mountain Beach public access point. Walton County commissioners on Tuesday rejected bids from two executive search firms and decided to seek a new Tourist Development Council executive director using in-house resources.

Background: Top Walton County tourism official resigns; Cutshaw leaving March 11

How it started: Walton commission terminates contract of TDC Executive Director Jay Tusa

Those collections, in the millions of dollars annually, fund TDC activities such as marketing the county to potential and returning visitors, funding a lifeguard program and making infrastructure improvements related to the county’s public beaches.

The TDC board in March asked the county to engage an executive search firm to help find a new tourism director following the departure of former TDC director of administration Jason Cutshaw, who left in March for another job opportunity.

https://www.nwfdailynews.com/story/news/politics/county/2022/04/29/walton-county-searching-new-tourism-director-join-house-team/9552722002/

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