Calendar  |  Abraham Lincoln Tourism Bureau of Logan County

Tourism appoints Leslie Hoefle as interim director

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[July 28, 2013]  The Abraham Lincoln Tourism Bureau of Logan County has announced the appointment of Leslie Hoefle as interim director of the bureau. This will be a temporary position as the board continues its search for a full-time permanent director.

Andy Anderson is one of two county board representatives on the tourism board. He recently contacted Lincoln Daily News to offer an update on the tourism bureau and the ongoing search for a new director.

The position was vacated in April by Geoff Ladd, who resigned shortly after the city of Lincoln began talks on taking over the hotel-motel tax revenues, currently collected and distributed to the tourism bureau, Main Street Lincoln, Looking for Lincoln and various historic sites by the Logan County Board.

Shortly thereafter, the city made decisions about what they would do in the future. The Lincoln City Council voted to take over the administration of the tax revenues that come in from Lincoln hotels and motels, beginning in December. At the time of this decision, the council also voted to make no changes to the current funding structure or operations of the tourism bureau for one year.

The council decided on a set of expectations for the bureau and shared that information with the tourism board.

At the end of the first year, the city will look at the bureau and determine if it is successfully promoting tourism in Lincoln. If so, no changes may occur; if not, the city has the option to redirect the funding to other entities.

The city does not, however, have the ability to dissolve the tourism bureau, and the bureau does have revenue streams other than the hotel-motel tax.

Anderson said that it is the concern for these other dollars that prompted the board to appoint Hoefle as an interim director. He said right now there are two pending payments from the state that the bureau cannot collect because it doesn't have a working director. He said with this appointment, that money will now come forth.

In addition, there is a grant for 2014 that needs to be written through the state tourism bureau. Anderson said that representatives from that state agency have offered to assist Hoefle in getting the grant written, and Hoefle is expected to begin her duties with a trip to Springfield to get the task accomplished.

In regard to the ongoing search for a permanent director, Anderson said the board has gone through the process once and failed to find someone they feel is the right fit for Lincoln and Logan County.

Anderson said there were interviews recently with three candidates who read well in their resumes, but when they each arrived for their face-to-face interviews, none of the three stood out as someone who would represent tourism in the manner the board wants the agency to be represented.

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Anderson said the interview process had been an intricate one, with each candidate visiting three "stations" or panels for face-to-face interviews.

The first station consisted of tourism board representatives. Anderson said he and county board member Andy Meister represented Logan County on the panel. For the city, Mayor Keith Snyder and Alderman Tom O'Donohue were present. The panel was completed with tourism board members Darlene Begolka, Charlie Ott and Gail Sasse.

The second station consisted of a panel of representatives from other agencies. Andi Hake represented the Lincoln/Logan Chamber of Commerce; Brian Bergen was there representing the Lincoln & Logan County Development Partnership; and Bill Hoagland represented Main Street Lincoln.

The third station panel consisted of local businessman David Lanterman; Damon Priddy of the Hampton Inn, representing the hotel-motel industry; and Bill Thomas, representing the Atlanta community.

Anderson said that Elkhart and Mount Pulaski were also asked to send representatives for this panel, but no one was available on that particular day.

The interviews were conducted between 9 a.m. and noon on a Saturday. When all three candidates had completed their interviews, the three panels from the various stations came together to discuss each candidate.

Anderson said that among the three candidates, none stood out as the one person who would serve the tourism bureau well. Consequently, the panel decided not to recommend any of them, but instead recommend that the search continue with a new set of candidates.

Anderson said the bureau intends to continue its search for a full-time permanent director, but with the appointment of an interim, the pressure is off them to get this accomplished quickly.

The bureau will continue its day-to-day operations under the guidance of Hoefle, who has been a part-time employee of the bureau for a while and is familiar with the daily operations.

The board will continue its search for the right person to fill the position permanently.



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