- Associated Press - Thursday, May 1, 2014

NATCHEZ, Miss. (AP) - A 13-committee of local Natchez professionals will lead the search for a new director of the Natchez Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Former director Connie Taunton retired April 1.

The committee chairman is Walter Tipton, director of the Natchez Convention Center and manager of the Grand Hotel.

Mayor Butch Brown told The Natchez Democrat (http://bit.ly/1nLkqds) that in appointing committee he added three “resource professionals” to help guide the search. They are CVB Interim director Creda Stewart, consultant Berkeley Young and state tourism director Malcolm White.

Tipton said the committee could meet as early as next week to discuss a timeline for the application period as well as interview questions.

The committee will also likely set a salary range for the position at some point, Tipton said. Taunton’s salary was $55,000 plus benefits.

Tipton, who served as CVB director for eight years, said he believes marketing and budgeting experience will be top considerations when evaluating candidates.

“Clearly, expertise in advertising and marketing a community is the No. 1 goal that this person has to be able to meet,” Tipton said. “And then after that, of course, experience working with budgets and government funding would be a high priority.”

Tipton said he would expect the committee to narrow the search to three candidates who will be interviewed after applications are received.

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Information from: The Natchez Democrat, http://www.natchezdemocrat.com/