Steve Morris, a tourism industry veteran who headed the Seattle Convention and Visitors Bureau for 18 years, has been hired as interim president of the Palm Springs Desert Resorts Convention and Visitors Authority. The stopgap solution to the agency's leadership void was announced May 10 after its nine-person executive committee voted unanimously to offer the job to Morris.
Morris, 55, officially reported for work this week and will serve in the position until a permanent replacement is hired. He is to receive a monthly salary of $16,656 for the first 90 days and $20,000 monthly thereafter.
In filling the position on an interim basis, the agency, known locally as the CVA, also interviewed Ted Sprague, a hospitality consultant who lives in Atlanta.
"Although we were extremely fortunate to have two very strong candidates to fill the interim position, we felt Steve's experience in the convention and visitors bureau industry made him an excellent fit for our present needs," said Executive Committee Chairman Tom Freeman. "We are pleased that CVA staff has remained focused, continuing to move forward with sales and marketing initiatives during the search for a permanent replacement."
CVA officials, indicated earlier that an aggressive, nationwide search is under way to identify qualified candidates for the job of permanent replacement. CVA spokesman Mark Graves said a five-person search committee is hooked up with Norman Roberts, a high-profile executive recruiter who founded Norman Roberts & Associates in Los Angeles in the late 1960s. The CVA is paying Roberts $36,000 for his role in the process.
Morris, meanwhile, has replaced Gary Sloan, who was interim president for eight days before resigning for health reasons on April 21. Sloan's predecessor was the entrenched Michael Fife, whose 33year career with the CVA ended March 24 when he announced his retirement amid allegations of financial improprieties on the job.
A publicly funded agency with an annual budget of $5.4 million, the CVA serves as a local coordinating agency for sales, marketing and promotional efforts aimed at potential tourist, corporate and convention group markets.
Its membership includes the cities of Cathedral City, Desert Hot Springs, Indian Wells, Indio, La Quinta, Palm Desert, Palm Springs and Rancho Mirage, plus local Indian tribes, and a number of hotels, restaurants and other assorted businesses.
© 2005 Desert Publication, Inc. and Sharon Apfelbaum Provided by ProQuest LLC. All Rights Reserved.
Source: Public Record, The