OYLMPIA - The executive committee of the Olympia, Lacey, Tumwater Visitor & Convention Bureau fired its executive director in a unanimous vote, citing differences over management style and the organization's direction.
Mike Dexter, who spent nearly three years as the bureau’s executive director, could not be reached Wednesday.
“He did a great job for us, but it was simply time to move in a new direction,” board President Steve Garrett said.
The bureau promotes tourism in Thurston County, operating on an annual budget of about $300,000, Garrett said. Some of that money is generated by hotel and motel tax revenue from the county’s three largest cities, as well as membership dues. Garrett said the budget was down a little this year from last year, attributing it to the slower economy and a lower membership count, rather than to Dexter’s job performance.
“We are actively looking for a new executive director, and we are excited about our prospects for tourism in Thurston County,” Garrett said. A team of executive committee members, including someone from the local hotel industry and other board members, will be created to help in the search for a new director, he said. The bureau’s overall board, which includes the committee, has 15 members.
Board member Greg Taylor said the visitor bureau needed fresh blood and a new direction.
“We wish him the best in his next endeavor,” Taylor said about Dexter.
Board member Michael Cade added that “Mike was a real professional” but that the bureau wanted to go in a different direction.
Dexter was hired in November 2007 from Iowa, where he was the president and chief executive of the Cedar Rapids Area Convention Bureau for 11 years before resigning in June 2005. Following that, he worked as a consultant. At the time he was hired, the executive director position paid $57,000 a year, plus benefits. That year, the bureau had an annual budget of about $380,000.
Rolf Boone: 360-754-5403 firstname.lastname@example.org www.theolympian.com/bizblog