The search is on: Future of PIO position in limbo

HARLINGEN — The search is on for a new director to lead the Harlingen Convention & Visitors Bureau.

The city is advertising for the position after CVB Executive Director Melissa Landin was fired last week, City Manager Dan Serna said yesterday.

Landin also worked as the city’s public information officer, serving as the city’s media liaison.

Serna said he has not determined whether he will fill that post.

“I’m still evaluating the PIO position,” he said.

However, the position of CVB director is critical as the city plans the opening of a $14.8 million convention center.

Construction of the 43,700-square-foot building is expected to be competed by late 2018, Assistant City Manager Carlos Sanchez said.

Serna said the CVB director, who oversees a two-member staff, is charged with promoting the city for tourism.

The director will “promote Harlingen as a visitor destination for the benefit of Harlingen hotel-motel and tourism-related industries,” the position’s job description states.

Serna said the convention center’s staff will work to market the convention center while booking its events.

BC Lynd Hospitality, the developer of a 150-room Hilton Garden Inn which will be attached to the convention center, will staff the convention center, Serna said.

“The CVB would complement what the convention center staff will do as far as marketing,” Serna said.

Serna said the position’s salary will depend on qualifications including a bachelor’s degree in business, marketing, communications or a related field or five years of related experience or training.

The CVB director will “implement programs to attract and retain national and international business and tourism to the Harlingen area,” the position’s job description states.

The job’s duties include developing marketing, public and community relations and advertising campaigns aimed at increasing tourism.

The director also will serve as a liaison between the city and the local hospitality industry including hotels, restaurants, tour companies, retail centers and area attractions.

Landin, who was fired Feb. 17, had served as the city’s CVB director and public information officer for about a year.

In January 2016, she was hired as the city’s public information officer at a salary of $47,500.

About a month later, she took the job of CVB director, boosting her salary to $61,500.