The Southern Highlands’ tourism industry has been dealt a severe blow with the shock resignation of its chief Linda Marquis.
Newly appointed Board chairman John Hawksley made the announcement during a board meeting on Monday night.
The Tourism Southern Highlands manager of almost six years leaves on December 28.
Mr Hawksley said members were stunned.
“Her success in satisfying the requirements of both Council and the Board is no mean feat and epitomises the abilities of this lady,” he said.
Board Member and councillor, Rick Mandelson said it’s a “tragedy”.
A Council statement yesterday said she is moving “on to other challenges”.
However, The News has learnt internal pressures were a factor in her resignation prior to her contract ending in July.
“There were staff issues,” a source close to the board revealed.
Ms Marquis’ only comments late yesterday were that she timed her decision to start with the new millennium.
“(the job) was very challenging,” she said. “But I feel now is the right time to move on.
“There are many dedicated people out there and tourism here is in good shape … and it can only go forward and will go forward.”
General Manager David McGowan and Board members contacted yesterday didn’t make any on the record comments on reasons behind her departure.
Mr McGowan did say Ms Marquis was “very committed and professional”.
Among her achievements was the establishment of an accommodation booking service in 1996 and the formal accreditation of the Visitor Information Centre.
“It is no mean feat to balance obligations to our Tourism Board, Council and our rate paying community,” Mr McGowan said.
Mayor Phil Yeo said; she “will be a hard act to follow.”
The Tourism Office’s special events co-ordinator Liz Tickner will be acting manager while a replacement is sought – not expected to be for several months.
Cr Mandelson said he and the other eight Board members sat in disbelief during Mr Hawksley’s announcement.
He said Ms Marquis successfully ran a non bureaucratic organisation “which didn’t fit in with the normal way Council (local government) operated”.
“I think Council doesn’t understand the public interface, it was the Tourism Office that performed the marketing function and sales function,” he said.
“That is something Council isn’t good at and with Linda being a dynamic person, I think it frustrated her.
“(her leaving) is a tragedy for tourism in the Southern Highlands,” he said.
This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.