By MARK EVANS, Ste. Genevieve Herald
Tanalyn Dollar, Ste. Genevieve tourism director since January, resigned effective immediately on Monday.
Dollar became the fourth tourism director to resign in less than four years.
The position was open some four months before Dollar was hired. During that time, much discussion was held over how to redefine the position’s responsibilities and to possibly boost its pay.
After Sandra Cabot, who had held the position since 2013, left at the end on November 2019, the city has had a terrible time keeping the position filled.
Toby Carrig, former Herald owner and editor, followed Cabot and lasted about one year. Radio/internet marketing veteran Jeff Wix followed, also lasting about a year.
Dollar, also with extensive marketing experience, lasted barely six months.
Dollar explained her decision to leave.
“It’s become clear that my vision for tourism in Ste. Gen. and community collaboration is not shared by everyone,” Dollar said. “I’ve given my best effort. I wish everyone the best.”
Dollar indicated she would be willing to help out part-time to bring her successor up to speed, if desired.
“If I can help on a contractual basis to help the new director become acclimated, I’m more than willing to do that,” she said.
“While it is tough losing a member of the management team, Ms. Dollar decided the private sector was where she wants to be,” City Administrator
Happy Welch said. “She has offered her services to help us through this transition and I will discuss with the board the next steps to fulfilling a tourism marketing director position for the city of Ste. Genevieve. We wish Tanalyn success with this latest endeavor.”
Dollar had advocated a redesign of the tourism website, which was being done. She also strongly urged the implementation of VisitWidget, an application to help visitors plan their trips. She also wanted to see local tourism stakeholders start using Google Workspace to communicate with each other and with her.
She did not feel like she had the backing of the joint tourism group (comprised of the Tourism Advisory Council and the Tourism Tax Commission) or of the city government.
“I think Ste. Gen. is a wonderful place and I had some very aggressive and exciting plans,” she said. “I really, really appreciate the people that came forward and showed their support verbally and physically. I owe them a lot. They’ll always be in my heart. It’s painful, but I have to what I know is right for me.”
Dollar was criticized for researching competing cities and trying to set up cooperative programs with cities like Perryville. Dollar said she was told she needed to be “more visible” within the community.
In the end, she didn’t feel like she and many of the tourism stakeholders were on the same page.
“There are many groups in Ste. Gen. who feel at liberty to dictate to someone in this role without completely understanding everything that is involved,” she said. “They really don’t have the time because they’re running businesses and what-not.
“If you don’t have the good faith and support and if much of what you do is being questioned you can’t really get a lot done.”
Dollar felt the city needed to take some quick steps to stay competitive in the tourism market.
“I think speed is of the essence,” she said. “Ste. Gen. is in a competitive environment and they have a lot of catching up to do. Still, the opportunity is there for someone to really make a mark and for substantially achieve the goals that the community wants, if they’re given time and they’re given the full authority to execute with the support needed.”