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VCVB officially hires city native as director

[3/26/04]The Vicksburg Convention and Visitors Bureau voted Thursday to officially hire Emy Bullard Wilkinson as its new director.

Chairman Eric Biedenharn said Wilkinson plans to start work full time April 12.

The vote came at the regular monthly meeting of the board Thursday evening at the downtown visitors center.

It was unanimous, and Biedenharn said board members are excited about the hire.

“I’m sure all of y’all and the whole committee are ready to get her here and on board,” he said.

Wilkinson is from Vicksburg. She will return here from Corinth, where she has served as the executive director of that area’s tourism promotion council for 7 1/2 years.

Biedenharn suggested the board and Wilkinson hold a planning retreat together during her first several weeks on the job.

The bureau has been without an executive director for seven months, since 18-year director Lenore Barkley retired in September. She had been with the bureau for 27 years.

Barkley continues to provide consulting services for the bureau.

The board’s previous retreat was about six to eight weeks ago, Biedenharn said.

Through the end of February, the organization had spent $136,036 on revenue of $126,042 for a deficit of $9,994 for the year so far.

“We are running a deficit, as we usually do this time of year,” Biedenharn said.

During February the organization received $64,405 and spent $83,848, for a deficit of $19,443 for the month.

The main reason for that difference was the $10,013 over-budget the bureau spent on annual brochure-printing, Biedenharn said. The amount budgeted for the month for that category was $1,250, but the amount spent was $11,263.

The VCVB is funded almost entirely by a special tax on room rentals and restaurant and bar tabs. It operates on about $850,000 a year.