Pahrump Town Board members made a few alterations to town tourism czar Arlette Ledbetter’s position this week.
The change involves the restructuring of the position which will include a different title as well as an adjustment in pay pursuant to the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division.
Ledbetter has been the town’s tourism coordinator for the past several years.
Town Board Vice Chair Bill Dolan, who authored the agenda item, said the modification will allow the town to save money on overtime pay but will also allow for Ledbetter to receive a pay raise.
Interim Town Manager Susan Holecheck told the board that Ledbetter’s tireless work has been invaluable in increasing the number of tourists who visit the Pahrump Valley.
“I think we need to look at what she does and understand that her job is not Monday through Friday nine to five. Very often she is at functions which require her to work nights, weekends or whatever. I do think that she is very, very deserving of the title of Director of Tourism. We have amended her job description to be inclusive of a lot more tasks and I know she is capable of taking on those tasks,” she said.
Under the title of Director of Tourism, Ledbetter’s duties include executing the marketing plan for the Town of Pahrump, facilitating an active relationship with hotels/restaurants as well as other attractions in Pahrump.
The director will also be responsible for working to stimulate economic development and tourism within Pahrump.
Holecheck went on to suggest that all of the duties associated with the title change should also be reflected in Ledbetter’s salary.
“I think it’s important to let you know that when a salary range is suggested, it is simply that. It’s merely a suggestion to you and it is within your purview to change that salary range if you feel that it’s more beneficial to have a wider range and that is fine,” Holecheck told the board.
Ledbetter, meanwhile, told the board and staff that she was flattered to be considered for the title ascension and likely increase in pay.
“I think it’s an excellent move for the town of Pahrump to integrate economic development with tourism and I think it will be a great benefit for the community, the town, and people of Pahrump. I agree that the salary range seems low for a position that requires such diversity. It’s not a nine to five job. I would like to see the salary range adjusted to be indicative of a director. Not only are there additional tourism duties, there’s additional economic development duties and reporting duties,” she said in part.
Though the new title and position comes with a salary range of $41,000-$51,000, several board members including Dr. Tom Waters thought the range was a bit narrow.
“I would like to see the range increased and that is what I would like to make a motion to do. The salary itself within that range is up to the town manager,” he said.
Amy Riches also agreed on stretching the range.
“When you have an employee that is so passionate and articulate and gives the hours and does what is necessary, you have to monetarily show that employee that they are worth it and we appreciate what they do. I agree that we need to increase most definitely the range. More like $53,000 to $60,000 is what I would like to see because she does an awful lot,” she said.
One who was not onboard with a broader salary range was Board Chair Harley Kulkin who said he really has not seen the results of Ledbetter’s work with tourism.
“I’m a person who like to see results. I know what you are doing right now and what you are paid right now. I can see a pay raise because your responsibilities have increased but before we get to this higher end of salaries I have to see results. This board has spent more than $300,000 to tell people to come to Pahrump but it doesn’t do much good to tell people to come visit Pahrump if they don’t have a reason. I think the $41,000 to $51,000 is just fine where it’s at. It isn’t right to give somebody a huge pay increase without seeing the results,” he said.
In her own defense, Ledbetter addressed Kulkin’s assertion that her work has indeed paid dividends in relation to attracting more tourists to the community.
“The first time since 2008, we have properties recording an increase. I’m not one to pilfer or take advantage. I have worked for the town of Pahrump for seven years diligently. I started out in business licensing, I worked as a clerk and then I was honored to take creating the tourism department and I have invested my all in it. I liked the comments that I heard from the board. I’m truly sorry that you feel that we haven’t made a difference but I firmly believe that we have made a huge difference,” she said.
During a recent town board meeting, Ledbetter provided in great detail how tourism efforts are drawing more and more visitors to the Silver State as well as the Pahrump Valley. Some for the very first time.
“I think you will find a tremendous interest in Nevada’s wine country. We have 50 percent of the wineries in the state of Nevada. One of the markets that we would wish to succeed in is Las Vegas and that is where the greatest interest is for the wine tours. We have been having a tremendous success there. More success than we were aware of until recently. Another one is the national parks. We had no presence in Death Valley National Park or the southern California national parks. This year in June was our first break-in to that market. We have a full-page ad in the Oh Ranger guide and we have a half-page ad in the southern California parks guide and I think that is going to be a very fruitful advertising mechanism for us. The main reason is Pahrump has the amenities,” she said at the time.
After further discussion the board voted 5-0 in favor of the restructuring of Ledbetter’s position on Tuesday.