Council Surprises Abbott With Tourism Post

OCEAN CITY – The Mayor and City Council unexpectedly announced an in-house promotion on Tuesday to fill the vacant tourism director post.

Communications Manager Donna Abbott, who had been serving as acting tourism director since Deb Turk’s resignation earlier this year, was taken by surprise when Mayor Rick Meehan announced that she had been appointed that day as Ocean City’s new tourism director.

According to the mayor, the town received 98 applicants for the position and the top candidates were narrowed down to four internal staff members.

“You have done so much for the city and have been so much a part of this already and have the experience and the expertise … we would like to welcome you and it is well deserved,” he said.

Abbott responded that as Ocean City’s spokesperson she was speechless.

“I will do my best as you know and put my best foot forward in representing the town every way that I can to make sure that we have the best news out there about Ocean City,” Abbott said.

Abbott joined Ocean City in 1997 as the media services manager for the tourism department and became the town’s communications manager a few years ago.

“It [tourism director] wasn’t something that was quite on my radar but I had become the interim tourism director, and as I was working through I just felt like I had a knack for it and there were a lot skills that were in my wheel house and I thought I would just put in for it and be considered for it,” Abbott said.

Abbott will have to continue to pull double duty as communications director and tourism director until her former position is filled.

At Tuesday’s meeting, new Roland E. Powell Convention Center Direcotr Larry Noccolino was introduced to the council.

Noccolino was the Executive Director of the Valley Forge Convention Center. Prior to joining the Valley Forge Convention Center in 1993, Noccolino worked for the Marlborough Country Club from 1980-1990 and Club Operations and Property Management in 1990-1993

Mayor Rick Meehan said out of the extensive search done to fill the position Noccolino was unanimously approved by the committee.

“Thank you all very much and I am really looking forward to starting, it has been a very good week … just looking to get more of my feet wet,” he said.