LUMBERTON — The Lumberton Tourism Development Authority board on Wednesday “regrettably” accepted the resignation of Mickey Gregory, who has served as executive director of the Lumberton Visitors Bureau for seven years.
“… I wanted you to know how very much I’ve enjoyed working with all of you and how much I’ve loved my job,” Gregory told the board. “It has been a pleasure to promote Lumberton and to promote the wonderful things that go on in this community.”
Gregory’s resignation will be effective Dec. 31, although some board members jokingly motioned to amend that to Dec. 31, 2020.
“You do a great job,” board Chairman Arnold West told Gregory. “You’ve been a great ambassador for Lumberton.”
Gregory said she is looking forward to having more time to herself.
“The friendships and partnerships that have formed during my time at the LVB have been so rewarding. I will miss being at the pulse of what is happening in our community, but I long to enjoy time with my husband, children and grandchildren,” she said in a July 15 letter of resignation.
Since Gregory joined the bureau, occupancy tax receipts have grown from $463,880 in 2008 to $1,018,513 in 2014 and are on track to increase by another 6 percent this year, she said.
Gregory told the board Wednesday that during 2014, $133.27 million was spent in Robeson County by tourists — an increase of 4.47 percent from 2013.
The Red Springs native took the helm at the Visitors Bureau in August 2008. Gregory said she will continue to work at her part-time job as fleet manager for Canal Wood, a position she has held for 35 years. She helped organize the first Lumber River Day and was instrumental in Lumberton becoming a Certified Retirement Community. Gregory is married to Rickey Gregory, who is running to represent Lumberton’s Precinct 1 on the City Council.
In other business, the board amended its bylaws to change how it distributes money to the Carolina Civic Center.
The foundation encompassing the historic theatre receives one third of the occupancy tax revenue generated by local hotels. In the past, the tourism authority has dispersed the money, which amounts to about $400,000 annually, to the foundation directly. Per Wednesday’s amendment, that money will be given to the city of Lumberton, which will disperse it to the Civic Center.
Gregory said the change was being made because the Visitors Bureau is now being audited as part of the city’s annual audit, making it subject to Local Government Commission guidelines that require more information to be reported.
“It’s nothing that the Civic Center did,” she said. “It’s just something that’s required as a part of our audit.”
Sarah Willets can be reached at 910-816-1974 or on Twitter @Sarah_Willets.