Pending approval by the Haines Borough Assembly Tuesday, resident Leslie Ross will become the town’s new tourism director.

Manager David Sosa said Monday that Ross had accepted the job, but wouldn’t comment on the salary until the assembly approves the hire.

“It’s within what was budgeted for the position, and as it is a union position, it comes with all of the benefits per the collective bargaining agreement,” Sosa said.

Former interim manager Julie Cozzi budgeted about $46,500 for the tourism director position in her fiscal year 2015 draft budget.

Ross has lived in Haines for more than 20 years and works as development director for KHNS. Alaska Arts Confluence President Carol Tuynman was the other finalist.

Ross underwent two rounds of interviews by two separate hiring committees. The first committee consisted of Sosa, Cozzi, public facilities director Carlos Jimenez and Tourism Advisory Board president Barbara Mulford.

Jimenez said Ross “will be a positive representative for the Haines Borough in all aspects of that job” and “will work well with other borough employees.”

“She is vested in our community, (and) is very energetic with what I believe is a strong background in marketing and tourism,” Jimenez said.

The second hiring committee consisted of Sosa, Cozzi, and assembly members Joanne Waterman and Diana Lapham. Waterman is the chair of the personnel committee, and Lapham is the assembly liaison to the Tourism Advisory Board.  

“That way we had kind of a full look,” Sosa said of the two-pronged approach.

Ross has worked at KHNS since 2009, where she is responsible for fundraising, coordinating events, and gaining public support from residents and businesses.

From 1994 to 2011, Ross worked as captain and operations manager at Alaska Fjordlines, where she managed staff, represented the business to cruise ship companies and entertained tourists “under stressful conditions.”

Ross is also a member of the Haines Arts Council, and said promoting art and other events is key to a thriving tourism industry. “Such events are important to keep our town vibrant and a place others want to visit. I would like to see more events, outdoor recreation and arts in Haines.”

“I find it easy to market something one cares about and is vested in,” Ross added. “I believe Haines has great potential as a base for adventure tourism in Alaska – combined with art and outrageous scenery, we have a unique and incredible town.”

Sosa said Ross’s marketing and sales experience allow her “to sell people on Haines and explain why Haines has so much to offer.”

“I think she demonstrated a level of background and experience that was well-suited to the position,” Sosa said. “She came across as a person who truly loves Haines and is interested in doing her best to serve the community.”

Ross’s tentative start date is June 2, Sosa said, though she will also continue to work at KHNS for some time.

The borough received seven applications after two months of advertising the position.