The Indiana County Tourist Bureau and its longest-serving executive director have abruptly parted ways.
In a press release issued Monday, executive director Penny Perman announced that she has resigned to pursue other opportunities. Perman has served as the bureau’s chief administrator since 2005. Her resignation was effective Friday.
“I’ve enjoyed promoting our tourism in Indiana County for the last eight years. I feel that I did so with passion and professionalism,” Perman said in a prepared statement.
“Building tourism relationships among the community, region and state was a unique opportunity that I was fortunate to be a part of. I feel it is now time to resign my position and move on to other endeavors.”
Perman declined to discuss her resignation beyond what was stated in the press release.
Tourist bureau President Gregg VanHorn said the bureau was surprised to learn that Perman had decided to step down. And, he said, they are not entirely sure as to why.
“We just assumed it was private and personal, and we just left it at that,” he said.
He added that it was Perman’s decision to resign.
“We’re supporting her on it. We’re all sad to see her go.”
In the press release, he said that Perman has served the bureau well.
“Penny has done a wonderful job at the tourist bureau, and in her time here has guided the organization to a state-of-the-art tourism promotion agency second to none. All of Indiana County has greatly benefited from her commitment to promoting our area,” VanHorn said.
Joy Fairbanks, a member of the bureau’s executive committee, echoed VanHorn’s comments, saying that Perman advanced the organization. She, too, said Perman’s decision came as a surprise.
With eight years at the helm, Perman was the bureau’s longest-serving executive director and recently helped it celebrate its 50th anniversary.
She succeeded Jon Longwill, who had left to take the top job on state Rep. Dave Reed’s staff. Prior to being named as director, Perman had worked as an independently contracted tour guide. She also is a former tourist bureau board member.
Her responsibilities have been temporarily turned over to a former bureau employee, Denise Liggett.
Liggett worked for the bureau for about two years, managing group tours and assisting in bureau’s day-to-day operations, VanHorn said.
“Denise…brings a wealth of experience to the job and will step in to make sure that promotion of county events and happenings will continue without interruption while we search for a new executive director,” VanHorn said.