The Civic Auditorium and Complex Commission has identified two candidates as finalists in the running to be the next executive director of the Pine Bluff Convention Center. Twenty-six people applied for the position, which became vacant in March when then-director Bob Purvis retired. As a result of Purvis’ departure, Pine Bluff Convention Center director of marketing and events Sheri Storie became the Convention Center interim executive director. Storie is not taking part in the search for a permanent director.

Commission chairman La’Tasha Woods said the two remaining candidates are Michael Gilliard of Pine Bluff and Joseph McCorvey of Akron, Ohio. Gilliard is currently the Pine Bluff Convention Center sales and event manager, according to applications that this newspaper obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request. McCorvey is currently the Summit County, Ohio, Office of Consumer Affairs outreach specialist, according to those applications.

Commissioners Gary Wilson, Lisa Kosmitis, Monique Benford, Tyra Johnson, Wil Jenkins and Woods met in executive session Wednesday afternoon. After the meeting, Woods said the commissioners did not discuss either candidate during the meeting.

Woods said she expects to offer the job to their candidate of choice “no later than Tuesday, November 21.”

The commissioners discussed the compensation package including benefits and a review every six months for the first year to determine if additional compensation is appropriate, Woods said. The determination of raises for Convention Center employees will be left to the new executive director, she said.

McCorvey will travel to Pine Bluff to tour the facility Monday, Nov. 20, and ask any additional questions about the position, Woods said. He and Gilliard will have an equal opportunity to vie for the position, Woods said.

The Civic Auditorium and Complex Commissioners oversee the operations of the Pine Bluff Convention Center. Commissioners are appointed by the mayor and approved by the city council. Commissioners are not paid for their service.

Commissioner Ethel Cogshell was absent.