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Duluth Entertainment Convention Center contemplates change in leadership

Board to discuss replacing Chelly Townsend as executive director.

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The Duluth Entertainment Convention Center and downtown Duluth. (2016 file / News Tribune)
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The Duluth Entertainment Convention Center soon could be under new leadership.

The Minneapolis Star Tribune reported that DECC Executive Director Chelly Townsend confirmed her contract had not been renewed.

The News Tribune's efforts to contact Townsend on Tuesday were unsuccessful. Townsend has been an employee of the DECC for more than 30 years and succeeded Dan Russell as its director upon his retirement in 2017.

Regarding Townsend's status, DECC Board President Karen Pionk said Tuesday: "The board is working through a transition in leadership.

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Chelly Townsend

"We aren't through with conversations to formalize everything at this point. So, it puts me in a hard spot to discuss it," she said. "The board feels there's a lot to celebrated, and when the conversations have been finalized, we certainly hope we have that opportunity to celebrate the many years of service and leadership and dedication that Chelly has given to the DECC."

The DECC Board of Directors is scheduled to meet Wednesday morning. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused the DECC to cancel and postpone numerous conferences and events in recent months, prompting it to lay off most of its staff.

As for a succession plan, Pionk said: "Once we have come to a conclusion with that transition conversation, then we would potentially look at a search and going through that process. And we'll be able to use some of our strategic planning to be able to look through our different options."

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