Changes coming at the St. James

Published 12:09 am Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Employees of the St. James are undergoing re-training in matters of serving in a fine dining facility while management searches for a new general manager of the hotel.

The previous general manager, Bill Ezell, was terminated from the position on Dec. 16 for undisclosed reasons.

“There was a lack of training,” said Kristen Hoffman, director of marketing and sales for Gourmet Services, an Atlanta-based operation that manages the hotel. “They are learning the proper things to speak and how to serve.”

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Charles Jones is head of the training sessions for the employees.

Michelle Pullom, previous assistant general manager, now serves as interim general manager.

“We are very confident in her abilities,” Hoffman said.

In the months leading up to Ezell’s termination, Pullom had taken over many of the general manager responsibilities, so Hoffman believes she possesses the needed skills to manage the hotel during this transition period.

Gourmet Services is in the process of creating advertisements to publicize the open position and will start actively seeking a new general manager at the beginning of the coming year. Filling the position might take a few weeks or a few months, Hoffman said.

“It’s important to find an exact fit, not just throw someone into the job,” she said.

Hoffman wants the hotel to have a new presence in the community, possibly becoming the hub for events during special times of the year.

“Our desire is to have a first-class hotel for the community and visitors,” Hoffman said. “We hope to be able to secure a number of those tourists to stay at the St. James.”

Gourmet Services was contracted to run the hotel in 2007.