Wayne C. Chappell, the city's first convention director, said yesterday he is resigning after 17 years to take a job in Kansas City, Mo.
Word of his resignation came just days after the Schmoke administration proposed slashing the Baltimore Convention Bureau's budget by nearly $300,000.
Mr. Chappell, who came to Baltimore while the downtown Convention Center was under construction in 1978, said yesterday he was tapped by the Convention and Visitors Bureau of Greater Kansas City a month ago.
"They made me an offer I couldn't refuse," said Mr. Chappell, who declined to give details of the offer. His new job begins June 1.
He said the move to the Midwest will allow him to "return to my roots." He grew up in St. Louis and attended the University of Missouri.
A City Hall proposal to cut $289,000 in the next fiscal year from the $2,429,700 that the city gave the Baltimore Area Convention and Visitors Association this year "did not by itself" prompt him to leave, Mr. Chappell said.
But a bigger budget and a larger convention center in Kansas City were enticements, he said.
He noted that Kansas City's convention business is financed with a $3.8 million budget and that the Kansas City convention center has 400,000 square feet of exhibit space. Even after its current expansion, Baltimore's Convention Center will have only 300,000 square feet.
Christopher C. Hartman, secretary of the board for the convention association, said the board will conduct a national PTC search for a successor. Meanwhile, Dale Garvin, former general manager of the Hyatt Inner Harbor Hotel, will be acting director.