Six candidates considered for North Whidbey Parks and Recreation District director

Months after its director retired, the North Whidbey Parks and Recreation District leaders have winnowed the pool of candidates being considered for a replacement.

The five-member elected board will hold two executive sessions in mid-April to interview six candidates for the position previously held by Craig Carlson, who resigned his position Dec. 31.

Ron Rhinehart, president of the North Whidbey Park and Recreation District board of commissioners, said approximately 20 people applied for the job  and he was pleased with the strength of the pool of candidates who submitted applications.

The elected board met in executive session in mid-March to reduce the number of candidates who will be interviewed next month. Rhinehart declined to name the candidates, but said they all have experience leading parks districts as well as possessing skills in financing and grant writing. The search drew candidates from Whidbey Island along with candidates from across the country.

Carlson, who had planned to retire in the spring, pushed the date up to the end of December citing personal and medical reasons. He had been director of the North Whidbey Parks and Recreation District for more than eight years.

The taxpayer-supported district primarily supports the John Vanderzicht Memorial Pool, which has enjoyed success during Carlson’s tenure with leaders seeing the number of swimmers using the pool more than double.

The elected board can meet in executive session to interview and discuss the qualifications of candidates for appointed positions. The elected officials are required to open the meeting to the public when they vote on who to hire. If the position had been an elected seat, then the commissioners would have to conduct interviews and make a decision in a public forum, according to the Washington State Attorney General’s website.

Rhinehart said that, should the two days of interviews go well, the commissioners will go into open session and vote on who to hire for the job.

He said that the past several months have been bumpy for the North Whidbey Parks and Recreation District as they continue to operate without a permanent executive director. He complimented the efforts of Neil Romney, who is the coach of the Aquajets swim team, for his work as interim director.

The executive sessions will take place April 11 and 12 at the pool. The earliest a decision could be made would be the evening of April 12.


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