North Whidbey Parks and Recreation District director search hits a wall

Due to some errors in the search process, the North Whidbey Park and Recreation District is back to considering approximately 20 candidates for the vacant executive director position.

Scott Vogt, vice-chairman for the parks and recreation district, said  several “procedural errors” took place throughout the process to find a replacement.

Most notably, the board didn’t follow the procedures it set in forming a search committee. Vogt said that the committee was supposed to be composed of two board members, an employee and a member of the public; however, an employee was never selected to serve on the committee.

Vogt said the committee talked to and surveyed employees about the executive director. They had a chance to provide input about the candidates, but there was never an employee that was part of the committee.

The North Whidbey Parks and Recreation District operates the John Vanderzicht Memorial Pool in Oak Harbor. It has been without a director since Craig Carlson resigned in December.

Approximately 20 people applied for the job and the elected board of commissioners in April interviewed six people via Skype. Rather than offering a job to one of the candidates, the commissioners decided to halt the process because the public notification didn’t implicitly state a decision to hire would be made following the interviews.

The commissioners eventually decided it would be best to meet with a lawyer to review the process they actually used.

Park commissioners will discuss in a meeting next week the executive director position, the salary and benefits it will offer, review the work done so far and how best to move the hiring process forward. That meeting takes place at 7 p.m., Thursday, May 17, at the John Vanderzicht Memorial Pool, 85 SE Jerome St., in Oak Harbor.

The first thing the park board will do is swear in its newest member. Lisa Clark was appointed to the board last month to finish the term of Ron Rhinehart, who resigned his seat because he took a new job on the East Coast. Rhinehart was also chairman of the park board of commissioners.

Park officials had hoped a new director would have been hired last month.  Vogt now says he doesn’t know when a replacement will be found.


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