Walker approved as new North Whidbey park director
By NATHAN WHALEN
Whidbey News Times Staff reporter
May 29, 2012 · Updated 2:29 PM
After nearly six months of searching, the North Whidbey Park and Recreation District has found a new director.
The commissioners approved hiring Bill Walker as the new director. He will start work for the entity that operates the John Vanderzicht Memorial Pool on June 11.
“It’s an honor and I appreciate the confidence you’ve placed in me,” Walker told the commissioners during a special meeting Thursday night.
Walker, who lives in Oak Harbor, was most recently the owner of Ruby Creek Boathouse in Anacortes. He also organizes the Deception Pass Dash, which is a kayak race that takes place in December.
He replaces Craig Carlson, who resigned in December. The search for a replacement took longer than anticipated because of several hiccups. At one point, the commissioners halted the selection after a round of interviews took place when they realized they hadn’t followed their established process.
During the interim, Neil Romney, coach of the North Whidbey Aquatic Club Aquajets, served as director. Park Commissioner Sean Merrill thanked Romney Thursday night for his efforts filling the temporary position.
In hiring Walker, the commissioners offered him a salary of $57,000 plus benefits. For 2012, the North Whidbey Park and Recreation District budgeted $56,000 for the executive director salary.
Walker said he will be spending his first days on the job getting a better understanding of the position, the financials of the district, the history of the pool and meeting the people involved with district programs.
He also wants to reach out into the community and start off on the right foot with local leaders.
The majority of the North Whidbey Park and Recreation District resources goes toward operation of the pool.
Walker said he understands the value swimming has to families and the community. When they were younger his three children participated in swimming programs when he lived in Kirkland.
Contact Whidbey News Times Staff reporter Nathan Whalen at firstname.lastname@example.org or 360-675-6611 ext. 5058.