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Offer made for new pool director

After going into a closed executive session for a half hour Tuesday night the North Whidbey Park and Recreation District commissioners came out and made a motion to award Robert “Bob” Pocklington the opportunity to become the new director of the John Vanderzicht Memorial Pool.

As of Friday, Pocklington, a 39-year-old former YMCA director from Hoquiam, had yet to finalize a deal with the parks board.

Although he’s yet to sign, the commissioners remain optimistic that he will and that he is the right man for the job.

“I think Robert Pocklington has the qualities that we are looking for,” said Harry Prosser, chairman of the park board.

Pocklington was selected by a committee which interviewed 19 candidates for the position.

“We did about 20 some odd hours of interviewing and discussion with the committee,” Prosser said.

Pocklington’s contract would be for two years with six months probation. His salary would not exceed $42,000 in the first year and he would be guaranteed a raise in the second year not to exceed $45,000.

The district also has its eye on a new swim coach. The hiring committee tendered a deal to a candidate in Wyoming, which would be identical to that of the departing Sally McLaren-Meuer. The open-ended contract would fall somewhere in the range of $26,000 to $35,000 a year.

As of Friday no one was available to comment on whether or not the candidate accepted the job, but those involved in the committee are excited about what the new candidate could bring.

McLaren-Meuer had her last day as swim coach and interim director on Thursday afternoon. After serving 11 years at Vanderzicht Memorial Pool she is returning to her hometown of Stoughton, Wisconsin, where she will continue to work in aquatics.

Although she is leaving on a not-so-happy note, McLaren-Meuer does not regret the time she spent here in Oak Harbor.

“I really to be totally honest loved my job, I’ve had very few people I didn’t get along with,” she said. “This last couple of months has been a struggle. I honestly hope this struggle can change to make a better environment for the employees remaining here.” She took the interim director position after the controversial dismissal of Jim Shulock, whom she supported.

Tuesday’s Park District board meeting was the first in quite a while where there were no heavy emotions. The high level of tension, which has involved the removal of former pool director Shulock, the departure of swim coach and interim director McLaren-Meuer. and most recently a public display of anger from commissioner Brien Lilliquist, was virtually non-existent.

The ability to keep things under control was obviously something the commissioners were working toward accomplishing from the get go.

“I would like to see our meeting tonight go in a neat, organized manner,” Commissioner Prosser said as he opened the meeting. “I got the impression from the board last time that anything goes.”

For the most part things did go in an organized manner. With the majority of the conversation focusing on the hiring of a new pool director and swim coach, the five commissioners were able to come to a consensus.

The next NWPRD meeting is scheduled at 7 p.m., Aug. 9 at the pool, where they hope to have a new director and new swim coach.

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