N. Whidbey Park & Rec launches search for new director

As a new year begins, so does the search for a new director by the North Whidbey Park and Recreation Board of Commissioners.

Bill Walker resigned as director at the end of a commissioners’ meeting Nov. 21. Walker’s last day was Thursday, Dec. 19.

The board is working with a human resource specialist to rewrite its job notice, said Sean Merrill, North Whidbey Park and Recreation District commissioner chairman.

Because of the holidays, Merrill said Thursday, the human resource specialist recommended waiting to release the announcement because most prospective employees aren’t looking for jobs at that time of year.

The board does hope to have the position filled by mid February, Merrill said.

“We want to fill the position quickly, effectively and efficiently as possible so that it’s a good fit for the district and the taxpayers,” he said.

The first draft of the timeline, presented during the Dec. 19 meeting, aimed to have five to seven candidates for interviews at the end of January, with two to three finalists scheduled for interviews by the first week of February.

The search committee consists of a two board members, three senior staffers and one person from the public. Noela Graham was recommended to be the public representative for the search committee.

“It’s going to be a long-term, good fit for the community,” Commissioner Kirk Huffer said during the Dec. 19 meeting.

“If we push this, we’ll be selling the director position short.”

Also during the meeting Dec. 19, a transition plan was discussed with the staff.

Because no interim director was named, the board approved temporary pay adjustments for the senior staff members who are taking on more work with added responsibility.

The aquatic director, senior cashier, payroll and team administrator will receive a 20 percent temporary pay increase, and the maintenance supervisor will receive a 10 percent increase.

North Whidbey Aquatic Club head coach Bill Patterson declined a 10 percent increase in pay allocated to him at the meeting. He said he did not want to take away from his other colleagues who would be doing more than him.

The board asked the staff how often they meet and work together.

“I believe all of us realize that we have a strong team,” said Aquatic Director Erika Miller. “And we support each other really well.”

Miller said the staff already meets on a regular basis when it comes to running the pool.

“As a team we are able and regularly do this,” Miller said. “Moving forward, this is how this team will continue to operate.

“If we’re stuck, we go to each other. If we’re all stuck, we go to the advisory committee.”

Walker told the board that the team in place is able to take on the added responsibility while the district works on hiring a new director.

“It’s amazing the level of collaboration and respect they have for each,” Walker said.

Commissioner Steve Hoffmire volunteered to advise the staff, if needed.

Hoffmire said he’s at John Vanderzicht Memorial Pool almost every day and has a good relationship with the staff.

The board held a special meeting Friday, Dec. 27, to review the hiring timeline and announcement, and decided to wait until after the holidays.

An update will be presented during the Jan. 16 board meeting.


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