Parks and rec district searching for interim director

The South Whidbey Parks and Recreation District has decided to halt its executive director search for the summer, and instead focus its efforts on choosing an interim executive director.

The district’s board of commissioners arrived at this decision during a special meeting last week, which was held to address the district’s current staffing challenges.

The district has been searching for a new executive director since February, when Doug Coutts vacated the position. The search, however, has become protracted, and help is needed in the interim – especially as the district continues planning for a number of projects, from pickleball courts to a campground to a recreational aquatic facility.

Business Manager Carrie Monforte told the board that she spends about two to three hours every day focusing on executive director duties. Rather than becoming the interim executive director herself, she suggested that the board choose someone from the community to fill that role on a temporary basis so she can catch up on her own duties as business manager.

The majority of the board was in favor of this option. Commissioner Matt Simms, however, said he thought there would be greater continuity within the district if Monforte stepped in as the interim executive director and an interim business manager, who has already expressed interest, took her place in the meantime. The rest of the board agreed this could be “Plan B” if an interim executive director is not found.

The interim executive director would likely serve for a period of six months. The board agreed to resume the hiring process for the permanent role around the end of August. Simms, however, questioned why the district would spend the time vetting candidates for the interim role when it could be focusing that time on continuing the executive director search.

The board agreed, in a 4-1 vote, to reach out to the community within the next two weeks to find someone to fill the interim role. Simms voted in opposition.