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Safe Passage rebuilding stock of leaders

DeKALB – The search for a new executive director at the domestic violence and sexual assault prevention agency Safe Passage could begin as early as December.

Safe Passage has been without a permanent executive director since March, when the previous director, Linda Moser, resigned because of health problems. The agency is focused on filling out its board of directors before searching for her replacement. 

Deanna Hacker was named the interim executive director when Moser left. She said because there were only six board members with the agency in May, the search process was intentionally delayed. 

Since then, two more people have joined the agency’s board.

The board is responsible for overseeing the finances of the agency, hiring and supervising the executive director and managing and growing resources for Safe Passage. 

Safe Passage has been carrying out its strategic plan to improve its services and facilities since January. Hacker said the plan’s goals include improving communication among staff, building and strengthening the board and expanding the agency’s outreach to overlooked areas of the county. 

“I think as long as the person we hire as the permanent director follows the strategic planning, that should be sufficient to do what we need,” she said. 

Safe Passage was incorporated in 1981 and provides services for victims of domestic violence, including temporary and transitional shelter, counseling and legal advocacy.

The group operates a 24-hour hotline at 815-756-5228, or 815-786-6333 in Sandwich, according to its website, The agency receives funding from charities, city governments and state agencies.

Joe Gastiger, vice president of the board, said one of the goals of the strategic planning was to enlarge the scope of the board.  

“We’ve wanted to expand the board in a number of ways to diversify the membership of the board [and] to expand the skill set,” he said. 

For fiscal 2012, which began July 1, 2011, and ended June 30, 2012, the agency served about 800 clients through its service programs. 

Gastiger said the agency does invaluable work for the community. 

“They’ve helped hundreds and hundreds of people to have better lives,” he said. 

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