Instead of hiring someone from outside to be the DeKalb Park District’s interim director, park board members should focus on finding a permanent replacement.
Yes, the park district has not had an executive director since Cindy Capek left in May, but they have two experienced assistant administrators, Lisa Small and Bradley Garrison, who are handling the extra work. Small, the interim executive director, is receiving an extra $1,400 a month, while Garrison is receiving an extra $700 a month.
So why bother finding someone from outside the organization now, after more than six months have passed?
“We don’t want to put additional stress on the district staff,” park board President Phil Young told reporter Katie Dahlstrom this week.
Park board members will considering appointing a part-time interim executive director at a meeting at 6 p.m. today. It would be better at this point to stick with the status quo.
Not wanting to put extra stress on staff is a fine sentiment, but additional stress is sometimes part of the deal in the workplace. Many public- and private-sector workers have been asked to absorb additional duties at work as companies have sought to become more efficient. Many workers have been asked to do so without the extra pay that the district’s two administrators are receiving for their trouble.
The park board has been deliberate in the hiring process. No doubt they did not want to rush to hire another executive director after agreeing to pay Capek 6 months’ salary as a severance. But those 6 months have now passed, and park board members were still considering what characteristics they want in a new director and what the person should be paid at a meeting last week.
Hiring someone permanently for the position could take another four months.
If it’s a critical situation, perhaps the timetable can be expedited – although this situation was one that board members could have anticipated and prevented by working on this issue sooner.
At this point, if the park board is going to make a hire for an executive director, they might as well wait until they find the permanent replacement.
Having been without someone in the position should give them a good idea of what they need a leader to do as the district moves forward.