County set to pick Parks and Rec chief

The Kitsap County commissioners are negotiating with a preferred candidate for the directorship of the Parks and Recreation Department and hope to announce a decision by Monday, according to County Administrator Cris Gears.

“I think the process went very well,” he said. “We had four extremely well- qualified candidates.”

Gears said if the county was unable to reach an agreement with the preferred candidate, he expected it would select from the remaining finalists rather than re-advertise for the position.

The four candidates spent Monday in a protracted interview process. It amounted to four interview panels — the commissioners, department heads, parks and recreation staff and citizens’ groups.

The candidates then rotated in front of the panels.

Monday evening the candidates met the public, with approximately 40 people participating. Gears said about 100 comment forms were submitted and they were used to make the final decision.

The four finalists are: Mark Mauren, assistant director for the Washington Department of Natural Resources in Gig Harbor; Gary Major, director of Recreation and Parks for Orland Park, Ill.; W. Todd Graeff, director of Coconino County Parks and Recreation in Flagstaff, Ariz.; and Gerald Pagac, director of Indiana State Parks and Reservoirs, Indianapolis, Ind.

The director, with an $80,000 to $95,000 salary range, will be responsible for the operation of more than 100 county buildings totaling more than 600,000 square feet, as well as more than 5,600 acres of county-owned park facilities. The department has a staff of 60 and a $10.9 million annual budget.

While it manages facilities year-round, its greatest public visibility comes from August’s Kitsap County Fair.

The search was managed by the Brimeyer Group, an executive search firm in Hopkins, Minn. More than 45 people applied for the position with a list of six finalists. Two declined to continue.

Kitsap Economic Development Council Executive Director David Porter said he was pleased with the format, and that it allowed him to rate the candidates in order of preference.

But Kitsap Alliance of Property Owners Executive Director Vivian Henderson said she did not like the format of the public meeting, where the candidates focused on a single past accomplishment, was confusing.

“If they had provided us with their resumes and work history we would have ben able to better judge their qualifications,” she said.

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