Quintet of finalists for top park post

Bainbridge park commissioners have winnowed to five the finalists for the district’s directorship. The five are:

* Terry Lande, Springfield, Ore. – director of Willamalane Park and Recreation District;

* Ken Heany, University Place, Wash. – 20-plus years experience with the Tacoma Metropolitan Park District, currently serving as manager;

* Thomas Kruse, Vallejo Calif. – administrator for the Greater Vallejo Recreation District;

* William Graeff, Flagstaff, Ariz. – director of the Coconio County Parks and Recreation Department;

* Kevin Beck, Astoria, Ore. – director, Astoria Park and Community Services.

The hopefuls are vying to succeed Dave Lewis, who left the Bainbridge post in March for a park position in California. Aquatic supervisor John DeMeyer has served as interim director since then.

By coincidence, Beck succeeded Lewis in the Astoria directorship five years ago, when Lewis came to Bainbridge Island.

The finalists were announced after a closed-door session on personnel issues at this week’s regular board meeting.

The board also selected two alternate candidates who will be considered if the regular finalists drop out of the running before interviews begin; their names were not disclosed.

The position, which was advertised in national trade journals and the regional media, drew more than 70 applicants.

Those were pared to about two dozen hopefuls, then to 11 semi-finalists by a committee comprised of park commissioners hopefuls, then to 11 semi-finalists by a committee comprised of park commissioners Dave Shorett and Ken DeWitt, and former Bainbridge park director Chuck Field.

All applications were read by the entire park board as a failsafe. To keep costs down, the board eschewed the use of an executive search firm.

“We narrowed it down to about 23 applications, and the people who made into that first cut were all excellent candidates,” said Dane Spencer, park board chair.

Spencer said the board is looking for experience in both spheres of Bainbridge park offerings, including active recreation programs and management of passive, open-space holdings.

Among the selection criteria are how long applicants have been in the recreation field, and whether they bring experience at the director level.

“We certainly want someone who can take our district as it is now and move it forward,” Spencer said.

The finalists will visit Bainbridge Island for interviews June 25-July 2. The sessions will include park commissioners and an eight-member citizen panel.

The board hopes to select the next director soon thereafter.

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