Do-over: Park Board sets superintendent search process

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March 15, 2004 // UPDATED 9:50 am - April 25, 2007
By: Scott Russell
Scott Russell

The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board is crafting a new superintendent search process after its earlier process imploded and left the Board bitterly divided.

Commissioner John Erwin chairs the new Search Committee and has outlined a tentative timeline to hire a superintendent by November, said Ginger Sisco, a Park Board spokesperson.

The Superintendent Search Committee is scheduled to vote on the timeline Wednesday March 17. The full Board will vote on it April 7. As initially laid out, the Board would:

  • Request search firm proposals the third week in April, interview firms the first week of June and select one the third week of June.

  • Approve the superintendent selection criteria the first week of July, begin taking applications the third week of July and close applications the third week of September.

  • Receive the search firm's finalist list the first week of October, interview finalists the third week of October and choose the new superintendent in early November.

    Last December, the Park Board narrowed a list of seven finalists to two -- and they both withdrew. The Park Board hired Jon Gurban to a one-year contract on a slim 5-4 vote, with no public notice that he was a candidate; Gurban had not applied for the job.

    In other park news, Norman Merrifield, assistant superintendent for recreation, is leaving March 26 to become El Paso, Texas' director of parks and recreation, Gurban said.

    Merrifield was one of the seven finalists in the Park Board's first superintendent search process. He was not among the top two finalists for the job.

    Merrifield is black and the only minority member at the superintendent or assistant superintendent level. He started with the Park Board in 1999 as the assistant superintendent of administration and finance. He moved to recreation in early 2003, replacing Maureen Durand, who retired.

    Gurban said he has not decided how he will fill the vacancy.