Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Decision near on Director for Parks Field of Candidates Is Narrowed to Three

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Decision near on Director for Parks Field of Candidates Is Narrowed to Three

Article excerpt

A director for St. Charles County's fledgling parks and recreation system may soon be announced.

County Executive Joe Ortwerth said Monday that six semifinalists were interviewed last week by his recruitment and selection committee, which then narrowed the field to three finalists. Depending on the schedules of the finalists, Ortwerth said, he expects to interview them sometime this month and have someone hired by the second week in September.

Ortwerth would not identify the finalists, but two of them are from out of state, he said.

The director will oversee the acquisition, development and operation of a park system to be financed by a 1.5 percent use tax approved by the voters in April. Ortwerth said he expected the tax to generate about $1.2 m illion a year.

Office space for the new parks department is being prepared on the fourth floor of the county Administration Building, 201 North Second Street, St. Charles. The director, whose salary could be up to $57,000 a year, will hire a deputy director for planning and an administrative assistant.

Spending by the department will begin slowly, Ortwerth said. "We don't intend to spend just because the money is there," he said. "We'll staff the department only to the degree that we have programs in place. Most of the initial activity will be of a planning nature."

He said the parks staff will be "seeking to identify appropriate sites for acquisition and development and looking at how those various parcels fit into a parks system that would be accessible to citizens countywide."

The County Council passed a bill last week establishing a Parks and Recreation Advisory Board.

The board will consist of one member from each of the seven County Council districts and two members at large. Two of the members must be directors or employees of municipal parks in the county.

The county executive will appoint the members subject to approval by the council. …

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