Public Invited To Meet Parks And Recreation Director Candidates

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The Town of Payson human resources department, after a nationwide search, has narrowed the choices for parks and recreation director to seven finalists out of a pool of more than 50 applicants.

Community members are invited to hear these contenders during a public presentation Thursday, Oct. 26 in the Payson Town Council chambers.

"The public has a certain level of trust, and it's important they know the people we're hiring," said Human Resources Director Bob Smith.

The meet and greet is part of a two-day, town-hosted schedule, ending Friday with formal interviews.

"It's a tight process," Smith said. "It's done on purpose. It creates stress to see how they handle it because this is the stuff they deal with all the time."

On Thursday, the finalists will spend the day touring the town's facilities, meeting the public, and dining out with council and staff members.

From 1 to 4:20 p.m., each candidate will present a 20-minute delivery on changes they would make to the Payson Parks and Recreation master plan.

Smith said the exercise is designed to challenge the candidates and provide an opportunity for town staff and the public to evaluate their oral communication, planning, organizational and decision-making skills.

"These are skills that anyone at this level should have," Smith said.

The evaluation continues through dinner at Main Street Grille.

Gauging the social dexterity of the finalists is key, Smith added. After all, serving as a department head entails considerable public interaction.

The recruitment process began in mid-September after former parks director Bill Schwind left the position -- which he had held for 12 years -- to head up Glendale's parks department.

To find a replacement, Smith implemented a comprehensive screening process and assembled a six-member committee, comprised of department heads and elected officials.

Requirements for the position -- with a salary range of $68,259 to $102,389 per year -- include a college degree, preferably a master's, three years of supervisory experience and five years of related work history.

Smith said the town received a good mix of resumes for the position.

"Once you get to that level, you've already established operation skills," he said.

The parks and recreation director, according to the job description, supervises, develops and manages the town park system and recreational program. They have the ability to hire, fire and create budgets. They also receive a town credit card, drive a town car and handle taxpayer money. And for that reason, Smith said a person's integrity and character are paramount. That's why the human resources department conducts background checks on each finalist.

The town released the identities of five of the seven candidates. The two others -- one from Wisconsin and the other from Utah -- remained unnamed to preserve current employment in case they are not hired.

Director finalists

Nelson Beck: Internal candidate, parks supervisor.

Creighton Wright: Town of Queen Creek, assistant parks and recreation director for seven years. Education: Bachelor's of science in recreation management from Arizona State University; working toward a master's in public administration from ASU. Previous employment includes recreation leader, Town of Gilbert (one year); security coordinator, ASU intercollegiate athletics (seven years); geography coach/assistant supervisor, Cendant Corporation (three years).

Scott Brodhun: Port Angeles, Wash., district director of athletic activities and facilities (six years). Bachelor's in education, Western Washington University. Previous employment includes parks and recreation director, City of Port Angeles (16 years).

Cheryl Thompson: City of University City, Mo., superintendent of facilities (20 years). Education: Bachelor's degree in parks and recreation, Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville, Ill.; master's in management administration.

Dan Mobley: City of Sugar Land, Texas, recreation manager (six years). Education: Bachelor's of science in physical education/recreation, North Texas State University (now University of North Texas). Previous employment includes recreation manager, City of Winslow (three years); recreation center specialist, City of Irving, Texas (14 years).

For more information, call (928) 474-5242.

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