Restoring community trust is a priority to fill vacant council positions, Wilmette Park commissioners say
The Wilmette Park board hopes to be full again by September, but the public will have a lot to say about it.
Following Commissioner Todd Shissler’s resignation in July, the board on Monday, August 9, discussed and locked in on the steps it will take to fill the void.
Commissioners hope to be able to name a new colleague by September, but admitted that it all depends on how many candidates apply for the open seat.
âSeptember is the goal for all of us,â said Chairman of the Board Mike Murdock. âIt is possible that this will happen until October and we should not view it as a failure. It all depends on the number of applicants.
To cap off a four-hour meeting, the board dissected the recommendation of Executive Director Steve Wilson’s appointment process, from application questions to judging criteria to selection timeline.
Wilson said he drew on the precedents, reviewing the processes of previous vacancies on the park’s board of directors in 2011 and 2015.
As in previous years, the Park District will post the vacancy and call for applications from residents of Wilmette. Wilson said a press release was going to be issued on Tuesday, August 10, and nominations were due on August 29.
However, breaking with previous years, candidates’ names will be removed from nominations, a strategy led by first-year commissioner Kara Kosloskus and supported by the majority of the board. Vice-President Julia Goebel was against the idea, while Commissioner Cecilia Clarke was absent.
Wilson stressed that the redactions are only for the benefit of the Commissioners during the initial selection and that the names of the candidates will be made public.
The board went further by deciding to cover the names only for the consideration of the application. The commissioners will know the names of the candidates, but not the candidacy each of them submitted.
The purpose of the redactions is to reduce prejudice from the start, Kosloskus said.
âIt’s in the spirit of fairness,â she said. “There are no other intentions.”
The application will have nine questions and each question will be scored on a scale yet to be determined. The scores will be added together for an overall count. Applications will also be ranked with an overall score to give Commissioners two sets of data to help applicants get interviewed.
Finally, the board will review the finalists behind closed doors before a public vote in September or October.
In an effort to allow fairness, Goebel suggested that an objective observer attend the discussions behind closed doors.
Since the arrival of three new members in May, the park’s board of directors has maintained that the commissioners fear they have affected their relations with the community.
âWe are able to restore confidence,â Goebel said. âThis is a place where we can demonstrate it in the affirmative. We are all looking for a more engaged and confident community.
The board has accepted and is considering options for a qualified person.
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