Park Board looks for firm to aid superintendent search

The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board is now accepting proposals from executive search firms to assist its search for the next superintendent.

The request for proposals released April 6 is one of the first steps the board will take over the next six months as it prepares to hire a new executive following Jayne Miller’s resignation earlier this year. Interim Superintendent Mary Merrill will lead the board until it finds a permanent replacement, who would take the helm in early October.

Proposals are due by April 19. Commissioners are expected to approve a contract with a recommended firm on May 16.

The selected firm would then work with Merrill and the nine-member board to develop processes for searching and vetting candidates.

The Park Board went through a similar process of using an executive search firm when it hired Miller in 2010. The search will be national, recruiting in candidates from across the country. Miller, now the president and CEO of the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy, previously held several leadership positions with the City of Ann Arbor and the Huron-Clinton Metropolitan Authority.

President Brad Bourn (District 6) said using a search firm is a “very wise investment” that will pull in candidates from the non-profit, parks and recreation and other fields who may not apply until they’re approached.

“We want to make sure we’re getting the best applicant from various fields,” he said. “At the end of the day, this Park Board wants the best applicants to start from.”

Bourn said this superintendent hiring process will be the first to feature a community engagement component with Minneapolis residents and the board’s partners.

The Park Board is also looking for an intergovernmental relations consultant. Bourn said the position is meant to manage the board’s relationships with other government agencies, from the City Council to the Mayor Jacob Frey’s office, and assist with its lobbying efforts. Typically, the superintendent has fostered those local municipal relationships.

The board expects to approve an agreement with a consultant this spring in time for them to start in June.