The Batavia Park District Board of Commissioners appointed Allison Niemela as its Interim Director at the January 17 public park board meeting.
The appointment comes after the District's current Executive Director, Mike Clark, resigned after accepting a similar position with the Palatine Park District. Clark's last day is January 31.
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Niemela currently serves as the Director of Marketing and Public Relations for the District, where she has held the department head position for the last 12 years. Prior to joining the Batavia Park District, she served as the Marketing and Communications Supervisor for the Addison Park District. She has 14 years of public administration experience.
"The Board knows Allison's skill sets and dedication to the Batavia Park District and believe she is the right choice to help manage this transition," said Park Board President Pat Callahan.
During the interim, Niemela will focus on several projects already in the works which include a strategic master plan, community needs assessment, intergovernmental agreements and revamping of the District's web site, just to name a few. She will also work on creating a culture that promotes transparency and encourages personal and professional growth for staff. All the while Niemela will continue to serve as the Director of Marketing and Public Relations while filling the Interim Director role.
"I am honored and delighted to have the opportunity to take on this leadership role," said Niemela. "One of my top priorities will be to create open and effective communication among all stakeholders, continuing the District on its path to being an efficient, effective and responsive governmental entity for our constituents."
Niemela holds two Bachelor's degrees from Concordia University in communications and sociology. She has consistently been a leader in the field of parks and recreation and has recently been elected to serve as the Chairman Elect for the Illinois Park and Recreation Association.
Callahan said the Board doesn't plan on conducting a search for a new Executive Director right away. He said the Board plans to evaluate District operations and community needs, which may take four to six months. When complete, the Board will set the future direction of the District then seek out an Executive Director to execute plan. Currently, the Board intends to conduct the search for a new Director internally. Callahan added, "We want an unbiased opinion to provide us with the information we need to make the best possible choice for selecting our next Executive Director."