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Article updated: 3/21/2013 11:18 PM

Pierotti doesn't want to be forest preserve chief

By Robert Sanchez

After spending months juggling dual roles as president of the DuPage County Forest Preserve Commission and interim executive director of the district, Dewey Pierotti is looking ahead to retirement.

Pierotti, who plans to step down from the commission in November 2014, says he has no interest in becoming the district's top administrator, despite doing the job on an interim basis since the former director, Brent Manning, stepped down in mid-June.

In fact, Pierotti said he won't involve himself in the commission's process to find Manning's replacement.

"I'm not going to recommend anyone," said Pierotti, 78, of Addison. "I'm not going to endorse anyone. And I won't even vote on it."

Because he's going to retire, Pierotti said, the forest preserve's six commissioners should pick who they want at the helm of the district.

"I'm not going to be working with this individual," Pierotti said. "This board should set the criteria they want."

Commissioners this week created a list of desired traits to guide the consultants who eventually will be hired to conduct a national search.

Executive director candidates, for example, should be highly educated, personable and have experience running a public agency that's similar in size to the forest preserve district.

While the next director should have a strong connection to the conservation community, Commissioner Marsha Murphy said the individual also should have a background in business.

"We have a staff that has full knowledge of environmental issues," Murphy said. "We need to take advantage of that and let (the director) run this more like a business."

Commissioner Joseph Cantore said he doesn't want the district's next leader to be a bureaucrat.

"I want somebody who is the exact opposite of a bureaucrat," said Cantore, adding whoever gets the job must be able to embrace change.

Despite going roughly nine months without a full-time executive director, there's no deadline for when someone will be hired.

In the meantime, Pierotti he isn't getting extra pay for serving as interim director. He is paid an annual salary of $112,258 for being president of the commission.

Pierotti this week advised commissioners to find someone they trust to implement the board's policies. He told them not to micromanage the district.

"If you don't have enough confidence in the person you hire as executive director to carry out your mandates," he said, "you made a mistake in hiring that individual."

Pierotti said his desire to avoid voting on the executive director shouldn't be an issue because he only votes to break a tie.

"When someone gets hired with a 4 to 3 vote, it doesn't give them a feeling of (job) security," he said. "It almost has to be a unanimous decision."

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