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posted: 7/12/2013 4:33 PM

DuPage forest preserve launches director search

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The search for a new executive director to lead the DuPage County Forest Preserve District has begun in earnest, officials said Friday, more than a year after Brent Manning stepped down from the post.

The district announced it is working with Alford Group Executive Search, to launch what's expected to be a nationwide hunt for a candidate who will be responsible for developing and implementing long-term plans for the district that will include work at new and existing preserves, natural areas and educational centers.

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District spokeswoman Susan Olafson said officials expect it to take roughly 90 days to find the right person. Olafson and Commissioner Mary Lou Wehrli said the position is being advertised in professional publications and through social media.

The district is looking for someone with 10 or more years of leadership experience for a public or nonprofit agency with a strong background in financial management and interpersonal skills, according to a news release. The job will pay between about $99,000 and $220,000 a year based on experience, Olafson said.

"We're looking for a dynamic, top-drawer director," Wehrli said.

Manning, the district's last executive director, was 59 when he stepped down in June 2012 citing health and family concerns. He had served 8 years in the director's post.

Forest preserve commission President D. "Dewey" Pierotti Jr. has acknowledged it's taken longer than expected to begin the search for Manning's replacement. Part of that, he said, was because officials wanted to wait until after last November's election, in which half the district's six-member board turned over.

Pierotti has been serving as interim director since Manning's departure, but isn't receiving extra pay. He receives an annual salary of $112,258 for being district president.

The district is paying the Evanston-based Alford Group Executive Search $27,000.

The new executive director will help oversee 60 preserves covering roughly 25,000 acres with 145 miles of trails and five education centers.

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