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updated: 8/27/2013 5:19 PM

DuPage hopes to have new forest preserve director by November

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More than 100 applicants from across the globe have applied to be the next executive director of the DuPage County Forest Preserve District, officials say.

By Nov. 1, one of them is expected to be decorating his or her new office.

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Representatives from Alford Group Executive Search updated the forest preserve commission Tuesday on the their national search, saying the group is "in a good place."

"We have approximately 100 applicants and, from our perspective, that's on the high side," Alford Senior Vice President Heather Eddy said. "We've asked for more information on 38 of the 100 as of last Thursday and will soon be working with a group of six to eight."

Eddy said she hopes the finalists will be presented to the commission and interviewed by early October.

Commission President D. "Dewey" Pierotti Jr. has been filling in on an interim basis for more than a year since Brent Manning stepped down from the director's post. Pierotti has asked the search firm to expedite the process to give the new director a full year with the current commission before the November 2014 election when Pierotti also is expected to step down.

"I told them we need to have this person in place and learning the ropes by Nov. 1, at the latest," Pierotti said. "And whoever comes in here needs to be approved by (at least) a 5 to 2 margin so they know the commission supports them."

The new director will specifically 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.

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,

"There's no sugarcoating how difficult of a transition or learning curve comes with this job. Whoever gets it is in for a challenge," Pierotti said. "It's going to take six months just to get acclimated with the mission statement and people of the forest preserve district. So the sooner we get a highly qualified person in here, the better."

The district is paying the Evanston-based search group $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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