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posted: 9/30/2013 5:30 AM

DuPage forest commission zeroing in on new director

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DuPage County Forest Preserve officials could be closer to naming their new executive director than they expected when they set Nov. 1 as their deadline.

Commissioners will interview the three finalists during a marathon closed-door meeting from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday. More than 100 people applied for the job and the Alford Group Executive Search firm narrowed the field to the three finalists.

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Commission President D. "Dewey" Pierotti Jr. called for Monday's special meeting on Friday.

Several commissioners and Pierotti declined to identify the finalists, while others said they did not yet know the identities of the top candidates.

"They're giving us a packet with info on each of the candidates that will be delivered to our homes this weekend," Pierotti said Friday. "Monday, prior to the interview, the Alford folks will give us a brief overview of each of the three candidates, and we'll jump right into the interviews."

Pierotti and Commissioner Shannon Burns both said they think a second round of interviews will be necessary following Monday's meeting.

"The possibility exists that someone could blow us away, but I don't think we'll be looking to make a rush decision on Monday," Burns said. "I'm usually the last one to make a quick a decision like that so I think there will be at least another round."

Pierotti said he would not want to make a quick decision unless he is sure of a unanimous vote.

"It should not be a 4-3 vote because it's not fair to the individual to get hired with a simple majority," he said. "And I will not vote to break a tie. It's got to be 6-0 or 5-1, or else it won't be the right decision."

Pierotti has been filling in as executive director on an interim basis for more than a year since Brent Manning stepped down from the 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.

The new director specifically 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.

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. The job will pay between about $99,000 and $220,000 a year based on experience.

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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