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Cincinnati Parks looks to broaden its search to fill director position

Bill Rinehart
Smale Park.

The Board of Cincinnati Parks Commissioners are discussing plans to fill the vacant Cincinnati Parks director position.

Applications will be accepted until May 15. On May 19, the board will meet at 9 a.m. to review candidates and determine who should be interviewed.

Board member Molly North made the recommendation during a Friday meeting, saying she would like to choose from a larger candidate pool before starting interviews.

"I just don't think that the two or three candidates that I think have, in my opinion ... sufficiently represent a broad scope of candidates that I would like to see," North said.

President Jim Goetz says the board will determine who shall be interviewed in the next two weeks.

"We are encouraging the (Cincinnati Parks) Foundation to begin, and they've already done that, but that we do a parallel path where the Foundation is assisting the city of Cincinnati, so to speak, in identifying candidates to apply to the Park Board for this position," Goetz said.

The position has been vacant since Dec. 2021 when Kara Kish resigned after two years in the role. The board accepted Kish's resignation during a special board meeting. Prior to assuming her role, Kish served as interim and deputy director in 2019. She previously served as superintendent of the Vigo County Parks and Recreation Department in Indiana.

John Neyer is the interim director and is expected to serve while the national search is conducted for the permanent replacement. He is the CEO of Neyer Management and spent 12 years with the Cincinnati Parks Foundation where he served a term as its board president.

A group commissioned a study last year diving deep into the history of the city's park board, looking at how other cities administer their parks, and making recommendations about how to reform the board.

Cory Sharber attended Murray State University majoring in journalism and political science and comes to Cincinnati Public Radio from NPR Member station WKMS.