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Steve Pacella appointed interim director of Cincinnati Parks

Steve Pacella.jpg
Cory Sharber
/
WVXU
Cincinnati Recreation Commission (CRC) Deputy Director Steve Pacella will become the interim director of Cincinnati Parks starting Jun. 1.

Cincinnati Recreation Commission (CRC) Deputy Director Steve Pacella will become the interim director of Cincinnati Parks starting June 1 while the board continues to recruit a permanent replacement.

The Board of Park Commissioners made the decision Thursday and will be paying the interim director a $168,000 yearly salary. Pacella is expected to serve until the end of the year, when he plans to retire, or until a permanent replacement is selected.

Pacella has 30 years of recreation leadership experience and has spent the past 14 years with the CRC. During the May 19 meeting, Pacella said he's appreciative of the opportunity and is excited to get started.

Pacella is replacing John Neyer, CEO of Neyer Management, who in Dec. 2021 agreed to serve as interim for six months after then-director Kara Kish resigned. Neyer had spent 12 years with the Cincinnati Parks Foundation where he served a term as its board president. Current Board President Jim Goetz thanked Neyer for serving in his role during the search process.

"We appreciate all of the time that you've given to us and appreciate that you will continue with us as a member of our search committee for the next director," Goetz said.

When discussing the candidate review last month, board member Molly North said there's a "good list" of candidates that have been identified from other markets, as well as people with government, nonprofit, and parks experience. However, there's one thing she identifies as a shortcoming in the search process.

"We have missed an opportunity to attract racial diversity to this role, and that's a great disappointment," North said.

The position has been vacant since Dec. 2021 when Kish resigned after two years in the role. 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.