12/08/08 — Mount Olive interviews candidates for new recreation director position

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Mount Olive interviews candidates for new recreation director position

By Steve Herring
Published in News on December 8, 2008 1:46 PM

MOUNT OLIVE -- Interviews were held last Tuesday and Thursday nights as the town continued its search for a new recreation director.

The list of applicants has been narrowed to four people including ones from Mount Olive, Goldsboro, Warsaw and Florida.

They all are men. No women applied for the job, Town Manager Charles Brown said.

He declined to identify the applicants.

"Basically what we did was to have our commissioners assess their choices," Brown said. "Our goal is to have someone in place by Jan. 1 and ready to start when we come back from the holidays. We have some very good applicants and we are pleased with their qualifications. They all have good background experiences."

Brown said the town had written a "very good job description" describing the education and work experience required.

The job description requires the applicant to have a bachelor's degree in parks and recreation, business administration, finance or other related course of study or equivalent work experience.

It also requires "proven" administrative skills and prior experience as a director with park development and comprehensive planning preferred.

"The reason we did the job description was because of a misconception, I think, that when we started on the process that all we needed to do is find somebody who was a good baseball player in high school, or a good athlete," Brown said. "What we were really looking for was an administrator, somebody who can administrate, handle the funds, do grant writing and set up and manage the programs."

Brown said the director also will be charged with encouraging volunteer help.

The town budgeted slightly more than $30,000 for the entire salary package including retirement, 401(k) and health care.

"I think we have some flexibility," Brown said. "We would rather find the right person for the program even if we have to adapt that (package). Plus we budgeted for the entire year and half of that will be gone when we bring this person on. I think it more important for Mount Olive to have the right person in that position than quibble over a few dollars."

Brown said there is a lot of interest in the recreation program. In a survey several years ago of town residents, people indicated a "passion" for more programs for children, youths, young adults and for senior citizens as well.

"That is what we hope this position will do for us," Brown said.

Part-time recreation department employees Jimmy Adams and Tom Swinson will continue to work for the town and help the new person become acclimated.

Brown said the town has established a "very good" working relationship with Mount Olive College.

"We sort of helped them out with their soccer field and in return we have access to their soccer facilities and coaching staff," he said. "That has been a tremendous asset and it is also a good relationship builder between the town and the college. We hope to continue that relation."

One of the "big things" the new director will tackle will be to implement a soccer program, Brown said.

"I think is important for people to understand that when we talk parks and recreation we are not just talking about baseball, soccer and basketball," he said. "We are talking about programs for senior citizens. We are talking about other programs other than athletics for the youths in town. We want to make Mount Olive as attractive place as we can for young families to come. We want it to be a some place where their kids will have activities they can participate in."