A temporary leader for the city’s parks and recreation department has been selected.

The Parks and Recreation Board on Jan. 4 named Lori Visner to serve as the acting superintendent for the parks and recreation department effective Feb. 1.

“I’m 100 percent committed to this endeavor and I know I have an excellent support system with the Parks and Recreation staff as well as the administration,” said Visner.

Visner will serve in the interim post once current Parks and Recreation Department Superintendent Ed Stewart retires on Feb. 1. She will earn a salary of $102,564 in her new position, according to Parks and Recreation Board Chairwoman Lisa King. Visner has operated as the facility director for the Natatorium since April 2011 and earns $96,947 annually in that role. Visner said she will continue working as the Natatorium’s facility director, too. Before working at the Natatorium, Visner was the city’s deputy service director.

King said the Board felt Visner was well suited for the interim job.

“The Board discussed the existing managers within the department and Lori was chosen based on a solid track record in previous city positions and we felt she is doing an impressive job managing the Natatorium,” said King.

King said the Board is now reviewing job descriptions and will advertise for the superintendent’s job “as soon as possible.” She added that a schedule for the process on selecting a permanent superintendent has not been established yet.

“Our job is to select the right candidate and not rush the process so candidates will be fully vetted,” said King. “Lori will be the acting superintendent until a successful candidate is chosen.”

King said Visner will receive a pay raise that “that reflects the pay range of the superintendent position,” but noted she did not have information immediately available on the amount of the compensation increase.

King said the Board only discussed the acting superintendent’s position with Visner and did not ask her whether she was interested in serving in the permanent role.

“Lori is certainly encouraged to apply for the position if she feels she meets the requirements and has the desire,” said King.

Visner said she has not decided if she will apply for the permanent superintendent’s job.

Current leader announced retirement in December

Stewart announced his retirement from the parks superintendent post in a letter he submitted to King on Dec. 8, four days after the parks assistant superintendent Megan Moreland submitted her resignation. In his letter to King, Stewart said it was the “right time” to retire.

Moreland announced on Dec. 4 that she was stepping down after City Council’s then-finance committee chair Carol Klinger proposed that Council no longer provide funding for the assistant’s job. She made the proposal after Moreland told Council in November that she does not directly supervise park employees and Stewart said Moreland handles programs, such as the Neighborhood Excellence Initiative, that are “mostly not related to the park and rec department.”

Council on Dec. 11 approved the city’s 2018 budget, which was amended by the finance committee on Dec. 4 to remove $132,621 in personal services funding from the parks and recreation department.

That figure is equivalent to the value of the annual salary and benefits for the assistant superintendent’s position, according to Klinger.

Moreland’s last day with the city was Jan. 3.

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