Park Board Does Not Think They're Bungling Search for a New Director, Is Really Hurt Dwaine Caraway Would Say That
Photo by Sam Merten Caraway's had it up to here with the Park Board
Last week, the city's Park and Recreation Board made City Council member Dwaine Caraway very unhappy when they announced their plans to go about searching for someone to replace outgoing department director Paul Dyer. The seven-member committee won't be hiring a national search firm, instead looking at the Park Department itself for candidates, posting the job on the city's website and looking informally at national park-related organizations. They'll accept resumes from outside people, they just won't go around soliciting them, they said.
That displeased Caraway, who promptly released a statement . "I am calling for the mayor and the entire Dallas City Council to urge their Park Board appointees to not rush the process and to undergo a nationwide search for the strongest qualified candidate," he wrote, "as the City of Dallas has done in the past. This is the only way to get the quality candidate that the citizens of Dallas deserve."
Caraway's feelings notwithstanding, the Park Board voted today to go ahead with their search plan, albeit adding a provision that they would also post ads in the Morning News and other daily papers. But along the way, District 14 representative Wayne Smith made sure to let the room know how offended he was by Caraway's comments.
Without mentioning the council member by name, Smith said he thought Caraway's statement implied that the board "was not capable of making this search or of reaching this decision. I had a real problem with that. I take real exception to that.
"Not one person on this board or the board's president was notified that this person had any concerns," Smith added, pounding the table a bit for emphasis and raising his voice. He added that he didn't want to "anticipate any interference from anyone outside" the department. "We didn't get to where we are with a bunch of yahoo assistants and yahoo park board members." Releasing the statement, he said, was tantamount to "running the horse around the back of the barn," which does sound very serious.
The board's stated reasons for not wanting to search nationally are simple: there are qualified people in the department, and besides, a search firm would be expensive and time-consuming, and they want to get this thing done fast: Dyer's last day will be October 19. The time-frame calls for a new person in place by January 1, something a city staffer sitting behind me seemed to indicate was unreasonable by sighing loudly and then snorting incredulously several times. After Dyer departs, the interim director will be assistant department director Barbara Kindig.