NIRPC to take second stab at hiring executive director

2012-10-22T19:45:00Z 2012-10-30T11:17:13Z NIRPC to take second stab at hiring executive directorKeith Benman, (219) 933-3326
October 22, 2012 7:45 pm  • 

The Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission has scheduled a meeting next week to again attempt to hire a new executive director.

The hiring of former Will County planning director Tyson Warner is slated to be on the agenda for a full commission meeting at 11:30 a.m. Oct. 29, NIRPC Chairman Geof Benson said.

That meeting will be preceded by a 9:30 a.m. meeting of the NIRPC finance and personnel committee, which will consider recommending Warner's contract. Then an executive session of the full commission will take place at 10 a.m. where members can question Warner and discuss the issue.

The meetings will come more than a week after a vote on Warner's hiring was abruptly called off. At that time, it had become apparent some members had serious reservations about the process for selecting a successor to NIRPC Executive Director John Swanson, who will retire at the end of the year.

On Monday, Benson again defended the selection process, saying exactly how the hiring process would work was laid out for members when the search began this past spring.

Benson said he believes there would have been enough votes to hire Warner at the Thursday meeting, but he called off the vote to give the finance and personnel committee a chance to make an independent decision on Warner's contract.

He said the NIRPC search committee had unanimously recommended Warner for the post, after interviewing six finalists chosen from among 16 forwarded by a a consultant hired for the search.

Also on Monday, Hammond Mayor Thomas McDermott Jr. again voiced his opposition to the selection process, saying he did not think it was fair to ask the full commission last week to simply rubber stamp Warner's hiring.

In addition, McDermott said there were two "high quality" candidates from Northwest Indiana that he would favor over Warner.

"It's hard for me to understand how we could bring in someone with no ties (to the region) whatsoever and expect him to perform at a high level from Day One," he said.

If selected, Warner would be paid $130,000 annually for the two-year * term of the contract through Dec. 31, 2014, as NIRPC's new executive director, according to an employment contract passed out before Thursday's NIRPC meeting.

He is currently executive director of the Flint Hills Regional Council, a service association of local Kansas governments from seven counties. Fort Riley, Kan., lies within the region.

*Editors note: This story was corrected from earlier versions.

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