It’s been five months, and there’s still no new district manager in sight. And it doesn’t look like one is coming any time soon, especially as Community Board 8 is set to cast a wider net.
Of the 37 people who applied to replace Michael Heller, six of them returned for interviews — one even returned for a second go-round. Still, Dan Padernacht — who leads the search committee for a new district manager — feels there could be more good candidates out there.
Because of that, he’s asking CB8’s leadership to re-open the application process and see what resumes might end up in front of his committee.
“The committee is taking a conservative approach,” Padernacht said. “It’s been in the public realm right now that our board has been seeking a new district manager for more than five months. And we want more time to evaluate the present candidates while offering another opportunity for any individual that has heard of the open position and wishes to apply.”
Padernacht’s committee has not rejected any of the candidates so far, he said, and all of them remain under consideration. But the current pool is a bit smaller than the 50 or so who applied last year when Heller was ultimately hired.
Heller, who had experience as a CB8 board member as well as an extensive public relations background, was hired last April, but departed by fall. That immediately re-opened the search with Padernacht, who stepped aside as CB8 chair last summer, leading efforts.
Rosemary Ginty, who succeeded Padernacht as the CB8 chair, doesn’t view the search committee’s request for more time as a setback. In fact, she said, it’s just part of the process.
“These three people (on the search committee) take the job very, very seriously, and they are being very deliberate and very careful,” Ginty said. “I don’t find it troubling at all that we are in our fifth month and don’t have a candidate in our sights. If you look at the people on the committee, you can see the reason why I picked those three serious people, and they are doing a lot of work that I really appreciate.”
Padernacht is joined on the search committee by Martin Wolpoff and Diomarys Escano.
If anyone wants to compare CB8’s search process, they only have to look as far as Community Board 7 in neighboring Norwood, Ginty said.
“They had that tragic death of Andrew Sandler in August, and they just picked a new district manager a couple weeks ago.”
CB7 chose former Bronx Democratic County Committee executive director Ischia Bravo as its new district manager, with CB8 community associate Lydia Hernandez a finalist, according to the Norwood News. Neither Padernacht nor Ginty would confirm whether Hernandez had applied for CB8’s opening.
The average pay for a district manager in the Bronx is around $75,000, Ginty said, which is what Heller was ultimately offered. However, such a position could be paid upward of $100,000.
Re-opening the application period will likely add a few months to the process, Padernacht said, but the hope is to have a new district manager in place by summer when CB8 finishes its current term.