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County still hasn’t filled parks and recreation job

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By Damon Lawrence

Months after the position came open, Roane County still doesn’t have the parks and recreation director job filled.

“We’re not just going to hire anybody off the street,” Roane County Executive Ron Woody said. “We’re selective on our side about the candidate we want.”

The job opened up over the summer when Tony Brown left to go work for the road department.

Woody said six interviews were conducted. He said the job was offered to one of the candidates, but the person turned it down.

“We asked a second individual if they would be willing to come back for another interview, and they declined,” he said.

Another person was offered a part-time position and declined.

“Some of it’s understandable,” Woody said. “The pay in county government and job security is not what it is in some other areas.”

Brown was making $41,863, but $15,000 of that was for serving as the county’s litter grant coordinator.  Woody said he expects the next director to have a salary in the low to mid $30,000s.

“Will we have to loosen up our qualifications? We may,” Woody said. “You’d like to have the best candidate, and you know what you can pay them, but at some point in time you find out you’re not in the market because your pay scale and benefit scale is not what it needs to be.”

Woody said the plan now is to re-evaluate the situation and wait until after the holidays to try and fill the position.

“I’m sending letters out to everybody thanking them for applying and telling them we’re just going to hold off for a little while, after the holidays, before we take any action again,” he said.

Woody said the county still has employees to handle the day-to-day operations at Roane County Park, which include scheduling use of the cottage and sheds along with park and equipment maintenance.  

“The good thing is it’s a slow time of the year,” he said.

Woody said a portion of the money that Brown was making to serve as litter grant coordinator is now being used to pay a part-time employee who is helping run the park.

Woody said the county plans to keep that person when a new parks and recreation director is hired.