Wight will take over city Rec Dept.July 31,2013By Gordon Dritschilo
He’s not using the word “interim,” but Mayor Christopher Louras said Cindi Wight will take over the city Recreation Department, at least temporarily, upon the departure of Superintendent EJay Bishop.
Wight, whose title in the department is “recreation director,” said she was confident she could step into the role with little or no difficulty.
“We have a great staff here that works hard to support the city,” she said. “I have good people behind me.”
Wight said Bishop had also pledged to stay in touch as she comes up to speed on the department’s various projects.
Bishop handed in his resignation Monday, effective Aug. 5. Louras said he and the city attorney were still researching the process for putting a new superintendent in place, and that he did not want to call Wight the “interim” director because he did not know if the term would carry any connotations under the city charter.
“I expect that Cindi Wight will exercise the duties of the superintendent until a full-time person is named,” Louras said Wednesday.
Wight, who recently earned a master’s degree in parks and recreation management, said she was “definitely” interested in being the permanent superintendent and that it would be an honor to run the department.
“It’s a bittersweet moment for me,” she said. “To be a department head is something I’ve been working to make myself ready to be. ... EJay was a wonderful man.”
Louras would not indicate any preference for selecting a permanent replacement from within the department or searching outside.
“I always look for the most qualified individual, no matter how it’s done,” he said. “That’s my philosophy — find the right person for the job with the understanding that this is an appointment. ... All appointees are key members of the administration staff.”
The superintendent of the Recreation Department is appointed by the mayor and confirmed by the Board of Aldermen.
Bishop’s resignation followed the revelation that he spent roughly $50,000 from the recreation activities fund on architectural services without consulting the Board of Aldermen. While the money was spent in increments of no more than $2,900, keeping payments below the threshold at which purchases must go out to bid, Bishop entered contracts with the architect.
The city charter requires board approval for all contracts.
Board President David Allaire has said he still expects the aldermen to conduct an inquiry into the expenditures, likely starting at the next board meeting, Aug. 5.
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