FORT WAYNE – A select committee of the Downtown Improvement District will spend the next several months searching for its next permanent director.
The downtown’s full board on Tuesday agreed to create a five-person committee that will seek to find a permanent replacement for Rich Davis, who resigned earlier this month. Eric Looper, of St. Joseph Hospital, will chair the search committee.
Charles Heiny, board chairman, said the board has made a commitment to do a thorough search for its next executive director. He said he was expecting to get a lot of interest for the position, and noted he received a resume the day Davis’ resignation was announced.
The board accepted Davis’ resignation on June 7 after a three-hour private meeting and then selected Bill Brown to serve as its interim director. Brown previously said he will seek the full-time position, but he left Tuesday’s meeting while the board discussed the selection process.
Much of the board’s conversation was on whether it should select someone with local ties or national experience.
Board member Scott Glaze said with a vote looming to keep the district alive, it was critical to hire someone who could build good relationships with downtown property owners. Those owners get to vote in 2015 on whether to keep the district, which taxes them for much of its revenues.
Several board members said they believed a person with local ties would be better able to build those relationships.
Greg Leatherman, Fort Wayne’s executive director of redevelopment, said the district should not limit itself to either local or national candidates. Leatherman, a board member who will serve on the search committee, said the district can pursue both types of candidates without causing too many problems.
The search is likely to take at least three months, Leatherman said, but should be completed well before the end of the year.