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South Whidbey Parks hires a new director

"The South Whidbey Parks and Recreation District has a new director.Two days after the district's first and only director, Jerry Cole, left to work for the city of Port Angeles, district commissioners Curt Gordon, Jim Porter, and Dave Haworth named Bellingham's Suzette Hart as the new director.Hart, who currently works as a cultural services coordinator for the parks and recreation department in Burien, was the commissioners' top pick out of a pool of about a dozen applicants. Commissioner Gordon said he and his fellow commissioners interviewed four of the candidates last Thursday.Out of over a dozen applicants, we interviewed all the candidates that met our requirements, he said.Gordon said Hart is the right person for the job. In addition to her work in Burien, she has also worked as the director of the city of Colville's parks and recreation department. She comes to South Whidbey with a strong background in grant writing and parks management, Gordon said.Unfortunately, Hart's starting date of August 6 falls two days after the Whidbey Island Triathlon. Gordon said the remaining parks staff and volunteers will run this year's race.The district will pay Hart about $40,000 a year. Gordon and Porter negotiated the salary - which is slightly lower than Cole's - with Hart on Monday.Parks commissioners Tara Barlean and Paul Arand were unable to attend the interviews and Monday's hiring session. "

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