Consultant hired to lead food bank director search
October 26, 2010
By Warren Kagarise
Issaquah Food and Clothing Bank leaders have decided to search the Pacific Northwest for the next leader of the food pantry.
The nonprofit organization has hired the recruiter behind the successful search for a city administrator to conduct the effort. Headhunter Greg Prothman has plans to recruit candidates throughout Washington, Oregon and Idaho. The job opening is also posted online, so the search could attract candidates from beyond the region.
The position requires “someone who is really good with board members, who is really good at understanding the numbers and seeing the picture as well having the passion for helping folks,” he said. “Those are really the key characteristics that came forward.”
The food bank has not had a manager since longtime Executive Director Cherie Meier departed at the end of August — less than a year after a Seattle consultant offered a long list of recommendations meant to improve service.
The report suggested that the executive director role be redefined to focus less on food donations and more on fundraising and community outreach.
Mark Mullet, a city councilman and food bank board member, said the organization decided to hire a recruiter to bring in high-caliber candidates from a larger geographic area. The next director, he added, is expected to implement the recommendations from the report.
“We felt like getting the right person for the job was going to be critical to the success of the food bank for the next 10 or 20 years,” Mullet said.
Prothman lopped about $10,000 off of the usual recruiting fee. The total for the food bank is $8,000 plus expenses. The food bank plans to use past donations and a sizable gift from a private donor to cover the costs.
The application deadline is Nov. 7. Then, Prothman plans to cull the stack of résumés and introduce a handful of finalists to the food bank board for interviews.
The next director stands to earn $45,000 to $60,000 per year — plus benefits. The food bank offered a similar compensation package to the previous director.
The food bank serves more than 400 families throughout the Issaquah School District. In addition to the director, the food pantry staff includes a volunteer coordinator and assistant — and a legion of unpaid helpers.
“The food bank is extremely, extremely lean,” Mullet said.
Prothman also led the summerlong search to hire Issaquah City Administrator Bob Harrison, the No. 2 official at City Hall, after former City Administrator Leon Kos retired.
City Human Services Coordinator Steve Gierke said the food pantry serves a critical role, especially as more families require assistance in the economic downturn.
“The food bank is doing well. The community has really supported it well,” he said. “The new director is going to make sure not only that it maintains where it is and it plays even a more important role in the city.”
Warren Kagarise: 392-6434, ext. 234, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Comment at www.issaquahpress.com.