Board Establishes Next Step in Executive Director Search

The Rockford Park District Board of Commissioners hired the Illinois Association of Park Districts (IAPD) to assist in its search for a new executive director.

Jay SandineThe search is being conducted to fill the executive director position following Tim Dimke’s announcement of his retirement this summer. Peter Murphy, IAPD Chief Executive Officer, is personally assisting the Board in the search process.

The first step conducted by the IAPD was a comprehensive needs analysis to determine the skills and talents required of the next executive director. Peter Murphy prepared the analysis based upon written survey responses and personal interviews with Rockford Park District Commissioners, staff, citizens, and Park District partners. He presented his findings to the Board at its April 25, 2017, meeting.

The responses received by Peter Murphy expressed overwhelming support for an internal successor. Respondents identified the values, mission, and internal culture of the Rockford Park District as foundational attributes that should be preserved through the promotion of an internal candidate. Murphy’s analysis concluded that this sentiment was nearly universal, and should be heeded by the Board. He also noted that frequent and effective collaboration, focus on customer service, and commitment to servant-style leadership were qualities repeatedly praised by respondents.

During a detailed account of his analysis to Commissioners, Murphy reported that a majority of respondents specifically identified Rockford Park District Assistant Executive Director Jay Sandine as an ideal candidate who possessed the qualities recognized as essential of the next executive director. In addition, the Board received dozens of unsolicited endorsements of Sandine’s candidacy leading up to and at the April 25 board meeting.

In response to Peter Murphy’s recommendation and the strong public sentiment expressed in favor of Jay Sandine, the Board has elected to interview him for the position. Board President Ian Linnabary said, “The Rockford Park District Board has a proud tradition of listening to the citizens it serves. In this instance, the people have validated the Board’s collective belief that Jay is an excellent candidate
for the executive director position, one who would carry on in the fine tradition of Webbs Norman and Tim Dimke. We are pleased to offer him this opportunity to formally come before the Board to be interviewed for the position and demonstrate his qualifications conclusively.”

Jay Sandine’s interview will be conducted by the Commissioners during a special open board meeting on Tuesday, May 16 at 4:00 pm in the Webbs Norman Center, 401 S. Main Street, Rockford. After the interview is completed, the Commissioners will determine their next steps in the succession planning process.

For more information, contact Rockford Park District Board of Commissioners President Mr. Ian Linnabary at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 815-621-5448.


For the Rockford Park District to be the best urban park and recreation system in North America, as measured by national standards and the citizens we serve.


To 'help people enjoy life' by providing a quality park and recreation system.

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