FARGO - A search committee has recommended the Fargo Park Board hire Joel Vettel as the next head of the city's park system.

Board President Mary Johnson said Friday, March 18 that the Fargo police lieutenant has a "great vision for the Park District" and knows how to implement that vision.

In one of his interviews for the executive director position earlier this month, Vettel suggested more fundraising, more big events such as Olympic trials and greater visibility for the agency's work.

The decision between him and the other finalist, Director of Parks Dave Leker, was not easy, Johnson said, and, overall, she was pleased with the choices available.

Sixty-eight people applied for the Park District's top administrative job, and eight were selected for interviews.

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The search committee, which Johnson emphasized was an advisory board, met Monday. Notification was not sent to media as is customary, but she said the meeting was posted on the Park District's website, at the parks office and at the building where the meeting took place.

If the meeting was posted online, it was not in the Park District's calendar or the schedule of board committee meetings Friday though past events are listed.

There was no public notification of a previous meeting of the search committee in which semifinalists were not selected. Johnson claimed then that was not necessary since a quorum of the Park Board was not present.

The five-member Park Board will still have to approve the recommendation to hire Vettel, who was a longtime member of that board before resigning to apply for the executive director job. The board's next regularly scheduled meeting is Tuesday, April 12.

The current executive director, Roger Gress, announced about a year ago that he would retire at the end of 2016 after 20 years of service.

The park system's top post oversees an annual budget of $27 million and the equivalent of about 700 full-time employees. The salary range for the position is $125,000 to $175,000, depending on experience.