Board looking for broader range of applicants to fill top spot of city’s marquee event

Board looking for broader range of applicants to fill top spot
of city’s marquee event
Gilroy – The search for a new executive director for the Gilroy Garlic Festival Association, the nonprofit group that works year-round organizing the city’s marquee event, will continue into the new year as association members evaluate additional applicants.

Members of the GFA board of directors originally hoped to hire a new festival director by the beginning of November, but chose to extend the deadline to call for another round of applications, according to this summer’s festival president Jennifer Speno.

She declined to specify the number of applications the group received, but said the people the association’s search committee has already reviewed remain under consideration.

“We felt that to get a broad range of applicants that we’d like to extend the search,” Speno said, adding that Dec. 31 is the new deadline for applications. The search committee hopes to narrow the field to six candidates by mid-January, when it plans to start interviews.

The new director will have a challenge living up to the standards set by former director Richard Nicholls.

Known to friends and family as “Dick,” Nicholls was the behind-the-scenes maestro who organized every Garlic Festival between 1985 and 2004. He died in June following a two-month battle with pancreatic cancer. This July’s festival, the last one Nicholls played a role in organizing, raised a record $300,000 for local charity organizations.

Speno said the new director must “be someone with festival and event-type experience. Someone who can deal with a large number of volunteers. Someone business-minded enough to run the festival and keep it as successful as it has been.”

The committee has set the starting salary at $75,000 plus benefits, though the figure could go higher depending on experience.

Speno said the GFA board would like to get a local resident to fill the position, but would not limit their search to the Gilroy area.

“We want the best possible fit,” Speno said, “and if that’s a local person, even better.”

Anyone interested in learning more about the position should send an e-mail to GFA assistant director Joann Kessler at [email protected]

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