SSCVA gets update on CEO search

The South Shore Convention and Visitors Authority president and CEO search is moving forward after the board appointed its interview committee on Thursday.

Andy Qunell, board chairman, said he expects the board will receive a list of prospective candidates in early May after Organizational Development Solutions Inc., of Westville narrows down the field of applicants.

The interview committee will consist of the executive board, including Qunell, Matt Maloney, Brent Brashier and Chariece White, and five board members: Matt Schuffert, Kim Roberts, Darnail Lyles, Christine Cash, and John Bushemi. It is the same team that selected former president and CEO David Uran.

Finalists will be interviewed in an executive session, and the committee will make its recommendation to the full board of directors. Board members have previously said they expect two to three candidates to appear before the interview committee but have set no limit.

The contract with ODS calls for the agency to take in and review up to 100 applications and paring it down through a vetting process and preliminary interview to bring the best possible candidates forward.

Qunell referred questions about an update on the search to Desila Rosetti, president of ODS. Rosetti provided an update to the board in an executive session prior to the meeting. After the meeting, she said the search has received a good response with people from “all over” applying.

“I’m really happy with the search,” Rosetti said.

She declined to comment on the number of applicants who have responded, citing the need to “try to protect confidentiality.”

Rosetti said the search has produced applicants from almost every state from the East Coast to the West Coast, including California and Maine. She added that, in some cases, they have received multiple applicants from some states.

“We’ve even received one from Canada,” Rosetti said. “We haven’t had anything farther north than Ontario.”

All applicants are screened and narrowed down to a pool that will be interviewed. Most candidates who make it to the interview process with ODS are interviewed at least twice. Successful candidates from that process will be presented to the board to be interviewed by the committee, Rosetti said.

The board is looking to find a permanent replacement for Uran, who announced his resignation in December — 19 months after taking the job — to “spend more time with family.” His resignation was effective Dec. 31.

Uran’s resignation came one business day after an executive session where alleged misconduct was listed as the reason. Neither the board nor Uran would comment on the executive session, citing personnel matters.

Previously, ODS performed a human resources study in 2022 evaluating the positions at the SSCVA and what salaries and benefits those positions warranted before the search that resulted in the hiring of Uran.

The SSCVA is withholding this document because the study requested qualifies as deliberative materials under Indiana Code, according to Scott McClure, the bureau’s attorney.

Uran was tapped in May 2022 to replace former longtime head of the organization Speros Batistatos after the board of directors did not renew his contract. Batistatos is suing the SSCVA board for wrongful termination.

Nikki Lopez, who worked as the bureau’s human resources director under Uran, was tapped in January to be the interim president and CEO in the wake of Uran’s resignation. Lopez was the former events director for the City of Hobart before taking the HR job at the SSCVA. She served on the board of directors for eight years prior to becoming an employee.