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Nashua struggles to find development director

Union Leader Correspondent

November 20. 2013 2:18AM

NASHUA — It has been about five months since the city's former community development director retired, and there have been very few qualified applicants for the vital, empty position.

"We have had really minimal progress in trying to find a replacement. I am a little surprised and frustrated," Mayor Donnalee Lozeau said on Tuesday.

Katherine Hersh, who held the position for about 10 years, retired on June 28.

Lozeau is considering asking for a recruiter to help with the search process, as only two qualified candidates have shown an interest in the role.

"For a position of this magnitude, I really wanted a bigger a pool of candidates. But I am certainly not giving up," said Lozeau.

Overall, about 40 applications have been received for the job posting, but the majority of the candidates are not qualified, the mayor said.

"It is very difficult for the management staff to have that position missing — it is a very valuable role," said added. "It is so important that we don't settle."

Lozeau was originally hoping to fulfill the community development director position by the end of the summer. After an initial round of advertising the role, however, a second round of advertising was initiated and expanded to other professional media outlets and locations, Lozeau said.

"Hopefully this will generate more interest," she said.

There have been no interviews as of yet for the position, although the mayor said there will be two interview teams helping to select the most qualified candidate.The first interview team has thoroughly reviewed all 40 applications.

The community development director is in charge of planning, directing and supervising the activities and operations of the planning, building and code enforcement functions of the city, while also providing policy and operational advice, and direction and leadership on community development matters, according to the job posting on the city's website.

"Excellent public speaking skills, experience in community development, planning, building, federal grant programs, public transportation and environmental protection are required of the successful candidates," says the job posting.

"A combination of experience and education will be considered, or a degree in a related field is a plus."

During her time as director of the Community Development Division, Hersh was instrumental in helping to update the city's master plan, the downtown master plan and the first East Hollis Street master plan.

She also spearheaded the passage of Nashua's first tax increment financing district.

Lozeau said that Hersh's energy and passion for her work made great things happen in the Gate City, and she is hoping to find someone just as passionate. Hersh earned about $110,000 a year in her role.

For more information on the job, visit

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