Federations To Search For Own CEOs

Nearly three months to the day of when the boards of both the Minneapolis and St. Paul Jewish Federations approved a motion to form a 10-member exploratory panel to consider whether or not hiring a joint CEO to oversee both Federations would be in the best interests of the Twin Cities, the decision appears to be made that each would continue with their own search, according to an e-mail the Minneapolis Jewish Federation sent to its constituents on Tuesday afternoon, Dec. 20, followed by an e-mailed statement from St. Paul on Dec. 21.

Both Federations are in the market for new chief executives after the July departure of Minneapolis’ Stu Silberman and the same-month announcement that St. Paul’s Eli Skora will retire come June 30, 2017. The cross-river exploratory panel, formed in September, comprised five members from each community. Representing Minneapolis was: Tom Sanders, Linda Ketover, Jacy Grais, Kathryn Klibanoff and Kris MacDonald; St. Paul was represented by: Mark Adelman, Wendy Baldinger, Holly Brod Farber, Rick Linsk and Jon Parritz.

“These are 10 great people that are very community minded,” said David Orbuch, President of the Minneapolis Jewish Federation.

St. Paul President Steve Brand said the committee is expected to issue a full report to the respective boards, then the boards will make a decision. The joint Twin Cities Jewish Collaboration Report consists of recommendations for various cross-river collaborative efforts, not just an opinion on the CEO search. Each facet of the report will be voted on by the respective Federation boards in January.

The announcement of the committee formation came in September after the two Federation boards approved the recommendations of the Twin Cities Jewish Community Cooperation panel, which made its report at the end of a two-year-long study. The group was formed after the St. Paul Federation’s community-wide listening process of 2012. Also this summer, 200 citizens signed an open letter to the leadership of both Federations “to consider a possible new umbrella structure for Federation activities that supports all Twin Cities Jews.”

Both CEO searches continued while the committee had been meeting. St. Paul has contracted with the Jewish Community Centers Association to do their search, while Orbuch said that the Minneapolis search is not using an outside firm. In an October statement, Orbuch said the first round of candidates were interviewed on Oct. 13. The Jewish Federations of North America used to assist Federations with their searches, but disbanded their recruitment function.

“We’ve been able to source a number of exceptional candidates,” Orbuch recently told TC Jewfolk. “We’re not worried about getting good candidates. We have a list of very interesting leaders. What we want to do is make sure the incoming CEO is the right person for the community at this time.”

Orbuch said that the communities will continue to have two CEOs as long as they think it’s in their best interests to do so. He added, “We will continue to collaborate and see how we can work more efficiently and effectively together.”

Brand agreed: “We aren’t giving up on the idea of collaborating or integrating functions.”