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Search begins for new DPSS executive director

By Taylor Wizner, Daily News Editor
Published January 23, 2013

The newly formed Division of Public Safety and Security is beginning the search for a new executive director.

The DPSS executive director reports to University President Mary Sue Coleman, is responsible for the development of the division as well as the management of a 310-person staff and a budget of $23.5 million. University Police Chief Joe Piersante currently serves as interim executive director.

The executive director of the newly-formed division will be responsible for all security agencies at the University’s Ann Arbor campus, including the University Police Department, Hospitals and Health Centers Security Services, Housing Security and Safety Services, University Security Services and other campus-wide security functions.

The University has formed a search committee made up of nine members who will recommend candidates to Coleman. The list of the members of the committee and information about the position were posted to the Office of the President’s website.

The members of the search advisory committee — which is chaired by Liz Barry, managing director of the Life Sciences Institute — includes leaders in University and hospital administration, faculty and members the law enforcement community.

Administrators on the committee include E. Royster Harper, vice president for student affairs; Debra Kowich, interim associate vice president and deputy general counsel for the Health System Legal Office and Gary Krenz, special counsel to the University President.

Nancy Diehl, retired chief of the trial division at the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office, and Ann Arbor Police Chief John Seto come to the committee with law enforcement experience. Faculty members on the committee include Chemistry Prof. Mark Banaszak-Holl and Business Prof. Kathleen Sutcliffe.

Lisa Connolly, project manager in the Office of the President, will act as Coleman’s liaison to the search.

University spokesperson Rick Fitzgerald said the application review process will begin immediately on a rolling basis.

“They are going to move as quickly as possible, but it’s just more important to pick the right person than to stick with a strict time frame,” Fitzgerald said.

Fitzgerald said search committee members were selected to represent the community-at-large that will be affected by campus safety and security.

“They represent a broad spectrum of the University community as well as the broader community because this position also would interact with the broader community, so it’s a blend,” Fitzgerald said. “It’s a little bit different from most of the search committees which include members of the campus community but this one is broader than that because of that reason.”

The Spelman & Johnson Group, an executive search firm, will assist the search committee in suggesting possible candidates for the office. Fitzgerald said the group is looking for candidates within and outside the University.

DPSS was created in Oct. 2012 in order to develop a more integrated approach to safety and security and to improve efficacy and consistency in incident response procedures. Security functions that were previously embedded within different University vice presidential areas were unified in order to achieve this goal.

The comprehensive security department just announced new titles for the departments under the division in the hopes that new nomenclature helps community members better understand the different departments’ roles.


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