WESTFIELD, NJ — The government entity managing the town’s special improvement district is set to name a new and permanent executive director, Downtown Westfield Corp’s top official said Tuesday.

Kathleen Miller Prunty, the interim executive director of Downtown Westfield Corp., said board members will meet the newly selected executive director at the DWC board’s next meeting, which is set for Monday, Feb. 24. Miller Prunty’s six-month term is set to expire at the end of this month.

A search committee reviewed resumes, interviewed five people for the position, narrowed the selection to two people and then conducted re-interviews before interviewing the final candidate a third time, Miller Prunty said. The board intends to announce the new hire at the Monday meeting, she said.

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The DWC board made Miller Prunty interim executive director following the August 2019 departure of the government agency’s longtime chief executive, Sherry Cronin. Miller Prunty previously headed up the special improvement district in Downtown Cranford.

During her time heading Westfield’s special improvement district, Cranford voters elected Miller Prunty to the township committee. And what was later characterized as a political attack on Miller Prunty prompted an outcry in Westfield.

While the partisan political tweet alleged to have been sent from the DWC’s official account sparked controversy, an investigation into the tweet's posting cleared Miller Prunty and the DWC staff of wrongdoing and suggests the social media posting was fabricated by an unknown third party.

In August 2019, Westfield’s downtown witnessed the sudden closure of the landmark Rialto Theatre — a property the town hopes to convert into a performing arts center. Despite the headlines, Miller Prunty said, her focus has remained supporting Westfield’s existing local businesses.

“This really is a terrific downtown,” Miller Prunty said. “There are so many wonderful businesses, and while we all need to pay attention to attracting new businesses, all too often there is so much focus on a handful of empty stores [when] there are some outstanding businesses that are here.”

What's Next?

The Board of the Downtown Westfield Corporation is scheduled to meet Monday, Feb. 24, in the DWC conference room at 105 Elm St., Westfield. 

Email Matt Kadosh at mkadosh@tapinto.net | Twitter: @MattKadosh

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