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Board of Directors to Receive Recommendation from Board Committee

OKLAHOMA CITY (Thursday, Aug. 25)  – The Board of Directors of the Oklahoma Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust on Friday will receive a recommendation from a board committee to initiate a new search for the trust’s next executive director.

The committee, consisting of TSET board members Jim Gebhart, Casey Killblane and Don Millican, will recommend the board move forward with modified criteria to hire an interim executive director with potential for the position to turn into a permanent directorship.

The committee is expected to recommend that an interim director be hired by fall in order to prepare for current executive director, Tracey Strader’s retirement, which will take place at the first of the year.

The committee will further recommend the salary be in the range of the current executive director as specified in annual compensation reports required by 74 O.S. § 3601.2 (OSCN 2016), which would put the ceiling of the range around $143,000.

The committee believes by considering interim candidates as well as permanent candidates, it will ensure there is adequate time to find the best-qualified person to lead the organization long-term.  This will preserve continuity of the TSET mission during the transition leading up to Strader’s retirement.

 “We need to move forward with an organized approach to finding the best candidate to lead our organization long term,” said Jim Gebhart, TSET board chair and a member of the search committee.  “The process needs to be collaborative and inclusive, and we will certainly take into account lessons learned from the first search process.”

Board member Casey Killblane, who lauded the leadership of Strader and thanked her for her years of service, said, “Tracey has done exemplary job leading our organization the past 14 years.  We have a responsibility to our staff, our community partners and state leaders to make certain we put into place a clear transition plan – one that will ensure we operate smoothly in keeping our focus on making Oklahoma healthier by preventing tobacco use and obesity.”

Strader said, “During my tenure, TSET has played a vital role in helping Oklahoma’s smoking rates drop by 25 percent, cutting youth smoking by 50 percent and promoting tobacco-free environments in every corner of our state. Even in the face of these historic achievements, we must not let up on our efforts to drive down smoking rates and become one of the healthiest states in the nation.  I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to serve TSET, and I am confident the organization will continue making great gains in its mission to make Oklahoma healthier.”

The board committee will provide the following outline as the recommended process to guide the search:


  • Current executive director has identified March 1, 2017 as her official retirement date, however her last day in the office will be January 6, 2017, as she will be using accrued leave for the remainder of January and February
  • Search committee intends to recommend to the board at the August 26 meeting consideration of hiring an interim executive director over the next 45 to 60 days to work with the current executive director as she prepares to retire
  • Recommend interim be in place on or before October 31, 2016 to transition with staff
  • Recommend the chairman and board appoint a subcommittee to develop a clear and organized process including job description for the interim executive director and to interview candidates to bring before the full board for interview
  • Salary not to exceed current executive director’s salary range as specified in the annual compensation reports required by 74 O.S. § 3601.2 (OSCN 2016)
  • Special board meeting to be set if necessary later in the fall to engage an interim executive director
  • The subcommittee, working with the current executive director and staff, will develop a job description for the interim executive director.  This approach will help make certain an interim person is identified who demonstrates an understanding of the diverse requirements involved in working with TSET and its various constituencies


  • Subcommittee to manage process
  • The position will be posted on the TSET and OMES websites
  • The board, working in conjunction with the current executive director, will review candidates for the interim appointment
  • Brief the governor’s office, appointing authorities, and legislative leaders on the hiring of an interim and selection processSubcommittee interviews potential interim appointees
  • Subcommittee recommends a finalist who will meet with staff and others as deemed warranted as part of a final step before being offered the interim position
  • Based on the feedback from the inclusive process, the subcommittee will present a recommendation to the Board to hire a specific person as an interim executive director until a process of finding a person to lead the organization long term is concluded
  • Subcommittee chair or designee will make the offer of employment, and once agreed, a letter will be sent with the employment details and a public announcement  will then be made

View the TSET Board Memo

For more information, contact:
Julie Bisbee
[email protected]
(405) 521-3888
Mobile (405) 301-3693


The Oklahoma Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust (TSET) serves as a partner and bridge builder for organizations working towards shaping a healthier future for all Oklahomans. TSET provides leadership at the intersections of health by working with local coalitions and initiatives across the state, by cultivating innovative and life-changing research, and by working across public and private sectors to develop, support, implement and evaluate creative strategies to take advantage of emerging opportunities to improve the public’s health. TSET – Better Lives Through Better Health. To learn more go to: