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Planned Parenthood hires new chief.

Byline: Tim Christie The Register-Guard

Cynthia Pappas, a 19-year veteran of Springfield City Hall, has been hired to lead Planned Parenthood of Southwestern Oregon.

Pappas, currently Springfield's assistant city manager, will succeed Bill Sheppard as president and CEO of Planned Parenthood. Sheppard is retiring at the end of the year after 30 years as head of the Eugene-based nonprofit organization.

Pappas, who turned 48 on Friday, said she was interested in the job because of Planned Parenthood's reputation and its mission, which "is something I have a lot of passion about."

"I'm at a time in my life when I want to focus my energy on a broader policy issue that can make a difference at the state level and the national level," she said.

Pappas was a finalist for the Springfield city manager's job last year, a post that eventually went to Gino Grimaldi. That disappointment, and other major events in her personal life in the past year - her mother died and a son got married - caused her to think about what she wanted to do with her life, she said.

"What happens when you're almost 50 is you start to reflect on your life and what truly is the purpose of your life," she said. "As I spent some time doing that, it became clear to me that in the next phase of my life I needed to be focusing on some of those intractable issues that face us."

Planned Parenthood provides reproductive health services, including birth control and sexual education, and advocates for abortion rights.

Pappas said she's excited about making the transition from a senior staff member who is required to stay neutral on policy issues to the leader of an advocacy organization.

"One of the pieces about the job that really excites me is the opportunity to not be neutral in a public setting," she said. "I've always been a political person, and it's something I am looking forward to."

Pappas said she'll start at Planned Parenthood in late November, and Sheppard will help the transition until he leaves at the end of the year.

Planned Parenthood conducted a national search for the successor to Sheppard, and Pappas clearly emerged as the best candidate, said Harriet Merrick, chairwoman of the group's board of directors.

"We feel she's a talented and dedicated community leader," Merrick said.

The board liked Pappas' management experience and her record of community involvement, Merrick said.

Pappas has served on the boards of Sexual Assault Board Services, FOOD for Lane County, Livable Oregon Inc., and the University of Oregon Alumni Association.

Pappas, a Los Angeles native, earned her master's degree in urban and regional planing from the University of Oregon. After five years with the Lane Council of Governments, she went to work for Springfield, serving as a planner, head of the planning department and, since 2003, assistant city manager.

Pappas now will be leading an organization with annual revenues of more than $7 million, 120 employees and nine health clinics in southwestern Oregon.

Merrick would not disclose what Pappas' salary would be, although the nonprofit is required to report that information in its annual filing with the Internal Revenue Service.

In 2004, Sheppard was paid a salary of $163,807, plus $27,313 in deferred compensation and contributions to his benefit plan, according to Planned Parenthood's most recent public filing.

As assistant city manager, Pappas is earning $105,575.

Springfield Mayor Sid Leiken said the city will miss Pappas.

"Losing anyone with that kind of institutional knowledge will clearly be missed," he said. "It's another great opportunity for her and another transition for the city of Springfield."

Pappas has been married for 19 years to George Grier, and they have two grown sons. Pappas said she's a birder, loves to travel and is a "voracious reader." Her current read: "Saving the World" by Julia Alvarez.

"We feel she's a talented and dedicated community leader."

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Title Annotation:Health; Cynthia Pappas, the assistant city manager for Springfield, will succeed the retiring Bill Sheppard as president and CEO
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Date:Oct 7, 2006
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