In an article posted on the Raleigh website, Parks And Recreation Director To Retire June 1, it was announced that “Jack Duncan will step down as the City of Raleigh Parks and Recreation Department’s director.”
I recently corresponded with City Manager Russell Allen via email to get a better understanding of how the new Director for Parks & Rec will be chosen. Here is a summary of the expected process:
A national search for the new park director will be held, including consideration of any internal candidates. Written or other feedback from Council, Parks Board, Park advocates, citizens, etc. of the qualities and characteristics that should be looked for in a Director. Every employee in the department will have the same opportunity for feedback.
After that, an internal management team lead by City Manager Russell Allen will interview candidates. The names will be kept confidential until an announcement is made about the selection. There will not be a public forum of the finalist candidates like the Police Chief selection.
For Raleigh to maintain it’s unique and what I would call nationally recognized Parks & Greenway system, we need strong leader in Parks & Rec. One that can continue the balance of active recreation while at the same time recognizing the need for parks and greenways to thoughtfully and adequately expand throughout Raleigh, as this area continues to grow – currently at the rate of 100 people per day (in Wake County). We need interconnectivity to neighboring systems, partnerships, more neighborhood parks, and preservation of open space.
The last thing I’ll mention that I personally have a vested interest in is the park master planning process. For the life in me, I just do not understand why Parks & Rec seems to be the sole stakeholder when it comes to master planning for parks when we have a wonderful City Planning Department that should be leading those project to involve both citizens and the Parks & Rec staff.
Special thanks to Russell Allen for providing insight into the selection process.