Over 900 SPR employees work hard to develop partnerships with park neighbors, non-governmental organizations, volunteer groups, non-profit agencies, local businesses, and Seattle Public Schools to effectively respond to increasing requests for use of Seattle's park and recreation facilities. Perhaps the most significant partnership is with the Associated Recreation Council (ARC) which provides child care and supports recreation programs at Parks-owned facilities, including community centers and small craft centers. ARC, a non-profit organization, also supports and manages the recreation advisory councils. These advisory councils are made up of volunteer community members who advise Parks' staff on recreation programming at community centers and other facilities. This collaborative relationship with ARC enables the department to offer quality child care and a wide range of recreation programs to the public.
Parks' funding is a combination of tax dollars from the City's General Fund, Seattle Park District funds, Real Estate Excise Tax and revenue from a variety of other sources including grants, user fees and rental charges. Funding for new parks facilities historically came from voter-approved levies. In 2014, Seattle voters approved the formation of a new taxing district known as the Seattle Park District. Property taxes collected by the Seattle Park District provide funding for City parks and recreation including maintaining parklands and facilities, operating community centers and recreation programs and developing new neighborhood parks on previously acquired sites. The 2019 Operating Budget for the Department is $163M with a Capital Budget of $71.5M.
Established in Article XI in the City Charter, the Superintendent of Parks and Recreation is appointed by, and reports to, the Mayor and subject to confirmation by the City Council every four years, the Superintendent serves as the highest executive authority at Seattle Parks and Recreation and has full planning, operations, and financial responsibility. The Seattle Board of Park Commissioners, a volunteer advisory board established by City ordinances provides recommendations to the Mayor, City Council, and Superintendent regarding Parks policies for the planning, development and use of the City’s park and recreation facilities. The Superintendent is responsible for planning, organizing, and administering a large complex and diverse parks and recreation system. They oversee a vast network of facilities, open-spaces, and innovative opportunities to meet the needs of a growing number of diverse parks and recreational constituents consistent with best practices, environmental stewardship, and an unwavering commitment to the City's Race and Social Justice Initiatives. Key priorities of the Superintendent will include:
Meet the needs of a changing community. Maintain and adapt parks, public facilities and programs to meet the needs of our changing city through strategic planning, partnerships and investments. Beyond recreation, ensure community centers can serve as hubs for community building; ensuring the spaces are inviting, affordable and programmed in a way that reflects the demographics, interests and needs of the surrounding community.
Promote social equity. Ensure that community centers serve as the bedrock for a recreation system based on racial and social equity, with open doors for all, and free or low-cost community-centric programs. Expand participation and access to recreation programs that increase physical activity and health awareness in communities that disproportionally experience health disparities. Assures that Open Space and Recreation Facility distribution is based upon access, opportunity, equity and data.
Be effective and efficient. Direct "best in class" administrative and operational functions that demonstrate excellence in budgeting and fiscal management; program and project planning; capital projects and system-wide maintenance; technology; marketing and civic engagement; and performance-based management.
Ensure safety, cleanliness, and accessibility. Maintaining and adapting parks and public facilities to meet the needs of our changing city through strategic planning, partnerships and investment. Continue to provide necessary maintenance and improvements to aging infrastructure (especially pools and community centers) to maximize the life cycles of these well-used buildings and reduce major maintenance backlogs.
Build and maintain a great team. Develop and implement succession plans to address changing workforce demographics and retirements; implement employee development and training programs that foster teambuilding, collaboration and inspire new generations of employees who are customer centered and community focused. Invests in development and training so that employees have the knowledge and skills to perform their work and serve the community.
Excel in service delivery. Emphasize the importance of customer orientation. Establish a high standard of customer service with staff and within facilities to provide a climate of welcoming everyone, cleanliness and attention to each community member's needs.
The successful candidate has a passion for parks and recreation coupled with considerable management experience, exceptional communication skills, a demonstrated commitment to equity and the aptitude and judgment to work in a complex work environment with various stakeholders and political demands. We are looking for a multi-faceted and creative leader who has extensive professional knowledge in the administration of urban parks and recreational programs. At the center of their professional practice is a commitment to listening, creating spaces for diverse perspectives and the pursuit of inclusive and just outcomes. Candidates should be dynamic and decisive and excel in both high-performing internal management and external relations including the ability to successfully work through highly collaborative community processes. They are experienced in effectively and strategically representing a large, complex organization to public and private sector partners, community organization, the public, and the media.
The preferred candidate will have experience leading a department or organization responsible for delivery of recreational programs and parks management in a metropolitan setting. Consideration will be given to candidates who have limited park and recreation experience but who have held a senior leadership position where they have had administrative oversight of recreational programs and parks management. They have held a senior leadership role within a large and complex publicly accountable organization that involves leading a diverse staff and management of significant funds. Demonstrated knowledge in working with elected officials, community leaders and the public is critical to this position, as well as extensive experience in building strong teams and fostering an inclusive workplace culture. They are comfortable being an arbiter of competing desires among passionate interest groups, can navigate difficult conversations and identify paths forward.
All interested parties should apply immediately to the City by submitting a cover letter and resume to Pam.Inch@seattle.gov. This position is considered open until filled; applicants should apply by January 22, 2019 for optimal consideration. For confidential inquiries or questions about the recruitment process, please contact Pam.Inch@seattle.gov.
Additional Salary Information: Salary range $142,693-$235,442.88 Annually
About City of Seattle, Parks and Recreation
The City Charter created the Department of Parks and Recreation in 1884. Seattle Parks and Recreation (SPR) works with all residents to be good stewards of the environment and to provide safe, welcoming opportunities to play, learn, contemplate, and build community. Parks manages a 6,400-acre park system of over 485 parks and extensive natural areas. Parks provides athletic fields, tennis courts, play areas, specialty gardens, and more than 25 miles of boulevards and 120 miles of trails. The system comprises about 12% of the city's land area. Parks also manages many facilities, including 27 community centers, eight indoor swimming pools, two outdoor (summer) swimming pools, three environmental education centers, two small craft centers, four golf courses, an outdoor stadium, and much more.
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