Monday, September 26, 2005

Minding the Store?

Earlier today, Tracy Warner wondered, quite sensibly, what's going on over at the Parks Department.

More than nine months after the controversial Dianne Hoover suddenly resigned her position as parks director, the Parks & Rec board has yet to name her replacement, and now a new INTERIM director is on board.

Former Parkview Hospital CEO David Ridderheim has stepped down as interim director of the parks department. Ridderheim had served as Mayor Graham Richard's chief of staff for most of 2003. With longtime parks managers Phil Bennett, Jerry Byanski and Larry Walter all now gone, the interim director spot has been handed to Perry Ehresman, another parks veteran. Ehresman has long served as manager of the parks recreation facilities and overseen rec programs.

Ehresman has a reputation as of being a can-do, likable guy who has been able to avoid the political battles and in-house squabbles that have long been part and parcel of the department, the city's third largest after police and fire. In other words, he's a great choice for interim director, but don't expect him to get the job full time.

UPDATE: Former state legislator Mitch Harper writes in:
Perry Ehresman would make a great choice as the permanent director. If there are some skill areas that need to be augmented - recruit a deputy with those skills.

It's time for the Parks Department to have a permanent head. There really has been a succession since Bob Arnold.

Dave Ridderheim was good as an interim. I liked Diane Hoover - they needed to give her more back up. But it is time for the good of the Department to make this permanent.

One wonders if praise from a Republican will influence the Richard administration in deciding whether or not to give Ehresman the permanent position.



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