Mayor Murray details implementation plans for Parks District, thanks Acting Superintendent for his service

Christopher Williams

Mayor Murray today thanked Christopher Williams, Acting Superintendent of Parks and Recreation for the past four years, who is stepping down to the role of Deputy Superintendent. Williams is returning to his previous role with the department as he manages some personal health issues.

“I want to thank Christopher for his dedication and service to Seattle Parks and Recreation and the people of Seattle over the last four years as Acting Superintendent, and for many years before that in other capacities with the department,” added Murray. “Under his leadership, the department has successfully weathered significant budget reductions as the result of the Great Recession, including both service and staffing cuts. Seattle’s park system will benefit from Christopher’s work for years to come.”

The Mayor will conduct a national search to find a new leader for the Parks and Recreation Department. The search is underway and will be completed by January of 2015.

The Mayor also detailed plans for implementation of the Seattle Parks District approved by voters on Aug. 5.

“I want to commend voters once again on passage of the Seattle Parks District,” said Murray. “We have already started work on establishing strong accountability standards, including accounting and financial oversight for these resources. Also, a new ‘results team’ will develop performance management tools so that we can track and measure our success. I look forward to working with the City Council on these issues.”

The Seattle City Council will serve as the governing Park District Board. The Board will meet this fall to adopt an inter-local agreement that details charter and bylaws and appoint a Community Oversight Committee.

The Oversight Committee will have 15 members: four Park Board members; seven members, one from each Council district; and four additional members to be considered for appointment based on recommendations from City commissions, including the Immigrant and Refugee Commission, the Commission for People with Disabilities, the Human Rights Commission, the Seattle Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Commission, and the Women’s Commission. All appointments will be confirmed by the City Council and the Mayor will appoint the Chair of the Oversight Committee.

The Oversight Committee will provide advice on spending and activities including:

  • Establishing an application process for an annual allocation of Major Project Challenge Funds;
  • Reviewing an annual report prepared by Seattle Parks and Recreation for the Seattle Park District and the City, including assessment of performance measures and expenditure of District funds;
  • Holding public meetings and making recommendations to the Superintendent in connection with each 6-year update to the spending plan, and
  • Providing to the Mayor, City Council, and Superintendent of Parks and Recreation an annual report on the progress of expenditures, a mid-term report half-way through each six-year period, and a final report in advance of each 6-year update to the spending plan.

Information about the spending plan for the Park District is available at this website.

Video from the press conference

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