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City searches for new Parks and Recreation director

Gary B. Gray • Dec 26, 2016 at 12:00 AM

Johnson City is now advertising for a new Parks and Recreation Department director to replace Roger Blakeley.

Blakeley, who took the spot in Johnson City in 2011, has accepted a similar job in Unalaska, Alaska. He ended his tenure last week.

“The position is actively being advertised through Jan. 31,” said Assistant City Manager Charlie Stahl. “Assistant Parks and Recreation Director James Ellis will be handling the department’s day-to-day operations. Of course, since the position of Parks and Recreation director reports through me, I will be working closely with James during the interim.”

Blakeley’s ending base salary was $93,024, not including his benefit package. There is no salary mentioned in the advertisement, and the new director will be paid based on experience, according to the city’s Community Relations office.

The city is seeking a person who possesses, among other qualities, a “progressive and visionary” approach to display parks and recreation services to the area. The position will lead a staff of 64 full- and part-time employees and 75-150 temporary employees depending on the season.

The department operates the following: 24 parks; 45-plus ball fields and courts; 23 lighted tennis courts; 16 play structures; two 18-hole golf courses; 19.75 miles of hiking and walking trails; seniors' programs and services; recreation centers; and two swimming pools on approximately 1,150 acres.

The department also operates a 72,000-square-foot multi-generational recreational center -- Memorial Park Community Center -- which opened in 2012. The new director will be responsible for day-to-day management and administration of the multi-faceted department, while actively supporting the city's vision.

Johnson City’s new choice must also work with multiple community boards, including the Senior Services Advisory Council and the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board.

The total departmental budget is approximately $7.4 million dollars.

Blakeley said he did not take his new job because he wasn’t happy in Johnson City. Instead, his love of fishing, hunting, hiking — and basically a chance to, in his words, have “one more great adventure.”

He said Unalaska will pay 100 percent of his out-of-pocket medical insurance, and the move also bolsters his retirement and pension. His duties will primarily be the same, though he also will take on the responsibility of the town’s library director.

Blakeley noted the execution and programming of Memorial Park Community Center and renovations of city parks as a few of his proudest accomplishments.

Email Gary Gray at [email protected]. Like Gary B. Gray on Facebook at www.facebook.com/garybgrayjcp. Follow him on Twitter @ggrayjcpress.

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