Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Christopher Williams named Acting Parks Superintendent


For Immediate Release Contact: Mark Matassa

April 28, 2010 Tel: (206) 233-2655

Mobile: (206) 604-4072

Christopher Williams named Acting Parks Superintendent

Mayor McGinn appoints department veteran to lead through budget crisis

SEATTLE – Mayor Mike McGinn today named Christopher Williams as Acting Superintendent of Seattle Parks and Recreation, following the resignation on Monday of Superintendent Timothy Gallagher.

Williams, a Parks and Recreation employee for nearly 20 years and the deputy superintendent under Gallagher, will take over management of the department immediately, Mayor McGinn said.

“Like the rest of City government, the Parks Department is facing serious budget challenges. Christopher Williams has been working with my office to address them over the past few weeks, and I’m pleased to have his experience, dedication and management expertise at the helm as we find ways to preserve our excellent parks services,” the mayor said.

Mayor McGinn and Williams both said they were interested in finding budget savings or exploring revenue options that would minimize reductions in Parks and Recreation programs or services.

The mayor and his budget office directed Williams to provide management plans for three potential scenarios, given the city’s budget:

A Parks system that maintains the current array of services and obligations

A Parks system that includes a mix of service reductions or program eliminations in order to operate within the City’s current funding constraints

A Parks system that meets current obligations, including maintenance and operations, and allows Seattle to realize the system’s full potential (use of existing facilities and those expected to come online with the Parks Levy).

Williams, who has worked for the Parks Department since 1992 “in almost every role from safety officer to interim superintendent,” said he was thrilled to receive the appointment after such a long tenure with the city.

“I’m a product of the Parks and Recreation system,” Williams said. “Growing up in Seattle, I played on the athletic fields, participated in the programs. My kid played in the youth basketball program. I’ve seen that Parks and Recreation is the first line of opportunity for vulnerable, disadvantaged people. It can help socialize at-risk youth. It shows the value of community, and the value of volunteerism.”

Williams, 46, was born in Seattle and graduated from Chief Sealth High School. He received an undergraduate business degree from Columbia University, and a master’s degree from Seattle University.

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