City of Jacksonville


Parks Task Force Committee

Minutes of July 15, 2004 Meeting

I. Date, Time, Place, Attendees

A. Date, Time, Place of Meeting

Date of Meeting: July 15, 2004

Place: Mayor's Office

Time: 1:00 - 4:00 PM

B. Attendees

  1. Ann Baker (via telephone)
  2. Barbara Goodman
  3. Bob Baughman
  4. Christian Harden
  5. Coen Purvis
  6. David Stubbs
  7. Derek Rowan
  8. Elizabeth Kohler
  9. Gail McMorries
  10. Halley Stevens
  11. Lanny Russell
  12. Mark Middlebrook
  13. Mike Saylor
  14. Neil Armingeon
  15. Pam Paul (via telephone)
  16. Philip Bruce
  17. Richard Skinner
  18. Robert Joseph
  19. Ron Littlepage
  20. Rufus Pennington
  21. Susie Wiles
  22. Suzanne Montgomery
  23. T.R. Hainline
  24. Ted Pappas
  25. Tom Majdanics
  26. Trish Gramajo

II. The Meeting

A. The group met at the Mayor's Office for an organizational meeting, a presentation by Tom Majdanics and a facilitated session by Suzanne Montgomery of Montogomery, Copely & Associates, Inc. Rufus Pennington welcomed the group and thanked everyone for the hard work they had been doing researching Jacksonville's park system and successful park systems across the state and nation.

Elizabeth Kohler asked if everyone had received a copy of the draft preservation project master plan outline and was answered affirmative. Elizabeth asked for input and feedback on the master plan outline and explained that it would help the task force in their mission by outlining park concepts, management, and restrictions. She also mentioned that the Office of General Counsel determined that funds that were part of the original Better Jacksonville Plan Preservation bond initiative could be used only for preservation land acquisition. Mark Middlebrook gave an update on the Preservation Park Access plan legislation. He mentioned that the park development portion of the bill had passed in Council and that the land acquisition portion of the bill was still being debated.

B. Tom Majdanics gave a presentation on 'Parks Task Force: What is Best?'. The goal of the presentation was to assist with the task force recommendation process to take the park system from the biggest to the best. Tom introduced the McKinsey 7-S framework, a model of effective organizations, and considered it along side Peter Harnik's 7 qualities of excellent park systems. The McKinsey framework encompasses shared goals, strategy, skills, staff, systems, structure, and style. Tom indicated that he felt the park system today lacks a mission with shared values and that the system needed a shift from a management to a leadership mentality. He also mentioned that today the system is organized structurally by function (recreation, maintenance, grants) rather than by geography or by type of park. He explained that the three key systems for parks are maintenance, safety, and customer measurement (current and future usage; satisfaction) and emphasized the importance of rewarding / motivating park employees. Regarding leadership, having strong leadership is critical, but the right leadership style is also important (Does leadership employ the right management style given the system's values, strategy, systems, etc.?) Tom closed by reminding the group that mission and strategy drive the implementation of best practices and recommended that the City hire a strategy firm to help craft the values and mission of the parks system.

C. Facilitated session led by Suzanne Montgomery, Montgomery, Copely & Associates, Inc. Suzanne led the group in a facilitated session discussing citizen involvement in parks, funding our parks, parks governance, and parks leadership.

Comments regarding citizen involvement included the need to integrate parks into neighborhoods, to develop stewardship for parks, to train the on-site park workers in customer service techniques, to set up an advisory board with community representation to oversee the Parks Department, to work with not-for-profit organizations in relation to fundraising and with volunteer organizations for field and office support work, to ensure community buy-in through marketing and above methods, and to ensure involvement from non-park users as well.

Comments regarding governance and structure centered on teh sentiment that a unified system would allow for balanced usage of all parklands, ball fields and preservation lands alike. The Task Force made a decision that they would recommend to the Mayor that a unified park governance system (one Parks Department) with a strong governing board be the governance model to implement.

Comments regarding leadership focused on the recommendation of the Task Force to conduct a nation-wide search for leadership of the newly formed, unified Parks Department.

D. Subcommittees were set:

Vision / Mission Statement Subcommittee

Goal is to pre-organize ideas for August meeting

Derek Rowan = Chair

Richard Skinner

Rufus Pennington

Anna Dooley

Ford Riley

Funding Subcommittee

Goal is to research and organize information/ findings for August meeting

T.R. Hainline = Chair

Anne Baker

Mike Saylor

Governance/ Structure Subcommittee

Goal is to take Task Force decision to develop a unified department with strong Board of Trustees and to fill in the details with specific recommendations for August meeting

Lanny Russell = Chair

Pamela Paul

Coen Puvis

Gail McMorries