City of Jacksonville


Parks Task Force Committee

Governance/Structure Statement Subcommittee

Minutes of August 24, 2004 Meeting

I. Date, Time, Place, Attendees

A. Date, Time, Place of Meeting

Date of Meeting: August 24, 2004

Place: Mayor's Small Conference Room

Time: 5:30 PM - 6:45 PM

B. Attendees

  1. Lanny Russell
  2. Rufus Pennington
  3. T.R. Hainline
  4. Coen Purvis
  5. Gail McMorries
  6. Mark Middlebrook
  7. Barbara Goodman
  8. Tom Majdanics
  9. Elizabeth Kohler

II. The Meeting

A. The above listed persons met at the Mayor's Office for a subcommittee meeting concerning recommendations on governance and structure for Jacksonville's Parks Department. Chair Lanny Russell reviewed the previous meeting on August 5, 2004. He mentioned that the group had discussed establishing a Parks Board of Trustees and had agreed to think further about how to ensure Board appointees were selected appropriately, such as by skill set, community group representation, or geography. The group didn't think there should be requirements for a certain number of skill set seats, such as two engineers...

B. T.R. Hainline mentioned that at the Finance Sub-committee meeting on August 16, 2004, Walt Bussells had suggested looking at the Jacksonville Zoo Society as a governance model. (The Zoo Society is a not-for-profit organization separate from the City. Receives $1.8 million annually from the City. City also helps with capital projects. Two Council members on the Society Board. If follow such a model could institute a mandatory sunset review every decade.)

From the Zoo website: 'The City of Jacksonville contracts with the Society to manage all phases of the operation of the Zoo. All property, including animals, equipment, and all improvements, belong to the city, which in turn contributes an annual subsidy to offset some of the Zoo's operating expenses. All other Zoo expenses are paid through revenues earned from admissions, concession sales, memberships, the Adopt-an-Animal program, group sales, the Annual Fund, sponsorships, grants and several fundraising events.'

C. The group discussed benefits to having City Council members on the Board of Trustees. Citizens speak to Council members and this would be a good method for public input. If City designates set percentage of regular recurring revenue source for parks, then Council input would be very valuable. The group then discussed the formation of a not-for-profit 'friends-of' parks group to ensure additional public input into the parks planning process. Citizens would then have another forum for communication on parks.

D. Lanny Russell summarized his conversation with Bob Baughman, Director of Parks, Recreation, and Entertainment Department. Bob's suggestions to Lanny were to integrate the Preservation Project Jacksonville into the Department by creating a new division and division chief, as this would allow for less duplication of recreation teams, maintenance crews, and related equipment. Bob explained that currently the Department Maintenance Division is divided geographically into quadrants, while Activities Division is divided by location of community centers, and Planning Division is centralized. Bob thinks Public Relations should be directly under the Director, rather than under Recreation, perhaps as a new Division encompassing volunteer services as well. There is currently not a Deputy Director of the Department.

Mr. Russell passed out an organizational chart of the Department to illustrate the existing Governance structure. It was suggested that Bob Baughman share the functions of the Divisions with the sub-committee at the next meeting. Mark Middlebrook explained that the categories of Division Chief, etc. are set by ordinance with corresponding pay levels and that many of the Department positions are Civil Service and / or regulated by unions, especially in the Maintenance division.

E. The group discussed again the idea of a Park Superintendent who would focus on planning, relations with Council, partners, etc., and fundraising (similar to a CEO). Under the Superintendent would be a Deputy Superintendent who would focus more on park operations (similar to a COO). Tom Majdanics suggested that the group keep strategies in mind when thinking of structure. The strategies the group focused on were public relations/ input/ marketing efforts, leadership (Governing Board), safety/ security, resource protection, successful park development, and employee stewardship of individual parks.

With this in mind, the group looked at the existing organizational chart again and thought about how to incorporate the strategies. For instance, if the group were to recommend that each park have an assigned 'keeper-of-the-park', where would this person fit in the organizational structure to allow for the best ownership over the park? It was suggested that Bob Baughman could help with this at the next meeting and explain where Claudia (who manages Hanna and Huguenot Parks now) fits into the structure. Park keeper could work with neighborhood associations and park trust groups. How would Bob B. see job duty of park keeper?

Another example was given for the successful park development strategy. Barbara Goodman told the group about the Timucuan Bike Trail project, which is federally funded, through a grant to the City, with the project location on a State Park, in the National Park Service boundary area. When funds were received, the project was turned over to the City's Public Works Department, and there was not process in place to ensure the park was developed successfully with input from all interested parties. It was noted that Peter Harnik (speaker 5/20/04) recommended keeping control of park construction/ capital improvements within the Parks Department.

In relation to safety/ security the group suggested that there be a position reporting to the Deputy Superintendent on the issue to elevate the focus on the issue. This could include both the safety and security of the park user. This employee could then work with volunteers, JSO, building inspections, etc. to make parks more secure and safe.

F. A sample organizational structure was discussed to describe the concepts discussed by the sub-committee.







RECREATION -------------------------------------------RESOURCES

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