Augusta begins interviewing Parks and Rec candidates - WFXG FOX 54 - News Now

Augusta begins interviewing Parks and Rec candidates

AUGUSTA, GA (WFXG) -

The city of Augusta is down to four candidates to take over as Parks and Recreation Director, and interviews for those candidates began Wednesday.

"The Parks and Rec Department is probably one of the ones that touches more people here in Augusta than anyone else," says City Administrator Fred Russell. "It's a real important job."

The department's former director Tom Beck was fired in April after he admitted giving comp time to employees as normal hours.

Now, the city is looking for his replacement, and Commissioners are very adamant they'd like to see a major change from past leadership.

"I'm not looking for more of the same," says District 4 Commissioner Alvin Mason. "I'm not looking for a yes man to anyone, be it the Commission or the City Administrator."

Whoever is hired will be expected to handle the department's major $13 million budget, but also improve the low morale that has gripped the department's employees.

"What we need is someone that is not going to show favoritism," says District 5 Commissioner Bill Lockett. "Someone that's going to promote based on merit, not on who you are."

The first candidate interviewed was current Parks and Rec Interim Deputy Director Ron Houck, though some Commissioners believe it may be best to hire from outside.

"Considering all the issues, and we've had some serious issues in this department over the years, it's perhaps better for us to look to the outside," says Mason.

Two other candidates will be interviewed Thursday and Friday. The fourth candidate will interview Tuesday.

CANDIDATES:

1. Ron Houck- Interim Deputy Director, Augusta Parks and Recreation Department

2. Robert D. Levine- Director of Parks, Recreation, and Trees, City of New Haven, CT

3. Parvin J. Neloms- Assistant Director of Parks and Recreation, Durham Parks and Recreation, Durham, NC

4. Brian Bordem- Director, Columbia Parks and Recreation Department, Columbia, TN

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