Minneapolis Park Board superintendent job down to three

November 8, 2018

The three finalists to run the massive Minneapolis parks system come from California, Kentucky and North Carolina but two have roots in the organization they hope to lead.

All three men have experience running a park system and reflect the diversity that Park Board commissioners sought in a candidate from the beginning of the superintendent search.

The finalists made public Wednesday night are: Seve Ghose, the Louisville Metro Parks and Recreation Department director; Nicholas Williams, Oaklands Parks and Recreation director; and Alfred Kent Bangoura, the Recreation Superintendent for the Mecklenburg County (which includes Charlotte, N.C.) Parks and Recreation.

We believe our parks are for everyone, Park Board President Brad Bourn said in a statement announcing the finalists. This means our next superintendent needs to be an advocate for the youth and families in our city who have so often been left on the margins.

Bourn said the three finalists stood out as being able to advance the boards mandate of investing in youth, advancing its mission and building an even better park system. A fourth candidate withdrew her name, he said.

A selection committee made up of five city residents prioritized candidates from a pool of more than 80 applicants. Board Vice President AK Hassan, Commissioner Latrisha Vetaw and Bourn narrowed the list.

One will be chosen to succeed former superintendent Jayne Miller, who resigned in December amid strong criticism by community members and some incoming Park Board members. She accepted a job as president and CEO of the nonprofit Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy in Pennsylvania.

A common theme at several community listening meetings was a desire for the next park leader to be a local person of color and someone who has experience with working with people from different backgrounds. Park users voiced concerns about equity and policing and the need for more senior and youth programming, and they urged the Park Board to hire a leader who will interact with all members of the public.

The selection committee used the information gathered at the listening sessions to help narrow the list.

The nine-member Park Board will interview the three candidates during a special meeting on Tuesday. Park users will have a chance to meet the finalists following the interview.

The board is expected to selected the new superintendent by mid-December.

Covering about 6,800 acres of parkland, Minneapolis parks system has 49 recreation centers, 118 playgrounds, 62 wading pools and 18 gardens. It employs 569 full-time employees and is currently discussing a proposed budget of $120 million.

Karen Zamora 612-673-4647

Twitter: @KarenAnelZamora

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