Source: Parks and Recreation
Next Saturday November 14th, our speaker will be Jesus Aguirre, Superintendent of Parks and Recreation since May. Hired through the usual nationwide search, Jesus comes to us from Washington DC where he served as head of parks from 2009 to 2013.
Interestingly, he comes with greater background in the field of education. He was a science teacher in Los Angeles. Affiliated with Teach for America, he operated a charter school in Arizona with his wife. They were brought to Washington, DC by Michelle Rhee, whose tenure was mired in controversy. After his stint with DC Parks, he served as Superintendent of Education.
Born in Mexico, and raised in Texas, Jesus brings a diverse perspective to his new role. This should serve him well as he works to prioritize social equity in park services.
He inherits a department that manages over 6,300 acres of public land and 26 community centers. The department has a $147 million annual budget, and about 930 full-time employees. The superintendent earns $190,000 per year.
With the creation of the new Parks District with dedicated funding, Jesus also faces the challenge of a six year maintenance backlog. Other issues include balancing the competition for park resources such as the controversy over mountain bikes in greenbelts.
[by Robert Rosenberger]