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Spokane Park Board endorses Verner’s pick, Leroy Eadie, for park director

Spokane Mayor Mary Verner has opted not to make another change in the leadership of the Spokane Parks and Recreation Department.

After firing one director in 2007 and forcing the resignation of another late year, Verner has nominated interim Park Director Leroy Eadie to take the position.

On Thursday, the Spokane Park Board unanimously voted to endorse her recommendation. The Spokane City Council will have the final say. Verner appointed Eadie the interim park director in October after she asked then-Director Barry Russell to resign the post.

“I was familiar with Leroy’s professionalism, grasp of big concepts, and ability to juggle a myriad of details,” Verner wrote earlier this month in a letter to the Park Board. “However, I was pleasantly surprised as he transitioned smoothly and successfully into this new role and the range of responsibilities that come with it.”

Eadie, 42, started work at the city in 1994 in the planning department. Mayor Dennis Hession appointed him planning director in 2007.

Eadie, who grew up on the Colville Indian Reservation and lives in the Cannon Hill neighborhood in Spokane, holds an urban and regional planning degree from Eastern Washington University, but he does not have a park background.

“We have that expertise in the department,” said Eadie, in an interview of the board’s vote. “What I’m bringing to the department is leadership experience.”

Verner did not hold a national search for the park position like she did in 2007 when Russell was hired. “There’s no reason to go through the process of a national search if you feel the person you have is the right person for the job,” said City Administrator Ted Danek.

Also Thursday, the Park Board named Ross Kelley, who has served on the board since 2008, its president in a unanimous vote.

He replaces Gary Lawton, who served in the position for two years that included work on several high-profile issues, including debate on the future of the former downtown YMCA, creation of youth swim fees, construction of new swimming pools and negotiations with Mobius Spokane on the possible use of park land to build a science center. Mobius decided late last year not to continue to pursue a partnership with the city.

Kelley, 66, is the retired Spokane County engineer and is the part-time office manager of the Spokane office of HDR Engineering. He lives in the Northwest Neighborhood.

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About this blog

Jim Camden is a veteran political reporter for The Spokesman-Review.

Jonathan Brunt is an enterprise reporter for The Spokesman-Review.

Kip Hill is a general assignments reporter for The Spokesman-Review.

Nick Deshais covers Spokane City Hall for The Spokesman-Review.

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