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City Council approves parks department restructuring

Wed., Oct. 2, 2013

More managers in the Spokane Parks and Recreation Department will be subject to hiring and firing outside of the city’s civil service system.

In a restructuring approved Monday night, the City Council agreed to designate the parks department a division of city government consisting of four departments, each of which gets two mayoral appointments.

Councilman Jon Snyder cast the lone vote against because, he said, he is concerned about weakening civil service and creating positions that would result in a costly proliferation of midlevel management.

But Councilman Mike Allen, liaison to the Park Board, said the restructuring “makes sense” from a management point of view.

He has argued that the change gives administrators at City Hall more control over their team.

The proposal adopted Monday would allow up to 10 parks positions exempt from civil service, but only six are called for in the 2014 budget, Park Director Leroy Eadie said.

The plan breaks the parks and recreation division into four departments: finance and budget; operations; entertainment and Riverfront Park; and recreation.

That is similar to the way parks and recreation has been organized for decades.

Eadie said he would have an exempt manager for each of those departments, plus an assistant director and himself.

The parks and recreation department has more than 80 full-time employees and operates on a $23.5 million annual budget.

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