Deputy Director of Park Operations

Alexandria, VA
$92,307.80 - $167,264.98 Annually
Dec 03, 2021
Dec 20, 2021
Full Time
Deputy Director Park Services

Department of Recreation, Parks and Cultural Activities

The City of Alexandria is in Northern Virginia bordered by the District of Columbia (Potomac River), Arlington, and Fairfax counties. Once within the original boundary stones that demarked the area of the Nation’s Capital, Alexandria is a part of the greater Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. With a population of approximately 157,600 Alexandria is the sixth largest city in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Unique and historic, Alexandria is a place that is experiencing substantial redevelopment appeal and business growth opportunities because of a high market demand for urban living in a quality environment. About one-quarter of the City’s 15.47 square miles has been designated as a national or local historic district.

The City of Alexandria is an independent city with no county affiliation and derives its governing authority from a Charter granted by the Virginia General Assembly. Virginia is a Dillon Rule state, allowing local governments only the authority expressly granted to them by the Virginia Constitution or by the Virginia General Assembly in the City Charter or in general law. City Council is the governing body, which formulates policies for the administration of the City. The mayor is chosen on a separate ballot and presides over sessions of the Council.
If you are interested in working for the vibrant City of Alexandria, we invite qualified candidates to apply for our Deputy Director Park Services for Recreation, Parks and Cultural Activities (RPCA).

Department Overview
The Recreation, Parks and Cultural Activities Department (RPCA) supports the well-being of Alexandria’s residents by ensuring access to a variety of quality recreation, park, and cultural experiences. There are over 900 acres of publicly accessible open space (this includes both public and private land that is open for public use) 566 acres of it is publicly owned park land, and approximately 30,000 street trees. The Department is comprised of four operating Divisions: Recreation Services; Leadership & Management; Cultural Activities; and Park Operations. These four Divisions work to offer the full range of programs, facilities, and parks.

  • The mission of Recreation, Parks & Cultural Activities is to enrich the City of Alexandria by creating meaningful experiences through public spaces, cultural activities, and programming.
  • The Department’s vision is to improve the well-being of every person in our community by connecting them to each other and their environment.

PARKS OPERATING BUDGET FY20 FY21 FY22 Parks Division $8,834,555 $8,798,588 $9,618,072 Personnel $4,926,835 $4,858,492 $5,392,218 Non-personnel $3,907,720 $3,940,096 $4,225,854 FTE* 58.70 56.70 56.70 Planning $865,416 Waterfront $717,660 Marina Operations $268,292 Total Department $24,328,640 $26,567,634 $27,663,521 Capital Budget (10 year) $149,507,100 *The department contracts for a significant amount of park maintenance activities and tree care. Seasonal staff are not included in the FTE total.

The operating units of Park Services include:
Park Operations
  • Leadership and Management
  • Buddie Ford Nature Center and Environmental Education
  • Natural Land Management
  • Urban Forestry
  • Athletic Field Maintenance
  • General Park Maintenance
  • Waterfront Maintenance
  • Facility Repairs
  • Warehouse and Fleet
Planning, Design and Construction
  • Park Planning
  • Capital Improvement Program
  • Capital Facilities Maintenance Program
  • Park and Facility Design
  • Park and Facility Construction
City Marina
  • Commercial Vessels
  • Pleasure Vessels
  • Transient Vessels

There are three Division Chiefs and a Dockmaster reporting to the Deputy Director Park Services. The duties of the incumbents will rotate over time to fully prepare them for continued advancement to the Deputy Director and Director level. The Deputy reports to the Department Head designated by the City Manager to implement all aspects of the recreation, parks, and cultural activities. The current designee is the Director of Recreation, Parks and Cultural Activities, Jim Spengler. Mr. Spengler has extensive experience spanning five states with work for cities, districts, and authorities. Alexandria is CAPRA accredited since 2005. The current reporting relationships are shown below:

The Deputy Director key performance indicators:
  • To plan and implement maintenance cycles and standards for all parks to maintain public satisfaction with quality of City parks at 90% or higher based on the annual citizen survey.
  • To maintain a public park, use rate of 90% or greater based on the annual citizen survey.
  • To conduct all leadership activities to maintain an employee engagement score that exceeds the public sector benchmark based on the annual workplace survey.
  • To achieve operational productivity equal to or better than comparable municipal and private sector benchmarks.
  • To achieve a division score of 90% or higher for courteousness of staff based on the annual citizen survey.
  • To maintain project management processes to meet time, cost, and quality targets as determined by stakeholders.
  • To manage financial resources to established annual budget targets.

The Deputy Director key work projects FY22-FY23:
  1. Implement mitigation initiatives to offset athletic field impact caused by school construction projects.
  2. To collaborate with the school district on construction of a joint use public pool at the new high school location.
  3. To complete an updated memorandum of understanding with the school district for the joint use and maintenance for school and recreation facilities.
  4. To initiate and complete significant park and athletic field projects for Hensley Park, Boothe Park, and Patrick Henry School.
  5. To initiate and complete updates to the Urban Forestry Master Plan, the Open Space Master Plan Park definitions, Natural Resource Management Plan implementation, and Community Survey process.
  6. To complete all seasonal maintenance and facility repair cycles through division staff and contract services.
  7. To collaborate with other City departments on joint projects involving planning for open space, use of parks, park development, and park facility repair.

Key Work Aspects of RPCA and the City of Alexandria:
As a departmental senior leader, the Deputy Director will have both a division assignment to carry out a functional area of work and a strategic team assignment. As a strategic team lead or direct report to the RPCA director you are in the position of a senior leader of the department. As such, you are tasked with creating an environment of success in the department such that staff are highly engaged to focus on results that support organizational attainment of our mission and strategic plan. Our purpose is to build an organizational cultural “that supports each of us and inspires excellence.”
RPCA Strategic Plan - Each senior leader is expected to implement the mission, vision, values, and the four focus areas as determined through business plans and the budget process. It is expected that all decisions will be made considering the values and focus areas.

Statement of Workplace Excellence - Every RPCA staff member has the right to a safe, healthy, efficient, and pleasant working environment where all organization members adhere to the highest standards of behavior, personal integrity, and truthfulness. Each staff member demonstrates full support and acts on deploying workplace excellence.

Shared Leadership Approach - We continually strive to gain the maximum amount of discretionary effort on the part of our staff members. All staff members are collectively responsible for our organizational community and have leadership roles. Everyone is a decision maker within his or her job. We invite participation in solving organizational issues and constantly improving our operations. We share a leader-to-leader model.

Customer Service Guarantee - We are committed to delivering a consistently superior customer experience to all who participate in our programs or visit our parks and facilities. Service will be:
  • Responsive - respond in a timely manner to all residents and customers both external and internal. We own the request we receive and do not shift the responsibility.
  • Professional - represent the department in appropriate appearance, decorum, and communication.
  • Courteous - Treat everyone with respect. Treat everyone fairly. Treat everyone with dignity.
  • Accountable - Demonstrate a bias toward action. Ensure follow-up and follow-through with appropriate results.
Our most valued assets are engaged staff members and customers.

High Performance Organization
RPCA commits to building and sustaining a high-performance organization. This ensures a clear and consistent strategic direction. We continually focus on improving all aspects on internal and external operation. We also strive through workplace excellence and shared leadership to inspire staff to outstanding outcomes. Every job in the organization has elements of team leadership, management, and task accomplishment. HPO is team based.

What You Should Bring
Each member of our team is accountable for the outstanding delivery of services. You will bring your expertise on parks and recreation, employee engagement, high performing organizational culture and change management; you will have a demonstrated ability to work with employees throughout the department and City of Alexandria; your personal mission and values align with those of the organization and can analyze, synthesize, and make data-informed professional recommendations. You will deliver work products that meets the high standards of excellence determined by residents and visitors.

Minimum & Additional Requirements

Bachelors degree in recreation and parks or related field; seven (7) years of related experience, of which (3) years must be at the supervisory or managerial level, in planning, coordinating, and conducting park maintenance, forestry, land management, park design, community planning, and park construction operations; or a ny equivalent combination of experience and training which provides the required knowledge, skills, and abilities.

Preferred Qualifications

Master’s Degree; six (6) years of progressively responsible recreation and parks organizational leadership experience with all aspects of public park and facility maintenance, design, and construction or any equivalent combination of experience and training which provides the required knowledge, skills, and abilities.


This position requires successful completion of a criminal records background check and drug screening prior to employment.

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