HARBERT — The Chikaming Township Board approved seeking a Director of Parks during its Jan. 12 regular meeting.

Township Board member Rich Sullivan said the recently appointed four-member committee (consisting of himself, Fran Wersells, Deborah Hall Kayler and Walt Knoke) is recommending that the board “approve at least pursuing seeking this possible person and authorizing Paula (Clerk Paula Dudiak) to start posting it (a detailed job description),” adding that the task force also provided an extensive list of places where the job description could be posted based on “colleges or organizations that already have or deal with recreation programs, park programs, etcetera.”

Chikaming voters on Nov. 8, 2022, favored a ballot proposal that included the following language by a 1,123-574 margin – “Shall the elected Park Commission, known as the Park Board, of Chikaming Township be dissolved, effective upon certification of the election results by the board of canvassers, and upon dissolution, for all powers, duties, assets and liabilities of the Park Commission, known as the Park Board, be transferred to the Chikaming Township Board of Trustees?”

Township Supervisor David Bunte said he feels a job description is fluid in a lot of respects, but “from a starting point of what we’re looking at I think it’s really thorough” and “perfect as-is to post.”

Sullivan said the people who worked with him on the committee “went above and beyond” in preparing the following job description (approved by the Township Board on Jan. 12, which also OK’d posting it in a separate 4-0 vote):

Job Title: Director of Parks

Pay Scale: $45,000 – $60,000 (Exempt)

Supervisor: Chikaming Township Supervisor

Reports to: Chikaming Township Supervisor

Broad statement:

This exciting New Opportunity is for an experienced and passionate Parks & Recreation professional. The right candidate can be both hands-on and supervise employee(s) to meet the daily maintenance and activities of the parks, preserves and beaches. The Director will have the firsthand opportunity to mold a parks and recreation department for the future. Ideal person would be able to work independently while embracing consultants and community volunteers to identify and/or complete asset projects. Experience in working closely with other municipal employees to aid in developing a new park and recreation structure. Successful director will be responsive to its internal and external clients. It is the goal of the Township that the new park & recreation department will be efficient, responsive, accountable under the direction of the new park director. Safety of the patrons and employees is the number one responsibility of the Director of Parks. This position is salaried exempt.

Required knowledge, skills and abilities and minimum qualifications:

To perform this job successfully, an individual must be able to perform each essential duty satisfactorily. The requirements listed below are not inclusive and can change as operational needs change. They are representative of the basic knowledge, skill, and/or ability required. The physical demands and work environment described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform essential job functions.

Must have a valid driver’s license, high school diploma or GED.

Must pass a physical examination and/or drug test after a conditional offer of employment is made if requested by the Supervisor.

A degree in park management is strongly preferred, but not required.

Must have the ability to work in all weather conditions.

During peak season, Memorial Day to Labor Day, the park director will be required to maintain a flexible schedule, including weekend work.

Experience with developing, planning, publicizing, and implementing recreational and cultural community activities, natural environment educational events, and other creative programs to fully use the park facilities for all ages.

Must be able to move sizeable objects up to forty pounds; maneuver, operate and perform required duties in different positions at sites of varying space and condition; operate required equipment, machinery and vehicles; bend, reach, stoop, stand and/or walk for extended periods.

Must be skilled in managing people, employee relations, risk management and public relations. Shall be proficient with word processing and spreadsheet programs such as a Microsoft Word and Excel.

Experience at managing social media platforms while exercising good judgment.

Shall possess the ability to perform light maintenance repairs and minor carpentry.

Specific Duties and Responsibilities:

Conduct a complete park, preserves and beaches assessment.

Complete a 90-day plan of key deliverables based on park assessment.

Work closely with consultants and community volunteers to identify projects to be completed throughout the year.

Responsible for the daily management, operation and maintenance of the parks, preserves and beaches of the Township.

Work closely with the Township Supervisor to identify grant opportunities to meet improvement objectives for the parks. Primary person to administer the grant applications, when appropriate.

Responsible for coordinating organized events for all park facilities including coordination if required with programs and activities of other municipalities, schools and civic organizations.

Point person to negotiate contractor agreements and implementation of project.

Responsible for recruiting, hiring, supervising and terminating seasonal staff.

Responsible for developing a board approved organization structure.

Responsible for planning and formulating the fiscal park budget.

Receive and respond to complaints, concerns and suggestions from park patrons and community.

Complete park reports at township board meetings when requested.

Will perform minor routine maintenance of township park property such as, but not limited to, trash removal, moving of equipment and assisting park personnel as required.

Will be expected to attend workshops, seminars, courses and other training programs at the Township’s expense.

The above is intended to describe the general requirements for the successful performers of the park director. It is not to be construed as an exhaustive statement of duties, responsibilities or requirements for the position which can be modified as required.

Mold

application

Sullivan also talked about applying for a MOLD (mParks Organizational Leadership Development Cohort) grant for a community project from the mParks organization, adding that Chikaming Township is a unique situation with the change from an elected park board and the non-motorized path system being put in along Red Arrow Highway.

Bunte called it “an amazing opportunity for us” to get perspective and assistance from mParks on the structure of the Parks Department moving forward.

The Township Board voted 4-0 (Treasurer Liz Rettig was absent) to apply by the Jan. 13 deadline.

According to the mParks website, the year-long MOLD “cohort” is designed to support and invest in the professional growth of its members.

“Developed by a diverse group of professionals from across the state, MOLD will focus on career development and advancement, mentorship opportunities, and hands-on problem-solving in local communities across Michigan.”

The website goes on to say the cohort is for any park and recreation professional who is seeking to grow with like-minded individuals, learn about new and innovative ways to solve problems, have an impact at state and local levels, and engage with a diverse group of professionals from across Michigan.

It was noted during the Jan 12 meeting that the township recently became a member of mParks, and Bunte said the township plans to send two representatives (including himself) to the mParks Conference & Trade Show scheduled for the first week in March.

In other Jan. 12 matters:

The Township Board approved proceeding with the process of placing a renewal of the township’s road millage (currently assessed at .9785 mills) on the May 2 ballot (the resolution with exact wording is expected to be approved during a special meeting in February).

Bunte said estimates of the cost to deliver broadband internet to all households in Berrien County is between $80 and $90 million, while the county has between $4 and $6 million in hand right now. He said a number of townships recently got together and drafted a letter recommending the county leverage all available funds to pursue broader state and federal money that is becoming available.

Bunte said the Grant family wishes to donate a bench and a flowering dogwood tree at the Chikaming Township Park and Preserve in honor of their father. Both were approved by the board.

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