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  Public Employee Press

PEP Dec 2006
Table of Contents
  La Voz

Public Employee Press

Judge orders hiring of Recreation Directors

A New York State Supreme Court judge sided with DC 37 and Local 299 in October and ruled the Dept. of Parks and Recreation violated the state constitution and the Civil Service Law when it hired provisional and temporary employees to fill Recreational Director positions and failed to appoint municipal employees from the eligibility lists.

Judge Walter B. Tolub ordered the DPR to comply with the rules and guidelines by terminating the provisionals and replacing them with appointees from the eligibility lists before it expires. The DC 37 Legal Dept. pursued this matter in court.

As one of 28 on the short list of 50 who are waiting for the promotions, Local 299’s Ricardo Reynolds, a Parks Associate for 12 years, hopes the agency is ready to play by the rules.

“We are hoping that something positive will come through,” he said. Reynolds took the promotional exam two years ago. It was the first time DPR offered the test in 20 years. He has seen temporary employees promoted into the Recreational Director positions ahead of him.

Since the Giuliani administration, staffing levels at the Parks Dept. have steadily declined due to layoffs and attrition. Meanwhile, an ever-growing number of New Yorkers use the city’s recreational centers, which have indoor pools, weight rooms, basketball courts, dance studios, boxing rings, art studios, game rooms and libraries. “People who use our centers include the disabled, seniors, youth and children whose schools don’t have gyms,” explained Reynolds.

Pressure from the union moved DPR to offer the Recreational Director exam. The position is a step up the career ladder, provides a $5,000 to $7,000 annual pay hike and expands staff by freeing up entry-level positions at the DPR.

“The Parks Dept. helps the community,” said Reynolds. “It keeps youth off the streets, prepares individuals for jobs as personal trainers, schools that don’t have gyms rely on our facilities.”

“We hope to move up the ladder,” said Reynolds, who is also a chapter chair. “It should not be about who you know, but whether you are qualified to do the job. People have been waiting for so long.”

The union is still pressing DPR to follow the judge’s decision, to implement training and prep classes and to end the obstacle course is uses to block so many from civil service status, Local President Lou Sbar said.


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