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A Special Night: Open Time comments October 20, 2010

A SPECIAL NIGHT

The following item was presented at Open Time at the October 20, 2010 Park Board meeting:

October 20, 2010

Commissioners:

This is a very special night and it should not go unacknowledged. We want to thank you, the Park Board Commissioners, for successfully completing the search for a new superintendent.

And tonight is the last Park Board meeting for Interim Superintendent David Fisher and we want to thank him for coming to Minneapolis to provide assistance during this transition period.

When the Park Board meets again in early November, it will be under new leadership and will mark the beginning of a new era at the MPRB.

Sincerely,

Arlene Fried and Harvey Ettinger
For Park Watch

October 20, 2010 Park Board Meeting

HEADS-UP FOR THE OCTOBER 20, 2010 PARK BOARD MEETING

5:00 P.M. REGULAR BOARD MEETING. Committee meetings to follow. The meetings will be held in the boardroom at Park Board headquarters, 2117 West River Road, just north of Broadway Pizza.

5:30 P.M. OPEN TIME. Speakers need to sign up before 3:00 p.m. the day of the meeting.

This meeting is the last meeting that David Fisher will be attending as Superintendent. His four month stint as interim superintendent ends on October 31. We are grateful that he accepted the invitation to come to Minneapolis to fill this position.

This meeting is a meeting with many significant agenda items. The most important item on the agenda is the vote to approve the employment agreement with Jayne Miller, who–at the last meeting–was selected by a unanimous vote to be the new MPRB Superintendent.

Some highlights of the meetings that will be voted on :

The I-35 Bridge Memorial.
The concession agreement with Bread & Pickle at Lake Harriet.
The reconvening of the CAC for the Wirth Beach Project III.
The non-appointed CACs for two playgrounds at Lake Harriet.

There will be a presentation of the Superintendent’s 2011 Recommended Budget. This is a report item and will not be voted on at this time.

The following is the link to the complete agenda, with staff reports, for the MPRB Board of Commissioners’ meeting of Wednesday, October 20: http://www.minneapolisparks.org/default.asp?PageID=37&calid=670

MPRB meetings are broadcast live from 5-9 p.m. on the City of Minneapolis Government Meeting Channel 79 on Comcast cable and online at http://www.ci.minneapolis.mn.us/webcasts.

The regular meetings are rebroadcast on Channel 79 at 1 p.m. Saturdays and 5 p.m. on the second and fourth Wednesdays of each month. Webcasts for the recent two months are posted two to five business days after the meeting and are available for viewing under “Webcast Archives” at http://www.ci.minneapolis.mn.us/webcasts.

The Park Board’s website is http://www.minneapolisparks.org.

Arlene Fried, Co-founder of Park Watch

HEADS-UP FOR THE OCTOBER 20, 2010 PARK BOARD MEETING

HEADS-UP FOR THE OCTOBER 20, 2010 PARK BOARD MEETING

5:00 P.M. REGULAR BOARD MEETING. Committee meetings to follow. The meetings will be held in the boardroom at Park Board headquarters, 2117 West River Road, just north of Broadway Pizza.

5:30 P.M. OPEN TIME. Speakers need to sign up before 3:00 p.m. the day of the meeting.

This meeting is the last meeting that David Fisher will be attending as Superintendent. His four month stint as interim superintendent ends on October 31. We are grateful that he accepted the invitation to come to Minneapolis to fill this position.

This meeting is a meeting with many significant agenda items. The most important item on the agenda is the vote to approve the employment agreement with Jayne Miller, who–at the last meeting–was selected by a unanimous vote to be the new MPRB Superintendent.

Some highlights of the meetings that will be voted on :

The I-35 Bridge Memorial.
The concession agreement with Bread & Pickle at Lake Harriet.
The reconvening of the CAC for the Wirth Beach Project III.
The non-appointed CACs for two playgrounds at Lake Harriet.

There will be a presentation of the Superintendent’s 2011 Recommended Budget. This is a report item and will not be voted on at this time.

The following is the link to the complete agenda, with staff reports, for the MPRB Board of Commissioners’ meeting of Wednesday, October 20: http://www.minneapolisparks.org/default.asp?PageID=37&calid=670

MPRB meetings are broadcast live from 5-9 p.m. on the City of Minneapolis Government Meeting Channel 79 on Comcast cable and online at http://www.ci.minneapolis.mn.us/webcasts.

The regular meetings are rebroadcast on Channel 79 at 1 p.m. Saturdays and 5 p.m. on the second and fourth Wednesdays of each month. Webcasts for the recent two months are posted two to five business days after the meeting and are available for viewing under “Webcast Archives” at http://www.ci.minneapolis.mn.us/webcasts.

The Park Board’s website is http://www.minneapolisparks.org.

Arlene Fried, Co-founder of Park Watch

PARK BOARD CHOOSES NEW SUPERINTENDENT

The following article by Jake Weyer has been published on October 14, 2010 on southwestjournal.com:

PARK BOARD CHOOSES NEW SUPERINTENDENT

Jayne Miller, a 23-year veteran of parks and recreation services from Ann Arbor, Mich., is expected to be at the helm of the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board by the end of the month.

The board voted unanimously Oct. 13 to hire Miller, who will serve as the organization’s 11th superintendent. Reached by phone today, Miller said she was eager to get started and thrilled about the board’s consensus.

“I think it’s a wonderful park system and a wonderful city and I’m hoping to keep moving the system forward and offering the amenities and services that the people in Minneapolis love,” she said.

Miller, 52, was among three finalists interviewed Oct. 6 for the top parks job. She applied later than the other two and wasn’t named a finalist until a week prior to the i nterviews, but board members thought she clearly stood out.

“I must say that I thought Ms. Miller really was the best match for us and I’m happy that she did come on board,” said District 5 Commissioner Carol Kummer just before the 9-0 vote.

Commissioners thought Miller’s charisma and progressive values, along with her wide-ranging experience in parks management and recreation services, budgeting, long-range planning and communication made her the top pick.

“I think she has the kind of skill set that I think will be very helpful to us, as someone who can both communicate with all the kind of folks that we communicate with, but also someone who really understands parks,” said District 3 Commissioner Scott Vreeland.

Park Board President John Erwin said contract negotiations will start immediately and should be finalized at the next board meeting Oct. 20. The board expects to get Miller in Minneapolis in time for the National Recreation and Park Association’s annual congress set for Oct. 26-29. During that event, thousands of park professionals from throughout the country will descend on the city for lectures, workshops, and tours of parks and facilities.

Aside from hosting the congress, the Park Board has a full workload in the coming weeks, starting with a budgeting discussion planned for the Oct. 20 meeting. The organization is also getting ready to review developer applications for a competition to revamp the riverfront, a massive project intended to produce a “crown jewel” for the park system. So far, the board has received 60 applications from 13 different countries including Australia, Spain and Mumbai.

On top of its full agenda, the Park Board is fresh off a staff restructuring that did away with the district model and eliminated 21 positions, most of them managerial.

Interim Superintendent David Fisher, who came on in July following the board’s decision six months earlier not to renew the contract of controversial superintendent Jon Gurban, called the job’s learning curve vertical. Fisher’s contract expires at the end of this month, but he intends to help Miller make the transition before departing. He is also staying on as a jury member for the riverfront design competition.

“I feel good about leaving,” Fisher said. “I think it’s in good hands. It’s all moving forward.”

Miller said her top priorities would be talking with Fisher to get up to speed, getting to know staff and board members and the system’s issues. She planned to get involved in the budget discussion right away.

As superintendent, Miller will oversee a system with 6,732 acres of park property, 500 full-time employees and a roughly $60 million budget. During her most recent job as director of the Huron-Clinton Metropolitan Authority, Miller was responsible for a $74.5 million budget, 231 full-time employees, 700 part-time staffers, and a parks system spanning 25,000 acres.

She was up-front with the board about her decision to resign that job after just six months, stating that the organization was not receptive to a long-range financial plan she developed in response to large revenue reductions.

District 1 Commissioner Liz Wielinski, co-founder of watchdog group Minneapolis Park Watch, said she reviewed that plan and thought it was excellent. Arlene Fried, another Park Watch co-founder who frequents the board’s meetings, said she hopes Miller can turn the page on what she called a dysfunctional period for the board.

“Hopefully this will be the beginning of a more transparent culture at the board,” Fried said. “A culture that is very respectful of the public.”

Minneapolis Park Board picks Miller as its new leader

The following article by Mary Lynn Smith was published in the Star Tribune on October 14, 2010.

Minneapolis Park Board picks Miller as its new leader

The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board on Wednesday unanimously selected Jayne S. Miller, a former city official in Michigan with extensive background in parks, recreation and community development, as the system’s next superintendent.

Miller’s appeal

Minneapolis Park and Recreation commissioners said Miller is the “best match” for the top job because of her education, experience and skills in overseeing parks, recreation, planning and housing. They lauded her understanding of technology, her ability to engage citizens and her experience in planning, environmental stewardship and community development. They’re counting on her to be a stabilizing force after a recent staff reorganization and to oversee an ever-tightening budget.

She was selected over two other finalists because of her broad experience, directness and her manner of dealing with people. Miller, 52, rose from bike coordinator to head of parks, community development and other areas in nearly 25 years with the city of Ann Arbor, Mich.

First up

Once she’s on the job, Miller said she’ll meet with commissioners, staff and the community to find out what the key issues are and then begin to prioritize them. She expects to immediately delve into the budget, which has to be approved before the end of the year, and engage in plans to reshape the upper riverfront.

The job

Miller will oversee the city’s nationally recognized park system, which includes 182 park properties encompassing 6,732 acres of land and water. Park properties include local and regional parks, playgrounds, golf courses, gardens, recreation centers, biking and walking paths, nature sanctuaries and the 55-mile Grand Rounds National Scenic Byway. About 18 million visits are made to the system each year.

Negotiations

Park Board officials and Miller will now negotiate a contract and a start date. The job could pay up to $150,056, but the previous superintendent earned $139,818. The board expects to consider the contract at its meeting on Wednesday.

Minneapolis Park Board selects Jayne Miller as Superintendent

The following MPRB news release was circulated on October 13, 2010:

MINNEAPOLIS PARK BOARD SELECTS JAYNE MILLER AS SUPERINTENDENT

Minneapolis Park Board selects Jayne Miller as Superintendent

At tonight’s meeting, Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board commissioners unanimously voted to approve the selection of Jayne Miller from Ann Arbor, Michigan, as the next superintendent of the nationally acclaimed park system and authorized Board president John Erwin to negotiate a contract.

“Ms. Miller has the unique skills needed for the position of Superintendent and to help direct staff as we make needed changes moving forward,” said John Erwin, President of the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board. “She has extensive experience in park and recreation leadership, budget management, community development, planning, environmental stewardship and public/private partnerships.”

Miller was most recently the director and chief executive officer for the Huron-Clinton Metropolitan Authority, Michigan. Prior to that, she served almost 25 years at the City of Ann Arbor, Michigan. As community services area administrator, she provided leadership and policy direction for the City’s parks and recreation system that includes over 2,087 acres of parkland. As a manager for the Department of Parks and Recreation, her responsibilities included park and recreation services, park planning activities, natural areas preservation, and recreation facilities and related programs and services.

Commissioners thanked all of the candidates who applied and were interviewed as finalists. Commissioner Annie Young also thanked Superintendent David Fisher for stepping in during this critical time of transition.

Approval of Miller’s contract is tentatively scheduled for the October 20 board meeting. Park Board commissioners hope to have Miller aboard as soon as possible.

New Mpls. park chief will face full agenda

NEW MPLS PARK CHIEF WILL FACE FULL AGENDA

The following article by Steve Brandt was published in the October 13, 2010 edition of the Star Tribune:

New Mpls. park chief will face full agenda

A Michigan woman is likely to be chosen to oversee the reshaping of the Minneapolis parks and programs, from the upper Mississippi to the lower Minnehaha.

When a new Minneapolis park superintendent is named Wednesday night, that person — likely Jayne S. Miller from Michigan — will be handed an ambitious agenda designed to reach into the lives of city residents.

Expect renewed planning to draw people to the central and upper riverfronts. Expect a push for more teen athletics and maybe homework help in the evening at rec centers. Expect a greening initiative — maybe more tree planting or composting.

Plus, the next chief will need to maintain parks and recreation programs with a budget that’s buying less due to state aid cuts.

Miller seems to be the consensus choice among commissioners heading into their 5 p.m. meeting, based on interviews this week. She was also the clear favorite among park enthusiasts who watched interviews of three finalists last week.

Those who support her like her directness, her manner of dealing with people and the way she did her homework before commissioners interviewed candidates last week. For example, she spent time visiting city recreation centers.

She dealt head-on with why she abruptly left her job after heading a large suburban Detroit park district after only six months, contending that the board there wasn’t willing to make the organizational changes needed to meet budget cutbacks she was hired to address.

She deftly let commissioners know that she’s in a same-sex relationship, on the way to praising Minneapolis as a good fit for her, personally, because it shares the progressive politics she encountered in Ann Arbor.

That’s where Miller, 52, rose in 23 years from bike coordinator to effectively a deputy city manager with responsibilities beyond parks. Some commissioners say her experience in community development and housing will be helpful in weaving parks into urban redevelopment.

The next superintendent faces challenges aplenty. The number of full-time workers who maintain and staff city parks has dropped from more than 600 to fewer than 500. That number could drop more if there’s another big state aid cut.

Superintendent candidates detected anxiety among remaining staff in the face of a reorganization that sliced 21 jobs, two-thirds of them management, and sent 13 people packing. That saved money, but Miller said the next superintendent will need to provide some stability.

Yet even as operating money is tightening, the Park Board has adeptly acquired capital money to add to regional parks and develop them. The new state Legacy Fund and levies imposed by an obscure water agency that manages the Mississippi in Minneapolis augment those opportunities.

The riverfront is getting renewed attention after a hiatus that followed the adoption of a master plan in 2000 to reshape the upper riverfront with parks, housing and light industry.

Now the city has hired a consultant to re-examine the plan’s economic feasibility. A public-private Riverfront Development Corp. is operating, based on a St. Paul model; it hosted a boat trip Tuesday to publicize riverfront development opportunities.

There’s a new design competition for the river north of the Stone Arch Bridge that will attempt to build on existing master plans. The competition will determine who gets hired as a consultant to sketch a design framework for the area, including some specific proposals for access points that may go beyond typical pavilion-and-path park plans. It could led to more ambitious attempts to create riverfront destinations that lure park users the way the Lake Harriet bandshell now does.

That effort is being fostered by interim Superintendent David Fisher, who has been aggressive during his brief tenure, drawing on his longtime stint as parks chief to undo some of the district approach to managing parks instituted by predecessor Jon Gurban.

The competition is underwritten by the Minneapolis Parks Foundation, which is raising private money and trying to boost investments in city parks. It also sponsored a lecture series that has attempted to stimulate discussion of how new parks may be located on waste space and serve new audiences.

For example, park planners need to think about responding to new cultures, older populations and other changing demographics while fostering more contact between generations and enough use to keep parks safe.

The lecture series has recruited speakers who were involved in creating Chicago’s multi-use Millennium Park and New York’s High Line public greenway on an abandoned el track.

Some park enthusiasts envision major opportunities on the newly bought 10-acre Scherer lumberyard upriver from Boom Island Park.

John Erwin, who returned to the Park Board in January and was elected its president, said the revamped board has a lengthening list of accomplishments, including planting 6,500 trees this year, retaining Fisher and conducting a superintendent search that culminates Wednesday night.

Other accomplishments include resolving issues of park dedication fees and storm water charges with the city, and resolving issues that stymied the rebuilding of the lower Minnehaha Creek glen.

Miller, the favorite to get the parks chief job, is an avid cyclist whose partner has relatives in the Twin Cities area and has attended pro cycling races here.

Park Board October 13, 2010 Meeting

HEADS-UP FOR THE OCTOBER 13, 2010 PARK BOARD MEETING

5:00 P.M. REGULAR BOARD MEETING. Planning Committee meeting to follow. The meetings will be held in the boardroom at Park Board headquarters, 2117 West River Road, just north of Broadway Pizza.

5:30 P.M. OPEN TIME. Speakers need to sign up before 3:00 p.m. the day of the meeting.

The highlight of the meeting will be the vote on the selection of the new superintendent from the field of three candidates:

• Jayne S. Miller

• Stanley G. Motley

• Stephen J. Rymer

The complete agenda, with staff reports, for the MPRB Board of Commissioners’ meeting of October 13 is at http://www.minneapolisparks.org/default.asp?PageID=37&calid=674

MPRB meetings are broadcast live from 5-9 p.m. on the City of Minneapolis Government Meeting Channel 79 on Comcast cable and online at http://www.ci.minneapolis.mn.us/webcasts.

The regular meetings are rebroadcast on Channel 79 at 1 p.m. Saturdays and 5 p.m. on the second and fourth Wednesdays of each month. Webcasts for the recent two months are posted two to five business days after the meeting and are available for viewing under “Webcast Archives” at http://www.ci.minneapolis.mn.us/webcasts.

The Park Board’s website is http://www.minneapolisparks.org.

Arlene Fried, Co-founder of Park Watch

HEADS-UP FOR THE OCTOBER 13, 2010 PARK BOARD MEETING

HEADS-UP FOR THE OCTOBER 13, 2010 PARK BOARD MEETING

5:00 P.M. REGULAR BOARD MEETING. Planning Committee meeting to follow. The meetings will be held in the boardroom at Park Board headquarters, 2117 West River Road, just north of Broadway Pizza.

5:30 P.M. OPEN TIME. Speakers need to sign up before 3:00 p.m. the day of the meeting.

The highlight of the meeting will be the vote on the selection of the new superintendent from the field of three candidates:

• Jayne S. Miller

• Stanley G. Motley

• Stephen J. Rymer

The complete agenda, with staff reports, for the MPRB Board of Commissioners’ meeting of October 13 is at http://www.minneapolisparks.org/default.asp?PageID=37&calid=674

MPRB meetings are broadcast live from 5-9 p.m. on the City of Minneapolis Government Meeting Channel 79 on Comcast cable and online at http://www.ci.minneapolis.mn.us/webcasts.

The regular meetings are rebroadcast on Channel 79 at 1 p.m. Saturdays and 5 p.m. on the second and fourth Wednesdays of each month. Webcasts for the recent two months are posted two to five business days after the meeting and are available for viewing under “Webcast Archives” at http://www.ci.minneapolis.mn.us/webcasts.

The Park Board’s website is http://www.minneapolisparks.org.

Arlene Fried, Co-founder of Park Watch