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Parks and Natural Resources Division Chief

Arlington VA

Job Number: 0725-20A-DPR-SD


Arlington County Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) is seeking an experienced, proactive, team-oriented, and strategic Division Chief to lead DPR's Parks and Natural Resources Division. The Division Chief will lead the maintenance and care of the parklands, including responding to the needs of a growing community with limited land, while mentoring, and motivating a dedicated and talented staff

With an organizational culture of collaboration, Arlington is committed to public engagement and the Parks and Natural Resources Division plays a critical role in working with a diverse and participatory community to create a balanced and efficient public space system that is inclusive, sustainable, and supports recreation and leisure activities, environmental infrastructure, economic development and social health.

The Division Chief is a member of DPR's dynamic and dedicated Executive Leadership Team (ELT) and works collaboratively with other senior leaders in the department to set policy and manage the overall strategic direction of the Parks and Natural Resources Division. The Division Chief will supervise a large staff, direct long-range strategic planning of policies, programs, procedures and initiatives, will operate with substantial independence and report to the Department of Parks and Recreation Director.


Major duties of this position include:

Overseeing the planning, development, maintenance and management of 148 parks and playgrounds and associated sports, recreational, and environmental facilities;

Preparing, administering and managing the annual budget and performing long-range financial planning, including providing leadership to a multi-disciplinary team of 100+ full-time professional and trades employees;

Serving as an advocate for open space and natural resources, including responsible for the development, enhancement, maintenance, interpretation and preservation of all County open space and recreational facilities;

Establishing and cultivating effective relationships with other DPR divisions, County departments, community and regional organizations, and interested stakeholders with the goal of superior leadership for conservation, park maintenance, coordination of environmental issues and related departmental plans and policies;

Overseeing the maintenance and care of the County's parklands by introducing innovative management strategies, using technology and leadership tools to manage limited resources to ensure assets are maintained for optimum use and safety;

Governing park use Laws, ordinances and regulations, as well as Identifying opportunities and partnerships to enhance, maintain, protect and develop parks and natural resources initiatives;

Customizing system approaches and solutions to operations and parklands management, including daily oversight of cleaning and maintenance crews, construction, tree, and landscape crews, as well as nature center oversight and programming, plant pests and diseases and methods for invasive plant control and eradication;

Developing preventative maintenance plans for inspection, assessment and repair or replacement based on applicable industry standards, local guidelines, county requirements and/or manufacturer's recommendations;

Overseeing construction and repair methods of park buildings and facilities, including emergency management with a focus on extreme weather conditions including snow plowing, fallen tree removal, and other potential conditions; and

Managing maintenance procedures for the full scope of park plants, trees and lawns, understanding basic concepts of wildlife management and landscaping.


The ideal candidate will have a strong background in strategic planning, program management, public engagement, internal workgroup dynamics and supervision are necessary. The ability to meet multiple priorities and deadlines is essential as well as effective skills in communication, political astuteness, and managing and working in an innovative, progressive, dynamic and diverse environment.


Department of Parks and Recreation

The Department of Parks and Recreation serves as a steward of the County's natural resources and provides recreational programs and services for people of all ages, abilities and interests DPR has an annual operating budget $43 million, a ten-year capital budget of $298 million, more than 270 permanent employees, many temporary employees, 200 contractors and more than 10,000 community volunteers.

Arlington County is nationally recognized for its park and recreation system, ranking fourth of the 100 largest cities in the United States by Trust for Public Land in 2019 demonstrating Arlington's success in meeting national standards of excellence. The department provides a full range of park and recreation services and promotes wellness and vitality through dynamic programs and attractive public spaces. Our facilities range from parks, sports fields, nature and community centers to spray grounds, playgrounds and a skate park.


Selection Criteria

Minimum: A combination of education and experience equivalent to a Master's degree in Park and Recreation, Urban Planning or closely related field, including experience in a strategic leadership and managerial role with a government park and recreation organization or similar agency serving an urban, multi-cultural population.

Substitution: Additional qualifying experience may substitute for the education requirement on a year-for-year basis.

Desirable: Certified Parks and Recreation Professional (CPRP), Certified Parks and Recreation Executive (CPRE), and/or Certified Landscape Architect (American Society of Landscape Architects) is preferred.


Preference may also be given to candidates with experience in one or more of the following areas:

Innovative, and visionary leadership and management providing strategic and financial planning and direction for a local government Park and Recreation agency;

Navigating organizational and political awareness of multiple stakeholder and community needs;

Public engagement that reflects an ability to network across disciplines and influence decision-makers.


Special Requirements

Please provide a Cover Letter or use the space provided in the Supplemental Questions section addressing how your experience, education and training meets the job requirements, including experience in a strategic leadership role with a government park, recreation organization or similar agency serving an urban multi-cultural population.

A comprehensive reference/background check will be completed, and any offer or employment will be contingent upon favorable review and successful completion of the information.

Completion of the Commonwealth of Virginia Statement of Economic Interest form will be required of the successful candidate upon hire and annually thereafter.


Additional Information

This position will remain open until filled with a preferred filing date of May 22, 2020. Applicants submitted by this date will receive first consideration. Applications will be reviewed, and interviews conducted on a continuous basis.

Work Hours: 40 hour a week position, majority of work performed Monday - Friday, between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. Weekend and evening hours will be required and must be available for callback and holdover in emergency situations.

The salary is up to $197,163.20. Starting salary will depend upon the qualifications and experience of the candidate selected and is negotiable.


This position is in the Arlington County Government's Senior Program Management Accountability Program (SMAP), in which Senior Program Managers are eligible for a negotiated salary/benefits package and are evaluated and compensated based on a performance agreement linked to the County Management Plan, and results achieved. SMAP is a flexible total rewards/compensation system directly linked to performance and the market. For more information on Arlington's family friendly benefits click here.

Please complete each section of the application. A resume may be attached; however, it will not substitute for the completed application. Incomplete applications will not be considered.



Posted May 21, 2020

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