Friday, May 10, 2013

TOP STORY >> Jacksonville taps new parks head

Leader staff writer

Interim Parks and Recreation Director Kevin House has been tapped to get the job permanently.

Jacksonville Mayor Gary Fletcher made the announcement Wednesday. He said he had a gut feeling that House was the right person all along and that was confirmed during the interview process last week. “He really opened up during the interview process,” the mayor said, “and was clear where he wanted the department to go in the future. He’s a visionary and that’s what I want my department heads to be.”

House, 37, is married with two children, was the only parks and recreation department employee to apply for the job vacated in April with the resignation of Kristin Kennon, who left to spend more time with her young family.

He has been the assistant director for more than a year and served as interim director for about three months last year when Kennon was on maternity leave.

Besides House, five others applied for the job, including an individual from McKinney, Texas, and another from New Mexico. “It was clear that Kevin had all the requirements necessary. Plus, we like to promote within if possible,” the mayor said.

Kennon was promoted from within and so was the director she replaced, George Biggs.

House said it was great to be named the director and he is excited. He will be officially introduced to the city council Thursday and will make a presentation outlining his plans, goals and direction for the department.

House, who joined the department in 2009 as the sports coordinator, and volunteered for a number of years before that, said he is ready to keep the department moving forward. House said he would rank the department as an eight out of 10. “We just need to do some tweaking to make things even better,” he said.