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City Council Elects New Parks Director

Salem's new Parks Director was appointed at City Hall Thursday night.

At their meeting Thursday night, City Council members unanimously approved the appointment of Karen Partanean as the replacement for Doug Bollen as Salem's director of Park, Recreation and Community Services.

But support for the appointment was far from unanimous. None of the councilors argued that Partanean was anything but highly qualified to run. 

Several councilors, including two frequent opponents -- Councilor at Large Thomas Furey and Ward 2 Councilor Michael Sosnowski, argued that a qualified Salem resident should have been appointed to run the parks department.

"It is a very challenging position," Furey said. "It needs to be someone who has lived for a long time in Salem."

Sosnowski agreed that the position should have gone to someone in Salem and to someone who has worked in the department. "It helps the morale within city departments to promote from within," he said.

Partanean, who has moved to Woburn, was the facilities operations manager for 10 years for the city of Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.

Mayor Kimberley Driscoll, who nominated Partanean, said, "I am confident that with her extensive experience, Ms. Partanean will hit the ground running in the Director's position, and she will be an asset to Salem's Senior Management Team.

Partanean, after being appointed, said she has extensive experience in running all aspects of the parks and recreation program, including programs for all age residents. "I won't let you down," she said.

Ward 7 Councilor Joseph O'Keefe supported the appointment, but argued that the city needs to have a separate director for the Council on Aging. He said he plans to introduce a measure to create that position, which is now merged into the parks director post.

"The council on aging should have its own director," said Ward 4 Councilor Jerry Ryan.

gene November 19, 2012 at 01:33 PM
To call Furey a "frequent opponent" shows how little the author knows about the Salem City Council. Furey is a butt kissing-back slapping-stooge for Mayor Driscoll. He is the one who has ALWAYS led the charge for the administration. He needs to go!
William Legault November 19, 2012 at 03:34 PM
Gene, I believe Stewart was saying that Furey and Sosnowski frequently oppose each other on the council floor.
Jim Kearney November 19, 2012 at 04:59 PM
I don't understand the feeling city jobs should go to city residents. We've been through that years ago when the school board had an (un-written?) requirement that teachers be city residents. That seemed to have led to money in envelopes under the table to school board members. It was also seen as a way of getting another voter pool for the incumbents. Why shouldn't we want just the best qualified person, regardless of where they live?
Jack Carver November 19, 2012 at 05:02 PM
The Great Carnac the Magnificent predicts Ms Partanen will be retiring in 3 years. How about promoting from with in to help keep retirement cost down? Manager of Special Projects Ellen Talkowsky comes to mind. For what the city pays her she could do both jobs. "The facilities operations manager for 10 years for the city of Palm Beach Gardens,:Fla." The website lists her as "Aquatics Manager" aka head life guard? http://www.pbgfl.com/content/76/2171.aspx
Chris November 20, 2012 at 02:20 PM
Perhaps the one and only city pool at Forest River is going to be open year round, maybe the Mayor is planning on using CPA money to enclose it and create a waterpark lol. Another page/article lists Karen as being 'city director of the aquatic complex', seems like a strange choice for Director of Parks and Rec in Salem. How is running a pool for 10 years extensive experience in parks and rec?

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