The mayor’s office announced today that in effort “to run leaner and work smarter” the city has just combined the Dept of Parks & Recreation and the Dept of Public Works into a new combined “Department of Public Parks, Recreation and Works”.
While this seems to have come out of the blue for many city employees and City Hall watchers, the plan has been apparently unfolding since the first of the year. Department heads David Turocy (DPW) and Robert DeRubeis (Parks & Rec) say that they have been working quietly for months on the details of the combined new department.
Robert Rooney, Newton’s Chief Operating Officer, says “the first order of business is to manage the transition to this new combined department smoothly. Once it’s up and running we’ll begin to explore opportunities for improving services and increasing efficiencies.”
Turocy from DPW says “We already work closely with Parks & Rec on all sorts of projects. We already deal with our whole range of DPW activities in the city parks, everything from water and storm drains, excavation, paving in city parks. Digging is digging whether it’s on a city street or a city park so I think the combined department makes a great deal of sense.”
DeRubeis says “From Parks & Rec’s point of view this can only be a good thing. We definitely expect to have improved communication on park related projects and it also opens up some fun new programming possibilities. Everyone knows that kids just love big construction equipment so we’re already thinking about holding a Construction Equipment Parade sometime this summer.”
It appears at least for the moment, the city has punted on one of the trickiest issues – who will lead the new department. At least initially, the combined department will be run by both David Turocy and Robert DeRupeis operating as Co-Commissioners. While this would seem to be a sensitive situation, both Turocy and DeRupeis seem to genuinely take it in stride and in good humor. Said Turocy, “I’ve worked closely with Bob for years, and besides I’ll really be in charge.” Laughed DeRubeis “Yes Dave is a great guy to work with and like he said – I’ll really be in charge”.
The mayor’s office says the new combined department began it’s operation this morning, April 1.