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Daily Plant Masthead

Volume XXIV, Number 4915
Wednesday, Mar 25, 2009

Parks Salutes Employees Of The Month (Part II)

Robert McLean is an Operations Employee of the Month for February. Robert, or Mike, as he is known, is a Park and Recreation Manager and has been with Parks since January 18, 2006. Mike works in Manhattan’s District 3, which includes Tompkins Square, East River and Sara D. Roosevelt Parks. Mike works in one of the city’s most diverse and densely populated areas and still led his crew to a Cleanest District award at this year’s Best of Parks. He works tirelessly to ensure a clean and safe operation and often involves the community in keeping their parks beautiful. Mike has also taken on borough-wide roles. Using GIS, he is helping to eliminate rats. He has mapped nests and measured the effectiveness of bait and sanitation efforts. Mike trains gardeners and exterminators and uses his PhD in horticulture to try new approaches. Mike also serves as Manhattan’s homeless outreach coordinator and oversees the borough night lock up crew. With a wealth of knowledge, boundless energy, and a positive attitude, Mike has made a major impact in a short time. He was nominated by Manhattan Chief of Operations Nam Yoon.

Erin Vega is the Public Programs Employee of the Month for January. Erin is an Afterschool Coordinator and has been with Parks since June 29, 2001. Over the years, Erin has worn many hats including Playground Associate and Summer Day Camp Coordinator. Erin helped create some of our most popular programs at Chelsea Recreation Center including Chelsea Kids’ Day, Urban Adventures, and Art Explorers. The extensive programming has helped make Chelsea among the city’s premiere recreation centers. Erin continues to shine by leading the creative afterschool and day camp efforts at Tony Dapolito. Last year, she completed CUNY’s Excellence in Afterschool certificate program. Erin is now working to become a first aid and CPR trainer which will allow her to train all programming staff in these critical skills. She has handled each assignment with enthusiasm and an unwavering dedication to the children she serves. For contributing to hundreds of children’s lives, Erin was nominated by Manhattan Deputy Chief of Recreation Christopher Davis.

Hakeem Omolade is the Public Programs Employee of the Month for February. Hakeem is the Center Manager at Pelham Fritz and has been with Parks since August 8, 2005. Hakeem took the helm at Pelham Fritz in 2005. At that time, membership numbers were low and programming limited to afterschool and some senior activities. Hakeem quickly sought to offer a wider range of services, working with his staff and NYCares to come up with ideas. Within a short time, the center offered Friday Teen Night, cooking and fitness classes, and soon added aerobics, karate, quilting, and even belly dancing. There is also a Young Author’s Club and a newly created book club. Hakeem has greatly increased membership while challenging his staff to better meet the needs of the community. For this, he was nominated by Deputy Commissioner Kevin Jeffrey and Manhattan Recreation Chief Kim McNeal.

February’s Beyond the Call winners are Jacqueline DeLeon and Aston McKen. Jacqueline and Aston are both PEP officers, and have been with Parks since June 24, 2007. They are currently assigned to Hudson River Park. Jacqueline patrols the park on foot and bicycle. Aston works with the Marine Unit and is stepped up to Sergeant between April and October.

On the evening of November 17, Hudson River Park’s PEP Command station received a call of a possible burglary in progress on Pier 66. Jacqueline and Aston responded and heard one male yelling to another that officers were coming. Both men took off running, with Jacqueline and Aston hot on their heels. After a brief chase and physical struggle, the individuals were taken into custody. Jacqueline and Aston transported the perpetrators to the 10th precinct where they were questioned and charged with felony counts of attempted burglary, criminal trespass, and a misdemeanor count of resisting arrest. While they might have just called NYPD and waited for them to arrive, Officers DeLeon and McKen sprang into action. Their quick thinking and actions led to arrests and prevented property from being stolen. For this, they were nominated by Assistant Commissioner Michael Dockett and Director of Special Operations Raymond G. Brown.


If you throw down a rug, you’ll not only help insulate your floors, but you’ll cut down on the noise too.


“Few people can see genius in someone who has offended them.”

Robertson Davies
(1913 – 1995)

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