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Volume XXVIII, Number 5948
Monday, Sep 23, 2013

Parks Salutes Its Employees Of The Month (Part I)

Ya-Ting Chang is the Management Employee of the Month for August.
Ya-Ting began her career at Parks in July of 2000, where she diligently worked until she was promoted to Budget Supervisor in April of 2008. She is currently the Supervisor of Contracts and Budget Initiatives in the Budget and Fiscal Management Office.
In this role, Ya-Ting works closely with the Office of Management and Budget on many projects. She also oversees the revenue budget and disbursements for City Council allocations. In addition, she supervises, coordinates, and performs fiscal analysis projects for a number of major contracts.
Ya-Ting was instrumental in protecting our Agency’s FY14 Budget by ensuring that millions of dollars worth of expenses were properly charged back to FY13. By doing this, she freed up funding for other Parks needs. She also performed complex budget analysis for the Central Park Conservancy contract, helping to make certain that the contract could be properly executed. Ya-Ting closely monitors FEMA Project Worksheets to guarantee reimbursement while overseeing tricky capital expense-funding switches of over 10 million dollars. This also freed up operating funds for the agency.
Ya-Ting understands the big picture and is always making thoughtful recommendations for improving business. She is a hands-on supervisor, willing to take on the same tasks that she assigns to her staff.
Ya-Ting lives in Forest Hills with her husband and their two daughters, Abby and Avery.
For her excellent work and dedication, Ya-Ting was nominated by Deputy Chief Fiscal Officer Ed Feldman, Assistant Commissioner David Stark, and Deputy Commissioner Robert Garafola.

Ceci Martinez is an Operations Employee of the Month for August.
Ceci began with Parks in 2000 as a seasonal City Park Worker (CPS) in Queens’ District 10. She returned in each subsequent year and was awarded for her persistence in 2005, when she was hired as a year-round CPW assigned to northeast Queens. She has since been promoted twice: first in 2006 to Provisional Assistant Gardener and again this past May to Gardener 1.
Ceci is currently the Gardener for 900 acres of parkland in northeast Queens. She is responsible for overseeing the maintenance of the district’s garden beds and greenstreets and leads restoration projects along the district’s nature trails. Ceci’s dedication to her job has been reflected in her willingness to work long hours cutting and removing tree limbs in the aftermath of recent storms.
This past summer, Ceci led a week-long clean up along Alley Pond’s Tulip Tree Trail. She directed a crew of eight JTPs in an effort to make the trail more accessible to the public by removing invasive plants such as knotweed, poison ivy, and brambles. The project took place in July during one of the hottest weeks of the summer. Despite the heat, Ceci kept the crew motivated and engaged throughout the entire project. She went out of her way to teach her staff about plant identification and stressed the importance of the trail restoration work that they were performing.
Ceci’s work ethic, leadership, and charisma are infectious. She is a true self-starter and motivates others to excel. She always knows what needs to be done around the district and never hesitates to dive in and tackle special horticultural tasks. These traits, combined with Ceci’s deep knowledge of the district and the field of horticulture make her a true leader.
Ceci will be participating in the 2013-2014 Master Gardener Program through the Brooklyn Botanic Garden and we wish her the best of luck in this venture.
For her excellent work, Ceci was nominated by PRM David Barker and First Deputy Commissioner Liam Kavanagh.

Mercedes Nunez is an Operations Employee of the Month for August.
Mercedes began her gardening career at a commercial nursery. In October 2002, she came to work for Parks as an Assistant Gardener in Brooklyn. In February 2006, she was promoted to Gardener and stationed at Gracie Mansion – a most interesting assignment. Since her promotion, she has been in charge of the grounds at the historic site where she has worked on many major projects.
Twice a year Mercedes organizes the effort to re-lay the entire lawn at Gracie Mansion. She works with ten other employees to rip up the old sod and lay down an entirely new backyard.
Mercedes has also made the horticultural beds at Gracie more colorful and vibrant. She has done this by removing various old plants and replacing them with pink, white and red flowering shrubs and roses. She propagates about 80 percent of the annuals for the site, and always has plants on hand to replace any of those that are damaged or destroyed throughout the season.
Mercedes keeps the grounds of Gracie looking beautiful and in impeccable condition. She maintains a very flexible work schedule in order to accommodate the many high-profile events that take place at the mansion.
In addition to her major responsibilities at Gracie, she also plays a critical role in spraying for weeds in the borough, especially in the summer months. This helps to reduce weed populations in our parks and playgrounds.
Mercedes was born in Cuba and received her Master’s degree in Agriculture there. Mercedes likes to travel and has visited Europe and Hawaii in the last few years. She loves visiting botanical gardens and flagship parks. Mercedes is currently raising her niece and her nephew.
For her excellent work, Mercedes was nominated by Manhattan Chief of Operations Nam Yoon and Deputy Commissioner Liam Kavanagh.


“Do not do unto others as you would that they should do unto you.
Their tastes may not be the same.”

George Bernard Shaw
(1856 - 1950)
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