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Volume XXIX, Number 6118
Tuesday, Jun 17, 2014

Parks Salutes Its April Employees Of The Month (Part II)

Jill Slater is the Commissioner’s Employee of the Month.

Jill joined Parks in 2009 as a Mapping Specialist in the Planning & Parklands office. She became a Geographic Information Systems Specialist in 2012 in the IT division, a position she currently holds.

From the Greensward Plan in Central Park to the World’s Fair Panorama of NYC, maps of our city and its parks have inspired and informed generations of curious New Yorkers. They are also essential to our agency’s daily operations. Mapping technologies such as Geographic Information Systems help us monitor our parks, plan new ones, and understand how they fit into the fabric of the city.

Jill is the Agency’s resident “G.I.S. whiz.” She develops GIS web applications for the agency to enable our colleagues to conduct rigorous analysis and tracking.

Jill’s mapping mastery has been invaluable to the Operations Excellence’s playground improvement initiative. She demonstrated leadership in cataloguing equipment at over 1,000 playgrounds in all five boroughs. The length of the project would have undoubtedly been significantly longer had Jill not been involved.

For putting our playgrounds “on the map,” Jill was nominated by GIS Supervisor Peter Carlo, Chief of IT James Greenan, Assistant Commissioner of Operations Russell Antonucci, Assistant Commissioner David Stark, and First Deputy Commissioner Liam Kavanagh.

Brendan Shera is the Capital Employee of the Month.

Brendan is a city planner in Capital’s Interagency Unit who joined Parks in November 2012. Brendan serves as liaison with various city agencies and authorities, including the MTA, Economic Development Corporation, Department of Transportation, Department of Cultural Affairs, and the Triborough Bridge & Tunnel Authority.

In this capacity, Brendan assesses and evaluates large-scale infrastructure projects and their impact on parkland. Based upon feedback from various divisions and units, Brendan works with the agency to propose and devise ways to minimize a project’s impact on parkland, trees, landscapes, and Parks facilities.

Brendan brings a high level of political savvy, sophisticated analysis and advanced negotiating skills to his work. He is currently leading Parks’ negotiations with the MTA to craft an agreement that will compensate our agency and the Battery Park Conservancy for the impact of the South Ferry station reconstruction.

Brendan is from Buffalo, NY and possesses a keen knowledge of both built and natural systems. He is an enthusiast for improving pedestrian and bicycle safety in New York City. He recently moved to Brooklyn and enjoys a shorter commute to the Olmsted Center.

For representing the agency with passion and dedication, Brendan was nominated by Interagency Coordination Director Daniel Grulich and Deputy Commissioner Therese Braddick.

Faustina Osei-Owusu is the Management Employee of the Month.

Faustina has been a Parkie since 2001 and has worked in several divisions in the Agency.

Currently, as Chief of Staff of the Legal Division, Faustina provides executive-level support to the General Counsel and manages much of the Legal Division’s day-to-day activities. Her colleagues remark on her keen ability to identify how best to utilize staff members to form a cohesive team. She is the go-to person whenever there is a problem.

Faustina is more than the Chief of Staff for the Legal Division, she is the glue that holds everything together. She creates a supportive, family environment within the office. When it is someone’s birthday, she organizes birthday celebrations no matter how busy she is that day.

Most importantly, she is a great mentor. Faustina instills in her staff the confidence to challenge themselves and learn new skills. Their appreciation is evident by the fact that 15 members of the Legal Division signed a petition to nominate her for Employee of the Month.

For her mentorship, Faustina was nominated by General Counsel Alessandro Olivieri, Deputy General Counsel Sherri Rosenberg, and Deputy Commissioner Robert Garafola.

Michelle Hemingway is the Public Programs Employee of the Month.

Michelle’s first stint at Parks was as a Job Training Participant in 2003. In 2010, she returned as a City Seasonal Aide at Chelsea Recreation Center. She is currently stationed at the recently refurbished Gertrude Ederle Recreation Center.

In less than a year since its re-opening, Gertrude Ederle has become the third largest center in Manhattan with over 5,700 members. Michelle has been instrumental in this early success. She works hard to make sure the center is clean and welcoming for community members.

Although her primary responsibility is maintaining the cleanliness of the center, she does not shy away from covering the front desk and providing welcoming customer service. Last fall, when the front desk staff members were occupied with other tasks, she pitched in to give visitor tours of the facility and provided registration forms to interested guests.

In preparation for the opening of the renovated Highbridge Recreation Center, Manhattan’s Recreation Chief Kim McNeal specifically requested Michelle to help clean and beautify the center. She was there for the opening ceremony and did a great job in ensuring attendees were comfortable and welcomed.

For ensuring that our recently renovated Recreation Centers Gertrude Ederle and Highbridge met the highest levels of cleanliness and service, Michelle was nominated by Center Manager Nathalia Peralta, Chief Paul Fontana, and Deputy Commissioner Robert Garafola.


"The young are so old, they are born with their fingers crossed."

Edna St. Vincent Millay

(1892 - 1950)

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