Johnny Hartman Square

The Daily Plant : Tuesday, April 3, 2001


Brian (Oakman) Aucoin is Bronx's Employee of the Month for March. Oakman started at Parks on March 8, 1999. He currently works as a Bronx River Conservation Specialist, helping to restore the river and its banks to their natural splendor. The Bronx River Project is a 10-year, $60 million effort, and Oakman plays a key role out on the river everyday, reporting on its condition and identifying trouble spots. He coordinates restoration projects, river blockage removals, and public workshops, and supervises a crew of 5 Americorps volunteers. Oakman recently caught a perpetrator dumping debris on parkland. A dedicated new employee, Oakman was nominated by AquaTerra.

Ethan (Grassroots) Weiss is Brooklyn's Employee of the Month for March. Grassroots, began with Parks on November 29, 1999, is a City Park Worker with the borough Greenstreets crew. Grassroots cleans and waters Greenstreet sites, and has also obtained a license for pre-emergent herbicide spraying. Grassroots is working with the pre-emergent spray program this spring, and participates in various borough 5x5s. Grassroots has a strong knowledge of horticulture and helps train co-workers in gardening issues. Enthusiastic and always striving to improve himself, Grassroots was nominated by Liberty.

Ramesh (Minuteman) Singh is Capital Projects' Employee of the Month for March. Minuteman started with Parks on November 16, 1987 and is a surveyor. In this role, Minuteman has been instrumental in Parks' implementation and use of "Total Link", a state of the art surveying system that is linked to the Auto CAD drawing system. Total Link allows for efficient and quick transfer of survey information into maps that are used by Design. These maps help Capital design park fixtures so they do not interfere with pre-existing trees or natural conditions. Minuteman is also Capital's resident expert on waterfront surveying, and he recently completed surveys for the Harlem River Park extension and the Midland Beach Pier. Dependent and skillful, Minuteman was nominated by Polecat.

Eileen (Clover) Egan is Citywide Services' Employee of the Month for March. Clover began at Parks on July 1, 1992 and currently works as an Energy Officer at 5-Boro. She developed a database to track Parks' gas and electricity meters. She works closely with Con Edison to ensure that all meters are read correctly, and that Parks does not overpay on energy costs. Clover has also worked on Technical Services' budget and personnel issues. In the last year, she has closely monitored Technical Services' overtime budget, helping to reduce and re-allocate expenditures in that area. Thorough and attentive, Clover was nominated by Tigress.

Tarice (Mystique) Harris is Management's Employee of the Month for March. Mystique began at Parks on October 5, 1998 and currently works as Parks Benefits Coordinator. Mystique ensures that current employees and retirees understand and participate in all of their health and pension options. This winter, Mystique helped process over 100 applications for changes to health benefits, and coordinated the Early Retirement Incentive Program. Mystique also works with Headlight on Parks Blood Drives and the Combined Municipal Campaign. For her hard work and support of agency staff, Mystique was nominated by Scarlett.

Allen (Dr. Playground) Hodge is Manhattan's Employee of the Month for March. Dr. Playground started with Parks on February 8, 1999 and is currently a Maintenance Worker in District 9 which includes Alexander Hamilton Square, Morningside Park and Convent Garden. Dr. Playground performs repairs to park fixtures and helps with clean-up efforts in these challenging and heavily used sites. Dr. Playground has the helped the district make a small improvement in overall ratings from 66% acceptable in 1999 to 69% overall in 2000. For his consistent effort and contribution to Manhattan, Dr. Playground was nominated by Sunflower.

Angela (Pumpkin) Porter is Queens' Employee of the Month for March. Pumpkin started with Parks on February 18, 1996 and works as a clerical associate with Borough Personnel. Pumpkin coordinates pre-employment drug tests and also works closely with our Legal and Advocates offices to follow-up on claims against Parks. She has recently resolved a backlog of information requests, and has helped the office maintain smooth functioning despite staff changes. Flexible and reliable, Pumpkin was nominated by Ricardo.

Mary Ellen (Squirrel) Burtner is Staten Island's Employee of the Month for March. Squirrel began with Parks on July 6, 1981, and is currently the SPMO for District 1 in Staten Island where she oversees the maintenance of 25 properties including Silver Lake Park and Clove Lakes Park. The overall ratings in 2000 for the district were 88% overall and 91% cleanliness. Squirrel has taken a leading role in the Greenstreets initiative, supervising maintenance and horticultural efforts, and working with volunteers. Disciplined and efficient, Squirrel was nominated for her efforts in Staten Island by Richmond.

Neil (Camperdown) Calvanese is Commissioner's Employee of the Month for March. Camperdown began with Parks on June 15, 1981 as a seasonal Climber & Pruner, and is currently Chief of Operations for Central Park. Camperdown is one of the first employees to work with the Central Park Conservancy (CPC). Camperdown supervises 200 staff, 150 CPC staff and 50 Parks staff, and is the horticulture and tree expert for the park. He plans the gardening and lawn projects that beautify Central Park and help make it a model park. Camperdown coordinates major Central Park special events, and shows off his good work by conducting tours for visitors to Central Park. For his outstanding skill, performance and contribution, Camperdown was recommended by Brigadier.

By Keith (Kermit) Kerman, Chief of Operations

(Tuesday, April 12 1988)


The Prospect Park Administrator will reopen the magnificent Memorial Arch to the public beginning on Saturday, April 16 from 11:00 A.M. to 4:30 P.M. The exhibition, "Remember My Face" will fill the dramatic interior of the Arch with portrait scultpures by Alison Saar, Norma Weeks, Gabriel Koren, Linda Peer, Richard Lewitz and R.D. Rice from April 16 to June 19, 1988. The Arch is staffed by Urban Park Rangers and Parks Enforcement Patrol (PEP) Officers, and is open free to the public on Saturdays and Sundays.


"Ideas move rapidly when their time comes."

Carolyn Heilbrun

Park Information

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