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The Daily Plant : Tuesday, February 5, 2002


The following five individuals are among the ten awarded Employee of the Month for February on Friday, February 1, 2002.

William M. Finer is Bronx’s Employee of the Month for February. William began with Parks on January 22, 1974 and is the Supervisor of Mechanics for the Bronx Shops. He supervises 21 trades staff including electricians, plumbers, painters, and maintenance workers. Through William’s efforts, Bronx reduced its work order backload for core trades substantially. Currently only 10 jobs are outstanding over 14 days, and there are zero jobs which have been waiting more than a month. He is also part of an important new trades initiative to improve shops services and park ratings through regular meetings with their customers – the district managers. For his technical competence and many years of service to the Bronx, Finer was nominated by Bronx Borough Commissioner, William T. Castro.

Tupper W. Thomas is Brooklyn’s Employee of the Month for February. Tupper began in city government on March 5, 1968 with HPD. Her Parks career began on May 19, 1980 when she was appointed Administrator of Prospect Park. For 21 years, Tupper has managed and guided this 526 acre flagship park and marvel of design– helping to preserve and enhance one of New York City’s premiere natural and tourist attractions. She played a critical role in establishing the Prospect Park Alliance (PPA) which since 1987 has performed extensive fund-raising and capital restoration for the park. A winner of many awards, including the 1987 Sloan Public Service Award, Tupper is a forceful advocate for parks and green spaces, and a terrific asset to New York City. She was nominated by Brooklyn Borough Commissioner, Julius Spiegel.

George Kroenert is Capital Projects’ Employee of the Month for February. George joined Parks on October 1, 1990 and currently works as an assistant landscape architect with Manhattan Construction. He is the resident engineer assigned to the $6.4 million Union Square South project. This job includes the construction of new DEP water mains on E. 14th Street and Union Square West. He has conducted extensive and effective community outreach and coordination for this project, especially since the construction has involved frequent interruptions in water service for residents. George is also the resident engineer for the reconstruction of the Brooklyn Heights Promenade and Palmetto Playground. Skilled and professional, George is helping to reshape New York City’s public spaces. He was nominated by Chief Engineer, John Natoli.

Lauren Brignone is Citywide Services' Employee of the Month for February. Lauren graduated from Wellesley and joined Parks on June 26, 2000. She works as an Analyst in Marketing and Special Events. Lauren has played a key role in organizing and finding sponsors for some of Parks most high profile events, including the Easter Eggstravaganza and Halloween Party in Central Park. Through her efforts, tens of thousands of New Yorkers – young and old – celebrated the holidays and had fun in the park. Lauren was also instrumental in organizing, on short notice, the Ninth State of the Parks ceremony on January 18 in the Arsenal. Bright, dedicated and capable, Lauren was nominated by Deputy Commissioner for Management and Recreation, Robert Garafola.

Samara B. Epstein is Management’s Employee of the Month for February. Samara graduated from Brown University. She joined Parks on August 23, 1999 as an Analyst in Budget with the OTPS unit. In August 2000, she became the coordinator of the Job Assistance Center (JAC) at Al Smith Recreation Center. Samara helped establish and develop the JAC program which has placed over 464 WEP participants in full time employment. In December 2000, she returned to the Arsenal where she soon took over for Falcon’s Eye as Director of Central WEP. As such, Samara developed the Citywide WEP crew chief training. She also worked hard to quickly implement the Parks Opportunity Program (POP), which now involves over 3,500 participants. Sharp and calm, Samara is helping to steer our vital workfare initiatives. She was nominated by Deputy Commissioner for Management and Recreation, Robert Garafola and Comptroller, David Stark.

Find out more about Parks' Employee Awards Program.

By Keith Kerman, Sarah Coleman, Laura Gaul, Amie Uhrynowski, and Dan Froehlich


At a Groundhog's Day celebration held at the Queens Zoo this past Saturday, Parkies and families anxiously waited to see what winter prediction the zoo's prairie dogs would make. Prairie dogs on Groundhog's Day? Actually, prairie dogs Corona Kate and Flushing Meadows Phil are well-equipped for weather forecasting. The furry creatures never hibernate, and their network of tunnels allows them to poke their heads above ground and relay weather forecasts to one another. What did the season soothsayers see? Their own shadow, which means there are six more weeks of winter yet to come this year.

By Eric Adolfsen


(Tuesday, February 14, 1989)



The Estee Lauder Companies have donated $5,000 to the newly-created Historic House Trust of New York City, Director of Art and Antiquities Adrian Benepe announced. The Trust, a not-for-profit organization, was created last December to help Parks restore and interpret its collection of 14 historic house museums.

The gift from Estee Lauder Companies will be used to purchase supplies for the Historic House Restoration crew, which will be headquartered at Parks facilities in the Highbridge Pool building in Manhattan.


"I acted, and my action made me wise."

Thom Gunn (b. 1929)

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