11/28/08 — Charles named interim parks director

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Charles named interim parks director

By Anessa Myers
Published in News on November 28, 2008 1:46 PM

Gail Charles will lead the Parks and Recreation Department once current director Sonya Shaw departs the city in early December to take a position in Garner. City Manager Joe Huffman announced her appointment as interim director earlier this week.

Ms. Charles currently serves as the superintendent of recreation and has worked with the department for 29 years, and although she has had experience with a lot of its aspects, she still has more to learn about leading it.

To do so, she has already started attending meetings and talking with Mrs. Shaw to get caught up on everything that is happening with the department.

She admits that with all of the projects going on -- Stoney Creek Park, the Community Recreation Center, the needed repairs in the parks and facilities, applying for the Parks and Recreation Trust Fund grant -- she is on information overload, but she says she is up for the challenge.

"Now is a very exciting time at the Parks and Recreation Department for me. We are working on several large projects. ... This will be a challenge, but with the help of the various project committees and the teamwork of the great staff at the Parks and Recreation Department, we will achieve these projects," Ms. Charles said.

But focusing on the large projects won't take away from the smaller, important items, she said.

"At the same time, we will continue to offer the citizens of Goldsboro quality recreational programs, parks and facilities for leisure activities," Ms. Charles added.

Huffman said he chose the interim director because "she has been in a parks and recreation leadership role for some time."

"I think Gail will do a great job as interim director," he said. "Earlier this week, I invited the supervisors to a meeting to discuss the transition phase, and it is clear that those who were present supported the assignment. At the meeting, I stressed the importance to maintain the integrity of programming efforts and to continue improvements to our facilities. Everyone seemed eager to help during the transition."

Ms. Charles has a masters degree in Health and Physical Education Administration from East Carolina University and a bachelor's degree in Health and Physical Education from Methodist College in Fayetteville.

She began with the Goldsboro Parks and Recreation Department in August of 1979 as a center leader.

Throughout the years, she has held many different positions with the department, including supervising the staff and programs of aquatics, special populations, senior citizens, instructional and special events. She has also been responsible for the daily operation of recreation centers, the preparation of the department budget and all purchasing and bids for the department.

Huffman isn't sure if Ms. Charles will become the permanent Parks and Recreation Director or not.

"At this point, I think it is too early to say who might be the new director. I will be meeting with the new Human Resources Director and others to determine the next steps to be taken," he said.

But Mrs. Shaw still has a month before she goes.

"It is business as usual until she leaves," Huffman said in an interview last week.

The city manager knows that the load is a large one, and he and Assistant City Manager Tasha Logan are ready to help out.

"With the Community Center, I know that's a large project, and there is a lot of items involved with that, so Tasha and I will be involved more with that specifically," he said last week.