A VFW post commander and firefighter who helps oversee a veterans’ memorial in Greenwood will run the city’s parks department on a contractual basis starting Monday.
Military veteran Richard McKinney, 58, takes over for Parks Director Doug Kinslow, who was elected mayor last week.
“We’ve worked very close together, and I’d be proud to work with (McKinney) in any capacity,” Kinslow told the Greenwood Parks Commission this week.
McKinney said his focus will be to continue what Kinslow started.
“(He) has a lot of good programs going right now,” McKinney said Thursday. “My job is not going to be to come in and make drastic changes, but to keep the momentum going and push us on through the end of the year.”
McKinney was tapped by the commission to serve as parks director on a contractual basis. Pay for the job is expected to be set Monday at a special meeting of the parks commission.
“He would be temporary until we make a decision as to who the next parks director would be whether that’s three months, four months, six months or a year,” commission member Steve Ratterree said. The Parks Commission is expecting to review and make changes to the current job description for Parks Director as it was written before the creation of a Parks Commission. After that task is complete, they will post notices for the job opening and begin reviewing and interviewing potential candidates.
“We have close to $200,000 in projects that are currently going on,” Ratterree said. “We have contractors that are working on these particular projects that need communication on a daily basis. We cannot let one of the projects fall through the gap.”
Chairman Joel Goldstein added that he agreed “wholeheartedly that it’s important we can get someone who can hit the ground running and has an idea of what’s going on.”
McKinney is instrumental in the care of Veterans Memorial Park on the Greenwood square. The park has taken shape around a towering clock to include rows of curbside memorial plaques honoring military personnel. McKinney has also been a key volunteer in many aspects of Greenwood’s growth over the past decade as well as a volunteer firefighter.
McKinney said he is unsure if he will apply for the permanent position.
“Like I told the commission, this is a chance for them to check me out and for me to check them out,” he said. “If this is something I want to do, I’ll pursue it.”
Kinslow, the city’s parks director since 2006, was elected Greenwood’s mayor last Tuesday to serve the remainder of the year. He replaces City Clerk Sharla Derry, who replaced Councilman and Mayor Pro Tem Jimmy Gossett after Gossett was injured in a car crash. Gossett took the helm after then-Mayor Del Gabbard resigned in January with a year left in his term.