City recreation chief resigns after 30 years with agency

Acting parks head calls move a `mutual decision'

July 31, 2002|By Tom Pelton | Tom Pelton,SUN STAFF

A veteran administrator in the Baltimore Department of Recreation and Parks has resigned, one of several staff changes expected at the troubled agency.

The departure of Zenobia McLendon, chief of recreation, follows Mayor Martin O'Malley's firing July 2 of Marvin F. Billups Jr., the parks director. Billups was criticized for not making reforms rapidly enough in a department many had faulted for failing to clean and maintain the city's parks adequately.

Kimberley M. Amprey, the acting parks director, said McLendon's resignation was a "mutual decision" between herself and McLendon.

McLendon, 54, who earned $80,000 a year and worked for the department 30 years, could not be reached for comment.

"We talked about the direction of the department, and based on that she thought it was best to tender her resignation," said Amprey, confirming McLendon's departure when called by a reporter. "I accepted it, keeping in mind that she has been a very loyal employee of the department."

Amprey said that she is searching for a replacement for McLendon, adding that other organizational changes are expected.

The department suffered budget cuts from 1990 to 2000 that reduced its staff by more than half and left many parks in poor condition. O'Malley has pledged to reverse the decay.

"That is our ultimate goal: Cleaner parks, top-notch recreational activities, and better maintenance of our special facilities," Amprey said. "We want to make comprehensive changes in terms of what we provide to the citizens of Baltimore."

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