Herman Parker, the county’s Community Services director, will soon be leaving Santa Barbara to serve as the Parks and Recreation director for the City of San Diego, according an email sent to the supervisors Wednesday afternoon by county CEO Mona Miyasato.
On Monday, Parker presented to the board his department’s budget status going into the new fiscal year. In 2014-2015, Community Services is looking at a recommended budget of $21.4 million, with just under 100 employees. In his new position, Parker will work with a $100 million budget and more than 800 employees.
“My feelings right now are extremely mixed,” Parker said of his decision. “I’m somewhat sad about the departure, and I’m excited about the opportunities in front of me. I’ve really enjoyed working here in the county of Santa Barbara.” He also applauded the Community Services team. Parker said he notified the board and his department staff on Wednesday. His last day with the county will be April 23, and he will start his new job on May 5.
Parker came to the county in late 2011 to head the newly merged Community Services department, which combined Parks and Recreation, Housing and Community Development, the Human Services Commission, the Arts Commission, and the Library Advisory Committee. Parker — who once played in the NFL for the Buffalo Bills — previously worked for the cities of Temecula and Riverside, as well as for Los Angeles County.
In his tenure for Community Services, Parker spearheaded several projects, including online camping reservations at Cachuma Lake and Jalama Beach parks and the approval process for the Pescadero Lofts, an affordable housing complex for Isla Vista. “Our county’s loss is certainly the City of San Diego’s gain,” Miyasato wrote, adding that assistant county CEO Renee Bahl will take over Parker’s job when he leaves while the county works on finding a replacement.