Longtime Metro Parks employee Tommy Lynch has been named the department’s interim director, a position he will assume on Jan.1 when embattled Director Roy Wilson officially steps down.
The seven-member parks board unanimously voted Thursday to appoint Lynch to fill the post created three weeks ago when Wilson announced his retirement.
“I’ve worked in the Parks department for almost 40 years,” Lynch said. “It’s part of a lifestyle for me than a job. I just want to be part of the solution. We’re having some difficulties with the budget right now, and that’s one of the things I have been involved with in the past …I’ve worn a few hats, and I think I’m as familiar with this department as anyone in the city.”
The 59-year-old Lynch currently works as assistant director of Special Services, a position that manages the revenue-producing facilities within the department. Previously, he’s worked as community director at Kirkpatrick Community Center and as the department’s sports supervisor.
Lynch is the brother of Metro Public Works Director Billy Lynch.
“Tommy’s been in all the departments. He knows them well,” said board chair Stan Fossick. “He knows the finance end of it, and I think he’s going to be a real plus moving forward.”
Wilson's departure comes after he accepted responsibility for overshooting the parks department’s budget by a projected $1.77 million this year and $700,000 the previous fiscal year, which was widely reported at the time.
While Lynch serves as the department’s temporary leader, the board will search nationally for a full-time director — a process Fossick said he expects to take at least five to six months.
Under a provision passed by the board, Lynch cannot apply for the full-time job.
“I would dare say, I would be surprised if we don’t have a minimum of 75 to 100 applicants,” Fossick said.