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Interim director to oversee Little Rock parks department following current head's resignation

LR city manager expects interim director will be selected by Joseph Flaherty | November 28, 2021 at 2:20 a.m.

Little Rock City Manager Bruce Moore on Tuesday said he expects an interim director to oversee the city's Parks and Recreation Department in light of the current director's upcoming resignation next month.

Moore wrote in an email last week that no decision on an interim director has been reached.

Responding to the question of how long it will take to find a permanent replacement, Moore wrote that the position will be filled during the first quarter of 2022.

Parks and Recreation Department Director John Eckart recently gave Moore notice that his last day in the office will be Dec. 14. He has served as parks director since June 2017.

Moore tapped Eckart as department chief from the city of Benton, where Eckart served in the same position starting in 2012.

He replaced Truman Tolefree after the former parks director's retirement from the city of Little Rock.

Before joining the city of Benton, Eckart worked in athletic facilities and operations for Florida International University in Miami.

Eckart provided a copy of his resignation letter to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette after a Freedom of Information Act request.

In the letter, Eckart thanked Moore for allowing him to expend his paid time off and bonus time starting Dec. 15.

He expressed gratitude for the opportunity to lead the department over the last 4½ years.

"It truly has been a pleasure working for you, and I am proud of what we have accomplished in a short period of time," Eckart wrote in the letter dated Nov. 16. "I am confident that we have a solid team that will remain in place to continue moving the department forward."

He added, "Please let me know if there is anything that you may need from me to help with transition to the next Director of the Parks Department."

Eckart noted that he "will be an avid supporter in the community."

Eckart told the Democrat-Gazette via email that he will be working with a family business in Arkansas but did not have a start date set. He estimated his paid time off at approximately 400 hours but said he could not provide an exact amount.

"I will not remain as Parks Director after Dec. 14th," Eckart wrote. "I am sure that there will be an interim director named, but would defer to Mr. Moore on that."

A government-reorganization plan announced by Mayor Frank Scott Jr. shortly after his inauguration in 2019 said that six departments would report to him instead of the city manager. Those departments did not include Parks and Recreation.

Print Headline: No decision yet on parks post

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