Written by Wendy Karpel Kreitzman Friday, 28 August 2009 00:00
Great Neck Park District Superintendent Neil Marrin will leave his post next year. Making the announcement at a recent park board meeting, Mr. Marrin said that he will remain as superintendent until Aug. 31, 2010 and will then pursue some personal dreams. Park District Board of Commissioners Chair Robert Lincoln told the Great Neck Record that the park board will advertise for a new superintendent, with their goal to have the new superintendent in place when Mr. Marrin leaves.
Mr. Marrin, who took over as park district superintendent in the Spring of 2002, told the Record just why he is leaving: “The best way to sum up my reason for leaving is … it’s time to figure out ‘what I want to be when I grow up’.” Mr. Marrin is looking forward to a brand new teaching career. And in order to teach on a college level, either recreation or management, it will take a doctorate, and such a course would be impossible with the hours of a park district superintendent. So in order to make his dream come true, it is time for him to leave.
Mr. Marrin added: “Someone once wrote that the ‘difference between a career and a vocation lies in the root of the word vocation, ‘voca’ or ‘voice.’ Your vocation should truly be your ‘inner voice.’ I suspect for me that voice lies is teaching or working in the nonprofit world or maybe both in some way.”
Now ready for new excitement, Neil Marrin has enjoyed his last almost-eight years in Great Neck, “Eight years that have provided wonderful challenges and opportunities.” But he will miss those who have worked closely with the park district over the years: “The best of those opportunities (at the park district) has been to work with a remarkably talented and dedicated park district staff, a group of elected officials, my commissioners (who possess tremendous vision and who care so deeply about their park district and their community), and residents whose high standards demand the very best from us ...”
And Mr. Marrin is justifiably proud of all that has been accomplished in the park district during his tenure, starting with the renovations and new building that has transformed the Parkwood Pool into the fabulous Parkwood Family Aquatics Center. And then there is “ … the renovation of Great Neck House, the restoration of the Village Green and the Jonathan Ielpi Firefighter’s Park, the opening of the very unique Children’s Play Garden, the construction of the district’s first dog park, the replacement of playgrounds throughout the district, the beautification of Steppingstone Park, the expansion of camps and recreation programs, and our latest effort, working to preserve the woods at Kings Point Park.”
And there is still more to come. In the time between now and when his tenure is up, Mr. Marrin has certain projects he would like to see to completion and he feels “a year would give me that opportunity.” He noted that the park district plans on finishing the renovations to the Andrew Stergiopoulos Rink at Parkwood, and that he would “love to see the start of construction of the new Veteran’s Memorial at the Village Green.” Additionally, for Mr. Marrin he hopes to “see the restoration of Kings Point Park brought to a better environmental balance” and he would like to be at his post to see the completion of the next planned phase of the PlayGarden. “Once all of this is complete it will be time to move on,” he said.
Moving on, he will miss “the partnerships, the friendships and the people,” particularly the park district’s “uniquely talented group of employees, the level of which is not always common in government …” Mr. Marrin credits his staff and the “extremely supportive park board” that “truly defines what good government should be” with enabling the park district to reach such heights, to maintain and develop such top-notch park facilities.
And he will miss “being in charge of a small government entity among other small government entities on this peninsula” that has allowed him to work with mayors, school superintendents, legislators and other elected and appointed officials who really care about doing ‘the right thing’ for their residents, putting aside the institutional egos that one often finds in bigger government, to make good things happen.”
In fact, for Neil Marrin “the toughest part about leaving here is leaving these people … but now it’s time to look for new challenges.”
And so as Neil Marrin prepares for his final year at the Great Neck Park District, the park commissioners begin the superintendent’s search. Mr. Lincoln said that they expect résumés from all over the country and that they expect to be conducting a lot of interviews.
“Neil worked well with the board,” Mr. Lincoln told the Record. “We have a philosophy, we are responsive to the community, we respect our residents … and Neil worked that way too.”
Mr. Lincoln also noted that Mr. Marrin worked well with the park board concept of using in-house staff to do more and more work in the district. “We have a lot of talent and we have used them … Neil bought in to this,” Mr. Lincoln said.
However, Mr. Lincoln said that he and his fellow commissioners, Ivar Segalowitz and Ruth Tamarin, “understand Neil’s personal goals … he is departing on good terms, with our regrets.”
Mr. Lincoln said that Neil Marrin and the board “came together as a team and good things happened.” The Great Neck Park District will now begin the long, arduous search for a new superintendent, a new team player.