The Annapolis City Council confirmed Roslyn Johnson as the city’s new recreation and parks director at Monday night’s council meeting.
She succeeds Archie Trader, who is stepping aside due to what the city calls “a re-alignment” after six years in the top job and 16 years with the department. In a January news release, Mayor Gavin Buckley said the switch would “move the department in a new direction.”
Johnson’s appointment was approved by a 6-1 vote. Ward 5 Alderwoman Rhonda Pindell Charles, a staunch supporter of Trader, said before roll call that her “no” vote was“about the process, not personal.”
Buckley did not attend Monday night’s meeting because he and his wife were hosting Gov. Wes Moore and his wife, Dawn, for dinner. Ward 6 Alderman DaJuan Gay was absent. The mayor and all eight council members are Democrats.
Although Buckley has conducted searches for some at-will mayoral appointments, he opted to replace Trader without publicly seeking a new recreation and parks director, as allowed by the city’s human resources regulations. Johnson comes to Annapolis after nearly three years running recreation and parks in Baltimore County, where she was one of five department heads who left after County Executive Johnny Olszewki Jr. completed his first term in office. Her time in Baltimore County overlapped with Annapolis City Manager Michael Mallinoff, who previously served as the county’s director of permits, approvals and inspections.
She has held a series of high-level positions at several large mid-Atlantic parks and recreation departments. In the District of Columbia, she was fired after facing allegations of inflating her resume. A subsequent inspector general’s report found her resume could not be completely verified. That 2007 report also determinedshe and four other department leaders had been hired improperly when Kimberley Flowers moved from the top job in Baltimore to the top job in Washington.
In an interview last month, Johnson denied the charges that she inflated her resume and said she “didn’t do anything improper” in D.C.
In Annapolis, Johnson will receive a salary of $180,429 and lead a $5 million portfolio of parks and programs. Her tasks will include bringing online the city park at the historically Black Carr’s/Elktonia beach, overseeing a series of bike trails in various stages of development and navigating a crowded schedule at the recently renovated Truxtun Park pool.
In a brief address, Johnson thanked the council for the opportunity and said she looked forward to working with “the amazing staff” in the department.
- Paul Bollinger, executive director of the Chesapeake Region Accessible Boating (CRAB), complained to the council that city inspectors are holding up progress on the nonprofit’s new facility that is scheduled to open this spring at Bemby Beach. Although the building will be used for offices and its piers are designed to help people with disabilities board boats, city inspectors are holding contractors to the same codes as commercial construction, Bollinger said, such as requiring electrical outlets on the ceiling. He’s also waiting on the fire marshal and other inspectors to schedule visits. Ward 1 Alderwoman Elly Tierney, who chaired the meeting, encouraged Bollinger to seek answers from city staff rather than council, and ruled that further public discussion on the matter was out of order.
- Also during the public comment period, two representatives for The Willows, a proposed income-restricted housing community, pressed the council for answers as to why their project failed to make the March planning commission agenda. The project’s approval has been held up following a judge’s ruling on police staffing issues.
- Paula Hendry, area director for singer Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, accepted an “Annapolis Reads” proclamation plaque designating March as literacy month in Annapolis. Hendry encouraged residents in the 21401 or 21403 zip codes to register their children online so they can receive a free children’s book from the acclaimed singer and philanthropist.