LaPine State Park

Job Opportunity: New York Commissioner of Park, Recreation and Historic Preservation.

Feb 16, 2024

Vacancy Annoucement for the Commissioner of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, State of New York

About the job

The Commissioner of Parks, Recreation & Historic Preservation (the “commissioner”) leads the most venerable and one of the largest and most visited park and historic site systems in America. The purview of the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (the “agency”) is extraordinarily broad, encompassing world-class parks from Niagara Falls to Jones Beach to Montauk Point, and historic sites from Washington’s Headquarters to Frederic Church’s Olana to Ganondagan, devoted to the culture and history of the Haudenosaunee people. Landscapes range from the sublime gorges of the Finger Lakes region to a former quarry and trans-Hudson railroad bridge in the Hudson Valley to the greatest beaches on the East Coast. Reflecting the system’s stature, the commissioner is one of a handful of, if not the only, cabinet-level park leaders in the country.

As the New York system of parks and historic sites enters its second century, the leadership opportunities are exhilarating:

  • Celebrate and promote the Centennial of the State Council of Parks and the establishment of the system that New Yorkers cherish today;
  • Ensure the system reflects and welcomes the broadest cross-section of New Yorkers through the agency team that is recruited, and the external narratives highlighted across this historic system;
  • Safeguard access to the more than 360,000 acres of state public parkland;
  • Spearhead and manage public-private partnerships with for-profit and not-for-profit partners across the state;
  • In the face of climate change, build resilience and adaptation in vulnerable parks and sites;
  • Carry out the mandate to convert the agency to all-renewable electricity by 2030 and reduce waste; and
  • Work with communities across the state to amplify the importance of parks and sites as economic drivers.

As head of a New York State Executive Agency, the commissioner is responsible for leading and managing the agency’s multi-disciplinary team, overseeing and supporting operations and building and maintaining capital facilities at 250 State Parks and Historic Sites and other recreational facilities visited by more than 80 million patrons per year. More than 360,000 acres of land and more than 320 linear miles of shoreline are under the jurisdiction or operational control of the agency. The commissioner must possess the vision and skill set to ensure the agency remains a fiscally and environmentally responsible steward of these extraordinary historic, cultural and recreational resources. Primary responsibilities of the commissioner include:

  • Serving as the Chief Executive Officer of the agency and representing the agency in public forums.
  • Serving as a member of the Governor’s Cabinet to advance policy and programmatic goals.
  • Developing and implementing statewide policies and initiatives that support the agency’s mission to provide for the public enjoyment of the state’s natural and historic resources.
  • Developing, promoting and implementing an annual and multi-year operations and capital fiscal plan.
  • Overseeing administration of the agency’s capital program and ensure fiscally responsible spending of budgeted funds.
  • Working cooperatively with partners in state and municipal government who provide shared services in the operation or development of recreational resources.
  • Maintaining and cultivating relationships with stakeholders and leadership throughout the State including the Governor's Office, Legislature, other State departments and agencies, as well as groups and organizations concerned with parks and recreation, particularly the advisory State Council of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, the Natural Heritage Trust, and the State Board for Historic Preservation.
  • Serving on the State Council of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, the Natural Heritage Trust, the Hudson River Park Trust and the State Board for Historic Preservation.
  • Serving as the State Historic Preservation Officer for purposes of the national Historic Preservation Act.
  • Overseeing the New York State Park Police to ensure police services are consistent with State Parks' mission: to provide safe and enjoyable recreational opportunities.
  • Serving as the State Liaison for the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund administered by the National Park Service.

Preferred Skills:

  • Leadership in major policy development and demonstrated success in policy implementation.
  • Outstanding communication skills with strong evidence of success in advocacy for programs and needed resources.
  • Commitment to ensuring a diverse workforce and inclusive programs.
  • Experience with building and maintaining relationships with stakeholder groups.
  • Familiarity with New York State government, state finance, and implementing a capital budget.

Minimum Qualifications

  • Ten to fifteen years of senior-level management and leadership experience in federal, state or local government, the private sector, or the non-profit sector, with a career emphasis on public recreation, environmental issues, or related areas.
  • Experience managing high-level staff with diverse workloads and responsibilities.
  • High level of discretion, adherence to code of ethics with respect to administration of public funds and high level of professionalism.
  • New York State resident or willingness to relocate upon selection.
  • Bachelor’s degree required, with an advanced degree preferred.

Pay range in Albany, NY

Exact compensation may vary based on skills, experience, and location.

Base salary


Additional Comments

Extensive travel is required. The commissioner is appointed by the Governor with the advice and consent of the Senate and serves at the pleasure of the Governor.