New Columbus Parks & Rec director hired -, GA News Weather & Sports

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New Columbus Parks & Rec director hired

By Lindsey Connell - bio | email

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) -  Dr. James Worsley is only 33-years-old but he already has his doctorate in leadership studies and is currently the Regional Manager for the Parks and Recreation Department in Charlotte, North Carolina.

After emerging from an applicant pool of hundreds from across the country, he nabbed the job as the new director of the Columbus Parks and Recreation Department.

"I know there's been some dark days here at Columbus Parks and Recreation Department. I'm looking forward to the opportunity to start a new chapter with the city of Columbus," Worsley said to the Columbus mayor and city council members when he was officially appointed to the high-ranking position Tuesday morning.

Columbus City Manager Isaiah Hugley says Worsley's education and leadership experience is what made him stand out from the other 300 people who applied for the job.

Worsley has served on the National Recreation and Park Association, a board that certifies Parks and Recreation departments across the board. Columbus' department is not currently certified and Hugley says this role, along with Worsley's other certifications help land him the role.

"What he's doing now- managing 54 parks and properties, 2401 acres and he's done everything across the spectrum of what we hope to do here in Columbus Parks and Recreation," the city manager added.

Worsley is coming into the position after the former director of the department and a program specialist admitted to setting up a secret bank account and using the money for their travel basketball team. They were sentenced to probation and have to pay back thousands of dollars to the city.

"Yes, I did understand that I was coming into a situation that was not necessarily as pleasant but that's something I look forward to. I like challenges. I like new ideas. I like to be able to take those challenges and work them out so they may come to be goals that everyone can be proud of in the end," Worsley added.

"He's no doubt going to take us to the level that we need to get to, not just here in the state of Georgia but nationally. He's the right candidate at the right time for this position," Hugley said.

Doctor Worsley starts June 20th.

He says before anything, he wants to assess things and get to know the people and understand the department he's going to be overseeing before making any changes.

His family, including his wife and three children, will be relocating to Columbus from North Carolina over the next few weeks.

[Read: City nominates James Worsley for Parks and Rec position]

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