Columbus Parks & Rec director resigning; leaves department as top agency in state

Columbus Parks and Rec director leaving, taking position in Virginia

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - The Director of Columbus' Parks and Recreation is stepping down less than five years after taking over the department.

Dr. James Worsley is leaving to take a higher paying position in Chesterfield County, VA.

From the moment he first stepped into office, Worsley had a goal to change the culture and vision of Columbus' Parks and Recreation Department.

He said he will now take his skills to a new job, and a new chapter in his life.

"We've accomplished the things we set out to accomplish," Worsley said. "There's always more to put on the to-do list. I feel confident whoever comes after me will be able to have another to-do list of accomplishments as well."

Back in 2011, the Parks and Rec director Tony Adams was removed from his position by the Columbus City Council.

Adams was charged with misappropriating more than $200,000.

Columbus Mayor Teresa Tomlinson said Worsley's leadership has helped put the city on the map.

"He came in and took us from worst to first," Tomlinson said. "We are now not only nationally accredited, but we are internationally accredited. We've been named the best Parks and Rec in the state and also in the nation."

Worsley said the decision to leave Columbus for a similar position wasn't easy, but he feels it's the best move for his family and his future.

"Anytime you make a decision that's going to uproot your family and you've created relationships over the course of five years as we have here in Columbus, Georgia ... certainly, it is a tough decision to make, but it is a necessary one," Worsley said.

Worsley's last day in office will be Thursday, July 21, at which point the Columbus City Council will immediately begin to look for qualified candidates to fill his position.

The city manager and a small committee will then create a list of top candidates they will recommend to the city council.

Ultimately, the city manager will pick the new Parks and Recreation director.

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