Three Evanston city employees were named Tuesday to top positions in the city’s Parks and Recreation Department by interim City Manager Kelley Gandurski. 

Interim Parks and Recreation Director Audrey Thompson will lead the department on a permanent basis.

Public Works Forestry Supervisor/Arborist Michael Callahan will join the department as assistant director.

Tim Carter, program coordinator at the Levy Senior Center, has been promoted to serve as lakefront manager.

Thompson and Carter’s appointments are effective immediately, while Callahan will officially begin his new position April 25.

“Audrey, Michael and Tim each bring more than a decade of experience to these critical leadership roles and embody the character, values and commitment to public service necessary to serve our community,” said Gandurski.

“As we approach a busy summer season, I look forward to working with each of them to provide residents and visitors with world class recreation opportunities while continuing to implement the changes needed to ensure a positive workplace culture of safety, accountability and respect.”

The Parks and Recreation Department has been rocked by reports of sexual harassment of employees at the lakefront. Former Parks Director Lawrence Hemingway resigned just before a report of an independent investigation into the problems was released in February.

Prior to serving as interim Parks and Recreation director, Thompson oversaw the city’s Community Services Division, where she led Youth amd Young Adult and Senior Services programs.

Callahan will serve as the number two official overseeing department services, programs, facilities and staff. He will initially focus on managing and maintaining outdoor infrastructure and green spaces at the City’s parks, beaches and lakefront.  

Carter will oversee operations, programming and staff at the City’s five public swimming beaches and boat launch facilities.

Carter has more than a decade of experience in recreation and facilities management, and has served since 2018 as recreation program coordinator at the Levy Senior Center.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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