City close on Parks and Rec director hire

By Kevin Wilson: CNJ staff writer

The city of Clovis is closing in on a new director for its Parks and Recreation Department.

City Manager Joe Thomas said an announcement is expected before the end of the week on the replacement for Rob Carter.

He said the city has decided from a field of six finalists, but is waiting for that candidate to notify his employer and officially accept the offer.

Two of the finalists are local — Parks Superintendent Neil Lambert and Bovina Schools Superintendent Bill Bizzell.

The others are Edward Melendez of Kewanee, Ill., Rudy Baranko of Prescott Valley, Ariz., Andy Cedillo of San Angelo, Texas, and Greg Reynolds of Lantana, Texas

“We are looking for someone who is hopefully going to be able to move the department more into the recreation areas,” Thomas said, “somebody who has a good solid background in youth activities.”

Thomas said in the past, the position has been one of facilities maintenance.

When contacted at his office, Bizzell declined comment on a position offer, but said physical education is a passion of his, being a former coach.

“I think that’s a very important thing today,” said Bizzell, an assistant principal at Clovis High from 1989 to 1997. “The wellness and the health of our community that the city offers is a vital part of the community — not only to keep them active, but to keep them from things like crime.”

A call placed to Lambert was not immediately returned.

The annual salary range for the position goes from $43,784 to about $70,000, Thomas said.

Carter, who left for a national parks position in West Virginia, was being paid $68,685.