WELLSBORO — Brian D. Kennedy will replace Pete Herres as the director of the Wellsboro Parks and Recreation Department when Herres retires Dec. 21.
The Wellsboro borough council approved Kennedy’s hire at the Oct. 11 meeting at a starting salary of $50,000. Effective Nov. 1, Kennedy will move from his current position as transportation and purchasing coordinator at Wellsboro Area School District to the borough building on Crafton Street.
Herres, who has headed the recreation department for 39 years, announced his retirement in June. The school district and Wellsboro borough have an agreement to share costs and provide space for the parks and recreation department.
There were four applicants for the position, said Wellsboro Borough Manager Scot Boyce Jr.
Kennedy is familiar with the program, having shared office space with Herres and also working on some programs with him, such as Steps to Healthier PA and Step Outdoors: Where Health Meets Adventure.
“When his secretary moved to high school, I had a chance to help him out. It kind of all came together,” Kennedy said.
He acknowledges there’s a lot to learn and plans to make the most of Herres remaining two months on the job.
“My goal right now is I have a chance to capitalize on Pete’s years of experience,” Kennedy said. “I will be shadowing him for a couple months. I will be a sponge absorbing his knowledge and experience.”
Kennedy said the community can take pride in the parks and recreation program.
“They rival those offered in many larger communities,” he said. “Wellsboro has a pretty unique situation here that Pete has developed over the last 39 years. He has set it up pretty nicely.”
Once Herres leaves, Kennedy said he can look to the volunteer coaches for support and experience.
“I had a chance to interact with a number of volunteer coaches,” Kennedy said. “They may have gotten involved early on with their own children, but they have continued on after their children became older because of their love for it.
“With commitment of volunteer coaches, parents, and system Pete has set up, it’s pretty self-sustaining and rivals other programs at other communities have that may have larger budgets,” he concluded.
A resident of Wellsboro for more than 20 years, Kennedy began his career managing grants for the Tioga County Partnership for Community Health. He currently serves on the Shade Tree Commission.
Kennedy and his wife, Elaine, have three children.