North Hempstead Town hired a new leader for its parks department Wednesday, selecting someone from the same agency where the previous parks commissioner worked.
Arnyce Foster-Hernandez, 44, of Harlem spent the past 30 years at the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation, 25 of those as a manager. She started at age 15 as a journalism intern then became a manager at 18. She begins her North Hempstead post Oct. 7 with a $132,000 salary.
Foster-Hernandez called herself a policy-driven and personable leader and said she is eager to get to know the parks staff better. She said she's anxious to do an assessment of the conditions of all town parks.
"I'm a cosmetics person," Foster-Hernandez said. "Let's just see how we can pretty things up and green up as much [space] as I can."
Foster-Hernandez takes over one of the town's largest departments. North Hempstead operates 52 parks and the parks department has a $17 million budget that helps manage 80 full-time staff and more than 300 part-time, seasonal employees, such as lifeguards, for the swimming pools.
Foster-Hernandez said her overall goal is to give residents a "happy, healthy, fun experience in the parks."
Supervisor Judi Bosworth called Foster-Hernandez's stint in New York City impressive and said town officials are looking forward to new ideas she will bring to the job.
"Arnyce has a long history with the New York City parks department, starting when she was a teenager," Bosworth said Wednesday. "She has extensive professional experience in developing and maintaining a high standard of park programming and special events for the city's park patrons, [and] she has led successful fundraising initiatives that ensured the longevity of programming and membership at New York City parks."
Foster-Hernandez replaces Jill Weber, who held the post for more than four years.
Weber, 59, of Oceanside, retired June 28. She joined North Hempstead in January 2015 after spending more than 35 years in the New York City parks department. Her annual salary was $131,057.
With the hiring of Foster-Hernandez, the town has one more commissioner-level position to fill — highway superintendent.