Infinite Monkey Theorem Urban Winery
"..."Sara Hensley is a rock star!"..."
"...On April 24, Parks and Recreation Department Director Sara Hensley issued a foreboding memorandum to Mayor Steve Adler and the City Council. Under the heading, "2015 Summer Aquatics Facility Operations and Future Sustainability," Hensley wrote that an internal review had concluded that the existing "business model" of the Aquatics Division is "inadequate." Despite past "creative" maneuvers, she wrote, "it is no longer feasible or appropriate to repeat past practices and as such, the Parks and Recreation Department will proceed with an alternative operation model starting Summer, 2015."..."
"...In that context, PARD's newly budgeted $7.9 million won't turn Austin into a lush, grassy meadow, but it will help alleviate some of the worst stresses upon our 260 parks and 203 miles of trailways. PARD Director Sara Hensley said the money – to be phased in over time – will allow PARD to hire 60 new full-time employees – 20 for city cemeteries; five for new area parks; and 35 for "general park enhancements, forestry, pool maintenance, and trail improvements." That should cut down the amount of outstanding work orders, help maintenance staffers respond to graffiti and vandalism within a 24-hour time frame, and knock that mowing cycle number down by 10%..."
"...By this point, Animal Services had been for a year without a permanent director to replace Hammond, had several other key leadership vacancies in its ranks, and was being overseen by an assistant city manager (Hensley) who was herself an interim. All this led to the group of volunteers feeling their issues were being unheard, and finally Valls-Trelles, a fierce advocate of spay/neuter programs as a solution to chronic shelter overcrowding, led a group of volunteers to the Council Audit and Finance Committee to try to get attention from the dais...."
"...The big news hitting City Council at Tuesday's work session was only indirectly related to the matter at hand, budget development. The evening before, City Manager Marc Ott had forwarded to Mayor Steve Adler and Council a letter from Parks and Recreation Director Sara Hensley, with the support of 22 other department heads, informing Ott that in the current budget process, city staff has come to feel "a serious lack of understanding" from Council, and "a diminished level of respect for the work we do." In his cover memo, Ott described city staff as "understandably" feeling they are "under attack," and added that in his tenure as city manager, "this level of response by employees is unprecedented."..."
"...The four-person team convened earlier this year as part of a citywide effort to crack down on graffiti, prompted by a resolution passed by City Council in 2016 directing interim Assistant City Manager (and former PARD director) Sara Hensley to conduct a review of the city's graffiti abatement efforts. What she found, according to a memo released last year, is that Austin "does not have a comprehensive plan to address graffiti, nor do we have a centralized unit to carry out such a plan." Hensley promised the city would "tackle the backlog collectively and then establish a systematic approach to address graffiti on City property." [inset-3-right]..."
"...Asked if the city will reconsider closing the Pease course, Parks and Recreation Department Director Sara Hensley said: "No, not really ... because I'm not going to shut it down until we have an alternative course..."
"...• NEW PARD DIRECTOR City Manager Marc Ott says he chose Sara Hensley to be Austin's new Parks & Recreation Department director because "she understands Austin's love of the outdoors, its stewardship of the environment, and the goal of Austin becoming the fittest city in the country." Currently the director of Parks and Recreation in Phoenix, Hensley starts her Austin job Dec. 1 with a $163,000 salary..."
"...That's how Sara Hensley, director of the city's Parks & Recreation Department, expressed her excitement this week about an opportunity for PARD to engage in a formal, facilitated process of "agency reinvention." At the Parks and Recreation Board meeting Tuesday night, board members heard from the executive director of GP RED (www.gpred.org) about its groundbreaking Method of Eight Planning Cycle – which Hensley believes can help fast-track positive change firmly grounded in today's community needs. The Colorado nonprofit has invited Austin to be one of three cities to serve as a "beta site" for its research, a five-year, eight-stage contemporary approach to organizational planning...."
"...A double-bill attraction of City Manager Marc Ott and new Parks & Recreation Department Director Sara Hensley brought a standing-room-only crowd to last week's Austin Neighborhoods Council meeting. Ott gave a sobering talk about the city of Austin's looming budget shortfall, emphasizing that the cuts now necessitated by shrinking municipal revenues aren't just about finding "fat" but rather will require cutting painfully into "muscle." He let city of Austin Chief Financial Officer Leslie Browder present the depressing details: "Impact of Recession on 2009 Budget." For 2008, the city made $8 million in spending cuts necessitated by lower sales-tax revenue; for 2009, a $25 million budget gap is projected, requiring more than $20 million in additional cuts..."
"...When asked by Mayor Lee Leffingwell at the council hearing why this might have been the case, PARD director Sara Hensley said, "I can't answer that question." A few days earlier, when local online tipsheet In Fact Daily asked Hensley the same question she offered a bit more detail. "This department has over 300 agreements..."
"...In spite of Pool's repeated calls for a rebooted graffiti abatement program, the ball didn't really start rolling until Sara Hensley was appointed as an interim assistant city manager after Sue Edwards retired back in March. Hensley, who had helped run a graffiti abatement program as the director of Parks, Recreation and Neighborhood Services for the City of San Jose (she directed Austin's PARD prior to succeeding Edwards), invited consultant and former colleague Rick Stanton to visit Austin at the end of July to educate staff on best practices..."
"...That number, as noted by a Jan. 16 memo from Parks and Recreation Director Sara Hensley, could overwhelm the (thus far unidentified) surplus supply of parking – especially likely in the 53 parks located in the urban core...."
"...New PARD Director Sara Hensley tempered the plan by allowing 60 to 90 days for public meetings and input, as well as consideration by a joint subcommittee of the Environmental and Parks boards and the Urban Forestry Board. Possibly by June, PARD will make a final determination as to which of the diseased, damaged, or "overmature" trees (mostly pecans, cottonwoods, and American elm) are so likely to topple that, in the interest of public safety, they must be removed and replaced with younger trees...."
"...Their development supports the city's policy of encouraging urban densification over suburban sprawl and can keep Austin neighborhoods livable as they add residents and buildings. PARD policy over the past 15 years has focused on suburban park acquisition; new Director Sara Hensley has a fresh outlook...."
"...Following his July restructuring of his executive team, Austin City Manager Spencer Cronk announced on Monday the finalists for two of his five new lieutenant positions. For both slots – the assistant city manager over Economic Opportunity and Affordability and the ACM over Health and Environment/Culture and Lifelong Learning – Cronk has, as he suggested he might, included the current occupants of those roles on his shortlist, but interim ACMs Joe Pantalion and Sara Hensley have some stiff competition..."
"...The five ACMs and their current thumbnail areas of responsibility are: Rey Arellano (public safety); Robert Goode (infrastructure services/transportation); Sara Hensley (parks/libraries/animal services/health); Joe Pantalion (development/aviation/planning/watershed); and Washington (human resources/fleet/communications). Pantalion and Hensley are both interim appointees and could presumably return to their original departmental assignments, but in any event Cronk's announcement reflects that what are now six managerial positions will become five (with one administrator responsible for two of the six "outcomes")...."
"...In a April 23 letter to Sexton, PARD Director Sara Hensley did apologize for the "unapproved and non-finalized draft of a final report" that the FFF had received, but said that given last year's difficult drought conditions and necessary repairs to the park, PARD could not return the deposit. She acknowledged "the valuable service [the foundation's] volunteer projects bring to Pease Park," but cited the event's contract with the city stating that any appeal of the decision would have to have been made within 10 days (i.e., in May 2011)..."
"...An alternative to canceling the Trail of Lights would be to find another entity to host it or to charge admission; PARD Director Sara Hensley said both approaches are common in other cities. "We love this event, and we know the public loves it," said Hensley..."
"..."When we brought all the different departments together, that was really our aha moment," says interim Assistant City Manager Sara Hensley, who oversees the newly coordinated city effort called for in the audit reports. "The most important part was us recognizing who was spending what and how much and when..."