(April 30, 2014) – The Town of Ocean City is pleased to announce the promotion of Susan Petito to the position of Recreation and Parks Director. The position recently became vacant when 16-year veteran employee, Tom Shuster, retired on April 1. Following Shuster’s retirement, the town held a national search for candidates which resulted in dozens of qualified applicants.
Petito, who has worked for the Town of Ocean City’s Recreation and Parks Department since 1986, stood out amongst the nearly 100 candidates, according to City Manager David Recor. “Susan has been a dedicated employee for almost 30 years and offers direct experience with the department’s operations and facilities,” Recor stated. “On top of an enormous amount of experience, she is dynamic, versatile and has productive working relationships with other town departments and divisions.”
As Director for Recreation and Parks, Petito will manage Ocean City’s recreation programs, parks and facilities, as well as satellite facilities and Eagle’s Landing golf course. She will also oversee the development of four divisional budgets, totaling over one million dollars, as well as administer the collection of revenue and additional operations, including concessions, Ocean Bowl Skate Park and Ocean City Tennis Center.
Petito, a native of Baltimore County and a graduate of University of Delaware, brings a variety of experience, knowledge and certifications from other areas in the recreation and parks field. An active member of the National Recreation and Park Association as well as the Maryland Recreation and Parks Association, Petito is currently serving as vice president of the Parks and Recreation Maryland Municipal League Department. In addition, she has received numerous awards and honors in the field of recreation, including the Dorothy Mullins Arts and Humanities Award from the National Recreation and Park Association.
“I am thrilled to have the opportunity to lead the Recreation and Parks Department in Ocean City,” Petito said. “We have amazing facilities, an extraordinary staff and a variety of programs for residents and visitors to enjoy. I have always been proud to be an employee of this department and I can say I am even more thrilled to contribute to the growth and development of our recreation and parks as the director.”
The announcement of the new director isn’t the only exciting change for the department. In January 2014, the Special Events Division was moved from the Recreation and Parks Department and was realigned with the Convention Center and Tourism Department to create a synergy amongst the tourism related branches within the town. With more annual events and a brand new Performing Arts Center, the Special Events Department now works collectively with its tourism counterparts to enrich the events and performances throughout the town.
“We routinely review the organizational structure and responsibilities of departments in an effort to improve productivity and efficiency,” Recor explained. “The retirement of the former director presented an opportunity to realign organizational resources and enhance service level delivery.”
In addition, effective May 1, the town’s Beach Patrol Division will become part of the Emergency Services Department. “The mission of the Beach Patrol remains unchanged,” Recor continued. “They will continue to act as our primary ambassadors in the summer months but will now have the ability to collaborate and coordinate their efforts with the town’s other public safety professionals, as well as utilize additional public safety resources.”
With a new Director of Recreation and Parks and the organizational restructure complete, the Town of Ocean City is enthusiastic for the change. “Ocean City has grown enormously and continues to grow each year,” Recor commented. “Not only are we hosting more special and private events, but we are drawing more and more visitors to our beach. Special Events and Beach Patrol are two of our most visible and recognizable divisions and I am confident that these organizational realignments will result in collaborative working relationships and effective service delivery.”