Michael Riley, now the deputy director for Administration, will take over the top job after the June retirement of Mary Bradford. The department has more than 700 employees, a budget of $100 million and is responsible for more than 35,000 acres of parkland with 420 parks in Montgomery County.
It is part of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC) and the Montgomery County Planning Board announced Riley’s promotion on Tuesday.
“Mike has dedicated so much of his career to the parks department. His service coupled with his experience and skills are a perfect combination for the director position,” Planning Board Chair Francoise Carrier said in a statement. “In addition to his background as a leader, Mike has a true passion for the parks in Montgomery County and how much they contribute to the quality of life of the residents of this area.”
Riley began in the department in 1985 as a staff engineer before working his way up. The Kensington resident led Parks’ strategic plan and oversaw partnerships at the Maryland SoccerPlex in Germantown and a zipline course in Rockville’s Rock Creek Regional Park.
He was also involved with the reforming of the Montgomery Parks Foundation in early 2009. The Foundation quickly became a necessary fundraising arm for the Department, which suffered large budget cuts during the Great Recession.
Riley will begin as director on July 21.
One of his primary challenges will be leading the department’s mission to find and create new park space inside the Capital Beltway. A 2012 Parks plan identified downcounty areas such as Bethesda and Silver Spring as consistently showing field shortages. The plan also said the county needs to focus on providing more of the types of facilities that urban residents want, such as dog parks, community gardens, flexible grassy open spaces and urban wooded areas.
Photo via Montgomery Parks