National search begins for new Cape Girardeau parks director

Wednesday, March 2, 2011
Daniel Muser, Director of Parks and Recreation for the City of Cape Girardeau, is retiring after a 25-year career with the Parks and Recreation Department. (Kristin Eberts)

Dan Muser thinks his successor should be a lot of things -- thick-skinned, a long-range thinker and a multitasker, just to name a few.

What the current head of the Cape Girardeau Parks and Recreation department does not think the next one should be, however, is a micromanager.

"Whoever takes over will be lucky enough to have a staff of people who are very good at their jobs," Muser said Tuesday. "They don't need a lot of watching over. He's not going to have to come in and rebuild the department."

On March 11, Muser will end his 25-year career with the city's parks department, the last 21 of which he spent as department head. City officials are about to launch a nationwide search for Muser's replacement.

Advertisements are scheduled to begin this week in national and state parks publications and other media announcing the opening, said assistant city manager Heather Brooks. She hopes Muser's replacement will be in place by June.

The job announcement says the position requires "superior leadership and team management qualities, progressive management experience and a thorough understanding of principles and objectives of parks and recreation programs."

The job will pay somewhere in the mid- to upper $60,000 range, Brooks said, slightly less than Muser's $75,000-a-year salary.

The new department head will oversee 50 full-time and 200 part-time personnel, a $5.1 million operational budget and 23 parks, three community centers, a swimming pool, the water park, two sports complexes, a golf course, three cemeteries and 11 miles of hiking and biking trails.

The minimum qualifications include a bachelor's degree with coursework in parks and recreation management and five years of experience in the parks-related field. City manager Scott Meyer will select the new parks director from the applicants, which is open to internal candidates as well, Brooks said.

Brooks said Muser has set the bar high for his replacement. She also echoed his sentiments about the parks department employees.

"Dan has pulled together an amazing staff," Brooks said. "They are highly capable and highly motivated. We would want somebody to come in here to continue that success of hiring the best and motivating them and letting them do a really great job."

Parks advisory board chairman Danny Essner said he has a wish list a mile long. But Essner said some of the most important qualities a new parks department director should have is to be a strong leader and a team builder.

"The department has a strong sense of teamwork and passion for what they do," Essner said. "They don't get paid a lot of money, and they do it because they love their jobs."

As far as advice, Muser said he would suggest the new director work to maintain the projects that have been built recently, including many multi-million projects like the Osage Centre, the Shawnee Sports Complex, the Cape LaCroix Recreational Trail, the Cape Splash Family Aquatic Center and the new Shawnee Park Community Center, which is slated to open later this month.

"They're going to have to take care of this stuff," Muser said. "Maintenance will be key. Getting stuff built is nice, but it has to be taken care of."


Pertinent address:

410 Kiwanis Drive, Cape Girardeau, MO

Map of pertinent addresses

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