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Arlene Salazar has been named director of the city’s Parks & Recreation Department, where she will oversee daily operations and manage a staff of over 230 employees.
The promotion is effective Jan. 22.
Salazar had served as interim director since Thad Phillips retired from the position more than a year ago.
First hired as a social services manager in 2007, Salazar oversees the Rio Hondo Golf Club, the Downey Theatre, local parks, sport field rentals, the Barbara J. Riley Community and Senior Center, Downey Cemetery, the McCaughan Gym at Apollo Park, transit operations, aquatics, summer concerts in the park and the city’s community-wide events.
She was previously employed by Norwalk for 12 years and Chino for seven years.
She attended Cerritos College and Cal State Los Angeles, and holds a bachelor’s degree in organizational leadership and a master’s in business administration from Azusa Pacific University.
Married with two sons, she is a first generation Nicaraguan and Mexican American.
“Our city is fortunate to have Mrs. Salazar leading one of the city’s most important departments, overseeing numerous divisions,” city manager Gilbert Livas said. “She is passionate about improving the overall quality of life for our community and her commitment is reflected in her many years of dedicated service.”
Mayor Mario Guerra also complimented Salazar and said he is “excited for the future” of the Parks & Recreation Department.
“Her experience, knowledge and dedication to the field is quite remarkable and we are confident that with her talent she will accomplish wonderful things for Parks and Recreation,” he said.
Salazar is currently overseeing the city’s first parks and recreation master plan, in collaboration with Cal Poly Pomona.