Everything fell into place for Dickie Brown to step down as the director of Arnold’s Parks and Recreation Department.
Brown, 64, of House Springs will relocate to Stillwater, Okla., with his wife, Gail, so the couple can live next to the youngest of their three children.
Brown, who also has six grandchildren, said he didn’t expect to move so soon, but after his son, David Allen Brown, located land just north of the college town that is home to Oklahoma State University, it became too good a deal to pass up.
“Initially we thought we would buy the property and I would continue working,” said Brown, who will retire from his job at Arnold on April 16. “But with the housing market so strong, my wife and I thought we would test the market and put our house and acreage on the market. It sold in eight days.
“I love working for the city of Arnold. It is a great job with a great staff. It is one of the best managed communities that I have been associated with. But, it just seems like the timing is right.”
Brown took over Arnold’s Parks and Recreation Department in April 2017 after serving as the city administrator for Pevely from 2014 to 2017. Arnold is paying him a salary of $91,686.
He had worked in the National Parks Service for 30 years before his time in municipal and state government positions.
“I have had a really pleasant second career in municipal government, and I’m honored to finish it at Arnold,” he said.
Mayor Ron Counts said Brown will be missed.
“Dickie has done a fantastic job. He has really worked hard and is very passionate about his job. He brought a lot of new and refreshing ideas to the Parks and Recreation Department,” Counts said. “I wish him the best with his retirement.”
City Administrator Bryan Richison said one of Brown’s first suggestions was creating the Parks and Recreation’s deputy director position to oversee the day-to-day operation of the Arnold Recreation Center.
The city promoted Dave Crutchley to the job. He had worked for the department since 1994 and was the parks superintendent at the time of the promotion.
Parks and Recreation supervisor Teresa Kohut, who has worked for the department for 15 years, said Brown has done a lot for the city. She said some highlights include helping secure an AARP grant to install fitness equipment at Pomme Creek Park, which used to be the city-owned golf course.
In addition, the Ozark Dog Park was completed and a new Parks and Recreation building was constructed at Public Works complex off Arnold Tenbrook Road during Brown’s tenure.
Kohut also said Brown has a management style that allows all employees to have a voice in the direction of the department.
Richison said Brown always made sure to be where the most attention was needed, moving into different offices to oversee projects.
Brown said he moved around from office to office in the rec center, had an office at the former golf course clubhouse and currently is in an office in the new building at the Public Works site.
“If there was something he wanted to give a lot of attention to he wanted to be there physically,” Richison said. “I think that really helped him.”
Richison said he began advertising to find a replacement for Brown the week of March 22 and will allow three weeks for people to apply. Then he will select several candidates to interview, and after those interviews, he will narrow the list to three to four candidates. Richison said he then will be part of a committee that also includes Counts and City Council members who will select a finalist for the council as a whole to approve.
Richison said he does not feel the need to appoint an interim director since Crutchley and Parks Superintendent Ray Dornseif can lead the department while the director’s position is vacant.
“They will keep everything running,” he said.