Council picks new parks chief

The City Council on Tuesday voted unanimously to appoint Jess Duran as director of the Glendale Community Services & Parks Department.

Duran had been filling the role in an acting capacity since January, when former director George Chapjian left Glendale to head Long Beach’s Parks, Recreation and Marine Department.

Duran has spent 33 years working for the city, where he rose up through the rank of the city’s Community Development & Housing Department, which was eliminated last year during a reorganization of several key city departments. Before its reorganization, Duran served as acting director of that department upon the retirement of former director Madalyn Blake.

“Jess brings a tremendous set of talents and skills with him,” said City Manager Jim Starbird. “He is tremendously knowledgeable of the community, knowledgeable of the organization.”

As director of the department, Duran will oversee maintenance and development of city parks and recreational programs, an array of social services for youth, seniors and low-income residents, as well as the annual allocation of federal block grant funding.

Council members on Tuesday said Duran was the right choice to lead the department, which Mayor Ara Najarian said “plays a critical role in maintaining quality of life” in Glendale.

Duran holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from UCLA and a master of science in public administration from Cal State L.A.

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