New Jersey man tapped to oversee Kitsap parks

Jim Dunwiddie, who will begin as Kitsap County Parks and Recreation director in November. - Charlie Bermant
Jim Dunwiddie, who will begin as Kitsap County Parks and Recreation director in November.
— image credit: Charlie Bermant

Kitsap County has a new head of its Parks and Recreation department, as New Jersey parks executive James R. Dunwiddie was tapped on Wednesday to replace Chip Faver, who resigned in June.

Dunwiddie, 54, who was introduced to staff on Wednesday morning, will begin work on Nov. 9.

He will receive a $101,000 yearly salary.

In a press release, South Kitsap Commissioner Charlotte Garrido said Dunwiddie “brings a maturity and level of expertise that we are looking for. He has a proven track record developing and maintaining partnerships with community and user groups.”

He was one of three finalists, and the only one from out-of-state.

“This area has always appealed to me,” he said. “I had my choice of locations and was interested in working in this area.”

Dunwiddie, 54, said he retired from his post as assistant director of the Somerset County (N.J.) Park Commission at the end of 2008.

Since then, he applied for several positions around the country and was a finalist for the directorship of a park system in North Carolina.

He said one of his priorities — after learning his staff’s names — will be to develop relationships with community groups.

In New Jersey, Dunwiddie worked for a 10,000-acre park system, significantly larger than Kitsap’s estimated 6,000 acres.

He said the issues are the same in two places, though.

“We all want to get more land,” he said, “although it is considerably more expensive back there.”

Shrinking budgets also are a widespread concern for park systems. Like Faver, Dunwiddie said he will aggressively pursue grant funding.

“We need to supplement the budget any way we can,” he said.

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