Meet A New Yorker for Parks: Audrey Williams, NYC DPR

June 21, 2016

In just a little over two years Audrey Williams has gone from having a temporary position in the Parks Department to becoming a full-time, permanent member of the Brooklyn Borough crew, with another promotion in the works. Having recently received her commercial driving license, she has her sights set on driving the “packers” – sanitation trucks in park’s lingo – a position that offers more responsibility and more compensation.

Ms. Williams started out as a Job Training Participant in November of 2014. Her supervisor saw her dedication and hired her as a gardener in Community Parks Initiative areas. She loved gardening, but the position wasn’t permanent. Every year the staff wonders if the funding will be renewed, or if this is their last year with a job in the department. So when a permanent position opened up, “I jumped on it,” she explains. “The pay is actually less, but being in a temporary position is very stressful. I wanted something I could grow with.”

Now a City Parks Worker responsible for rodent abatement in parks throughout Brooklyn, Ms. Williams drives her Parks Department van to a different site every day. “It’s not the most glamorous job in the world,” she says, “but it’s important. We can’t enjoy our parks if we don’t have someone doing this kind of work. Most people don’t realize how much work goes into taking care of them.”

A native of Brownsville, Audrey has gotten to know Brooklyn better than ever, and sees how much potential there is to improve open space in the city. In her position she talks to people all over the borough who tell her about what’s going well in their green spaces, and what isn’t. She knows the importance of her work, and knows that there is much more that could be done.

“There’s always work to do,” she says. “There’s never a slow day. We’d like to do more, but we have to make do with what we have. It’s ok. But it could be better.

“For us it’s a job, but it’s also important to the health of the city. Look at the trees and flowers. Somebody’s doing all of this work. I know Brownsville looks nicer. And you want to see green, you want to see flowers.”

We can't have quality parks without the hard work and dedication of staff like Ms. Williams. That's why much of our budget advocacy focuses on the protection and creation of permanent jobs within the Parks Department. These jobs support our parks, and support working families - a win-win. Join us in strengthening parks and our workforce by becoming a donor today.