NEWPORT — One of four candidates vying to be the city’s parks and recreation director, Mike Cavanaugh, was offered and has accepted the position. Subject to completion of background checks, it is anticipated that Cavanaugh will start his new duties around Feb. 18, announced City Manager Spencer Nebel.
Cavanaugh, who has been the sports program supervisor at the Newport Recreation Center for the last six years, had the home team advantage.
Newport Mayor Dean Sawyer, who, along with city council members, city employees and residents, met with the finalists at a reception earlier this month, said of Cavanaugh, “I was very impressed with his broad knowledge of the rec center. He has a good vision for the direction of the department.”
The national search brought three other qualified candidates to Newport to vie for the opportunity to lead Newport’s Parks and Recreation Department. Cavanaugh and the other three finalists went through an intensive interview process together.
Cavanaugh expressed his admiration of his competition for the job. “I told every one of them that I would be happy to work under them if they were chosen,” he said.
“Don’t get me wrong, I wanted the job,” Cavanaugh added, but he also recognized the qualifications of his competition.
Cavanaugh, having lived in the community for the last six years, had the advantage of knowledge of the department and connections made in the community.
Sawyer said, “I think he’s a great pick for the job, with a good vision for the department.”
During a break from a grant-writing workshop, Cavanaugh said, “With the promotion, I’m most excited about continuing the growth of the parks and recreation department, and the benefit of that to the community.”