Paranick honored for his work as RSRPD District Director

Dan Paranick

When Dan Paranick became District Manager for the Rancho Simi Recreation and Park District in the summer of 2018, dealing with two major fires and a global health pandemic was the furthest thing on his mind.

But just months after starting his new job, the challenges began to mount for the 49-year-old. First there was the Woolsey Fire in November 2018, followed by the Easy Fire in October 2019 and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic that erupted last spring.

Paranick’s ability to guide the RSRPD through these events has not gone unnoticed by the Ventura County Association of Special Districts, who named him Manager of the Year.

The VCSDA was formed in 1974 to promote the efficient, economical and responsive way in which public services are provided by the more than 30 independent special districts of Ventura County.

Paranick learned he was this year’s winner during a virtual event hosted via Zoom on February 2.

“I was honored and quite surprised,” Paranick said. “It was nice to receive the award and it really reflects the district as a whole, the leadership of the board and our staff.

Brian Dennert, chairman of the RSRPD board, said Paranick won the award by bringing people together and building consensus on the district’s goals.

“He worked on difficult issues with a focus on the needs of our community,” said Dennert.

Paranick served as Ventura’s Interim City Manager when he was hired in August 2018 to replace RSRPD District Manager Larry Peterson, who had held the position since 2003. He earns an annual salary of $ 214,000 plus health benefits.

As District Manager, Paranick is in charge of the day-to-day operations of the Park District, which includes Simi and Oak Park. He supervises 87 full-time employees, 520 part-time employees and 600 volunteers.

Rancho Simi’s assets include 51 parks, two traditional golf courses, three disc golf courses, two equestrian centers, two dog parks, two historic parks, 80 miles of groomed trails and a community pool. When programs are in full swing and not constrained by the pandemic, there are 11 before and after school clubs, dozens of community events and more than 3,300 classes and activities.

During his tenure, Paranick oversaw RSRPD’s move to its new headquarters, secured a grant for the next phase of the Arroyo Greenway beautification project, and led recovery efforts from the Woolsey and Easy fires. He also worked with the staff to complete the long awaited Berylwood Skate Plaza.

“We are really lucky as a community to have safe parks and the quality of the parks we have,” said Paranick, who lives in Simi with his wife, Samantha, and their two teenage daughters.

“I am very proud to live in a community that values ​​the recreation and the open space we have. To be a part of it and to work to maintain it is a real honor for me. “

Paranick’s career in parks and recreation dates back to the early 1990s, when he was the recreation manager for the City of Beverly Hills, running adult sports programs and operating a weekend park community center all weekend long. by earning his bachelor’s degree in political science from UCLA. After that he moved to Arizona and worked in county government in finance and management.

He moved to Simi in 2001 and served as Assistant General Manager, Deputy General Manager and Deputy General Manager until 2011. From 2011 to 2014, he was Deputy General Manager at Camarillo. He left this post to become Deputy Director of the City of Ventura and was appointed Interim City Manager in 2017.

RSRPD Director Elaine Freeman said the Manager of the Year award is a well-deserved honor for Paranick, especially given the challenges he has faced as a result of the fires and the pandemic.

“Dan has been very responsive in all of the areas we cover and he has worked well with the staff,” said Freeman, former president of VCSDA.

She said it was nice to see her family join the Zoom appeal in congratulating him.

“It was the first time I saw this,” she said.

Looking ahead, Paranick said he looks forward to continuing Phase 4 of the Arroyo Greenway, which includes improving the cycle and pedestrian paths that run from one end of the city to the other.

This phase of the project will cost around $ 1.2 million and some details need to be worked out this year before construction can begin. Paranick said this part of the project includes the paths east and west of Tapo Canyon Road.

Improvements are also planned for the activity center to accommodate gymnastics and indoor soccer, as well as an expansion of the amenities offered at the Rancho Santa Susana community park.

The district is still considering building a new motocross track on vacant city-owned property on the western outskirts of the city, Paranick said. The BMX track, which was slated to lead the way in 2019, is still on the district’s list of capital improvement projects, he said, but it is currently on hold as other projects have taken hold.

Daniel E. Murphy