Mayor Adams Appoints Parks Leadership

Mayor Adams with incoming Parks Commissioner Sue Donoghue and Incoming First Deputy Commissioner Iris Rodriguez-Rosa. Image Credit: Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office.

On February 4, 2022, Mayor Eric Adams announced his appointments to lead the Department of Parks and Recreation. The appointments are Susan M. Donoghue as Commissioner of the Parks Department, and Iris Rodriguez-Rosa as First Deputy Commissioner. The appointments are the latest in Mayor Adams’ new administration. 

Susan Donoghue 

Sue Donoghue earned her Master’s in Public Administration from NYU’s Robert F. Wagner School of Public Service. She previously served as a Senior Advisor and Assistant Commissioner at the Parks Department. 

Most recently, Donoghue served as the President of the Prospect Park Alliance, the non-profit organization that operates Prospect Park. Dually appointed to the role by the Parks Department and the Prospect Park Alliance, as President Donoghue was responsible for overseeing the strategy for operations, management, design and construction, public programs, visitor and volunteer services and other functions of Prospect Park. During her time as President, she was responsible for raising over $130 million for capital improvements to Prospect Park, including the new entrances and perimeter update along Flatbush Avenue and the recent allocation of $40 million to restore the Vale. 

Commissioner Donoghue will report to Deputy Mayor for Operations Meera Joshi. 

Commissioner Donoghue stated, “Our parks and open spaces are critical to the quality of life of all New York City residents. They improve the air we breathe, enhance our physical and mental health, and strengthen our communities. I am extremely honored and humbled to take on this role as NYC parks commissioner and work alongside the dedicated and essential workers who care for our 30,000 acres of parkland. Mayor Adams and his administration understand the importance of safe and equitable access to parks for all New Yorkers, and I’m committed to joining the team and ensuring that parks and open spaces across New York City are accessible and welcoming for all.”

Iris Rodriguez-Rosa

Iris Rodriguez-Rosa ‘s career began with organizing tenants and the community in Williamsburg in the late 70s through the Federal Comprehensive Employment and Training Act (CETA) program. She served as a community board liaison under Brooklyn Borough President Howard Golden and became the Brooklyn Community Board 4 District Manager in 1979. 

Rodriguez-Rosa joined the Parks Department in 1986 as Director of Community Boards. She also served as operations manager in Upper Manhattan and Chief of Recreation in the Public Programs division in the Bronx and Queens. 

Most recently, she served as the Parks Department’s Bronx Borough Commissioner. In this role, she helped with the merge of the Friends of Van Cortlandt Parks and the Van Cortlandt Conservancy to become the Van Cortlandt Alliance. She has helped with the execution of many playground renovations and worked with former Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. on the Orchard Beach Pavilion renovation. 

First Deputy Commissioner Rodriguez-Rosa stated, ““I have dedicated my career to making the New York City park-going experience one that helps connect communities to amazing open spaces that provide mental, physical, and emotional benefits to all. I am thankful to Mayor Adams, his administration, and Commissioner Donoghue for allowing me the opportunity to continue to serve the City as its new NYC Parks first deputy commissioner. It is my honor to join the agency’s leadership team and I look forward to continuing to work with our invaluable Parks staff in their steadfast commitment to our great park system.”

Mayor Adams stated, “Parks are more than places for recreation and enjoyment — they are powerful tools for equity. “For too long, many communities throughout our city have been denied easy access to these vital spaces. Under the leadership of Sue Donoghue and Iris Rodriguez-Rosa, we will work to ensure that every New Yorker can enjoy the myriad benefits greenspaces can provide.”

By: Veronica Rose (Veronica is the CityLaw fellow and a New York Law School graduate, Class of 2018.)


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.