NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) – The New York City Parks Department will be getting a new commissioner, WCBS 880’s Rich Lamb reported.

WCBS 880’s Rich Lamb On The Story

Adrian Benepe, who has been commissioner for 10 and a half years, is leaving to take a job with the national land conservation group The Trust for Public Land.

Benepe will become the senior vice president of city park development for the organization.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced Monday that Benepe will be replaced by Veronica White, who has been the executive director of the city’s Center for Economic Opportunity since Bloomberg launched it in 2006.

During White’s tenure the center made news with an anti-poverty program that paid low-income people for maintaining good habits such as going to the dentist or opening a bank account.

The center also developed its own poverty measure, which was eventually incorporated into a federal formula.

As for Benepe, it was in 1973, at 16-years-old, that he got his first parks department job.

“And I started out working in a swimming pool on East 10th Street, the dry dock pool, and I was cleaning the locker rooms and the toilets,” he told Lamb. “Swept up garbage and cleaned up the beer and soda cans after the busy weekends. Walked around with a stick with a nail at the end of it, picking up garbage and putting it in a canvas bag.”

After his tenure as parks commissioner, he said he’s proudest of “the tremendous expansion of the park system, the building of new facilities, the restoration of old facilities. You have $4.5 billion investment, really unparalleled in the country.”

He said he’s been joined at the hip with the department.

“You never want to leave,” he added. “But you can’t be emperor for life.”

Were you satisfied with Benepe’s performance as commissioner? Sound off in the comments section below.

(TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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