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Parks and Rec Director Leaving Arlington

by ARLnow.com June 29, 2012 at 11:42 am 5,038 71 Comments

(Updated at 12:25 p.m.) Dinesh Tiwari, who has served as director of the Arlington County Department of Parks and Recreation since Sept. 2005, is retiring from his post in Arlington. His last day on the job will be tomorrow, June 30.

We’re told Tiwari, 61, is leaving for Alexandria’s Department of Recreation, Parks & Cultural Activities.

Tiwari came to Arlington from Richmond, where he served as the city’s director of Parks, Recreation and Community Facilities. He has also worked for the governments of Suffolk and Roanoke, Va.

During his tenure in Arlington, Tiwari helped the department become one of only 60 agencies to earn national accreditation from the Commission for Accreditation of Park and Recreation Agencies. He has also overseen significant initiatives at Ethan Allen Park, the Walter Reed Community Center, Greenbrier Park, Artisphere and Long Bridge Park.

In announcing his retirement to county staff, County Manager Barbara Donnellan lauded Tiwari’s “many accomplishments and contributions” to Arlington. She also credited Tiwari with helping to “sustain core County programs and services during the recent economic downturn.”

A search is now underway for Tiwari’s replacement.

“The County has launched a national search for his replacement, whom they hope to hire in the next six months,” according to the Department of Parks and Recreation. “In the interim, Shannon Flanagan-Watson, currently an assistant County Manager, will be the acting director.”

One parks and rec employee told ARLnow.com that Tiwari was a “super great guy.”

“He was the best boss I’ve had,” the employee said. “Surely will be missed.”

  • Charles

    Retiring? Doesn’t sound like he’s retiring.

    • Bender

      Maybe after a few years drawing an Arlington pension while getting an Alexandria paycheck, he can “retire” from Alexandria and go work for Fairfax County, where he can draw an Arlington pension, an Alexandria pension, and also get a Fairfax paycheck!

      What a system!

      • drax

        So? How’s that any different from the private sector? I’ve got a few 401ks and pensions and stuff out there from previous jobs too.

        If he were working in a new job in the same local government, and getting twice as much in benefits, you might have a point.

      • brian

        that really doesn’t look like a clown statement, bro!

    • Another Dude

      “National search” – What a joke! Arlington’s national searches usually end with a firing after several months and a wasted headhunter’s fee. Save the fee, Barb, and just hire another inbred employee.

  • TJLinBallston

    Here’s hoping the County recruits/ promotes from within Parks and Rec’s staff. There is some terrific talent doing sterling work at the moment. I’ve been very impressed at the meetings I’ve attended. They are on the ball.

    • Clarendon

      You would think they might do that after the County Manager and the Head Planner guy both came in from outside and lasted slight longer than a nanosecond. Plus the zoning admin.

      • Aaron

        How about the best of both worlds? Let’s have a “national search” for his replacement and then determine that the best candidate was here in the Arlington Parks & Rec office all along!!

  • HollaArl

    Leslie Knope – 2012

  • Tre


  • Becoming indifferent

    I don’t blame him. I’d leave Arlington, to, if I could.

    If Parks and Rec is anything like the library, they won’t be promoting from within–won’t even consider it.

    • Jackson

      What’s keeping you here? An ankle monitor that won’t let you leave your house?

      • Banksy

        LoL, Jackson.

      • Becoming indifferent

        Glad you have a snarky comment and don’t know the facts about me. Right now, I can’t afford to move, plus my job is here in Arlington–the only good thing about living here is my commute (walking). Two good friends who live near me have decided to move because Arlington is no longer a nice place to live, unless you’re a yuppie (or whatever the kids are calling them these days) with obscene amounts of disposable income.

        Don’t worry–my job will be moving in a couple of years and I will be leaving Arlington with few, if any, regrets. The shame is I used to really like living here.

        • Clarendon

          Where did your friends move and where would you like to move ? I am always curious where people would like to live.

          It is a bit unusual to not be able to afford to move from Arlington. The few I know that moved could easily afford to move out but then couldn’t afford to move back.

        • Jon

          If I were fed up with Arlington and the individuals that live there, I certainly wouldn’t be spending my time on an Arlington-centric website conversing with the Arlington-centric community. Just saying…

          • Becoming indifferent

            I’m not fed up with everyone in Arlington County. But I feel like the Arlington County government and developers could care less about people who have called Arlington home for a while. And if you rent, it’s worse. I’m not the only one who feels this way.

            And for the the other comments–yes, for me it will be expensive to move out of Arlington right now (moving expenses, increased commuting costs, breaking a lease). I work for a nonprofit, so I’m not flush with cash.

        • dk (not DK)


          I’m no longer young enough to qualify as a yuppie, and all my disposable income goes to the kids’ college accounts. But I still think this is lovely place to live. Maybe you are hanging out in the wrong places?

    • drax

      Why would he want to be promoted? He’s already the director. He’s 61 years old. He’s already made it to the top. Unlike you, apparently.

  • Jimmy

    What they need to do is find someone who will insist that staff look at outdoor fields on a somewhat disaggregated basis and not cancel all games in the county for 1/4 inch rain. This happens way to often and doesn’t differentiate the nice grass fields for soccer from the fields that are already crap and are not going to be messed up by little kids playing T-ball (or soccer).

  • Does someone who “retires” from an Arlington County job get “retirement” benefits while working for a different goverment agency? Hope not, however, must be nice if so.

    • Andy

      He’ll probably get $150k per year and free medical insurance for the rest of his life, whether he is working another job or not. That’s how cities and towns all across the nation are going broke.

      • drax

        Is it?

        • John Fontain

          In many cases, yes.

          • drax


          • John Fontain

            Here’s one example from this week…


            “Stockton, California, became the largest city to file for bankruptcy in U.S. history on Thursday”

            “Stockton, which officially declared insolvency and its desire to restructure its debt, also filed a separate list of its major unsecured creditors. The California Public Employees’ Retirement System, which manages Stockton’s pension plan, tops the list. The retirement system has a $147.5 million claim for unfunded pension costs.”

      • Banksy

        Stop buying into right-wing rhetoric. Cities and towns are going broke because of poor fiscal management, of which underfunded pensions are a symptom, not a cause. The median pension for public employees is approx. $22,000/year, but the media loves to focus on a few bad apples, which fuels anti-government and anti-union folks.

        • You might not know this, but for normal folks who started working about in the 80s/90s (ie the average joe not working for the g’mt) the average “pension” is $00,000 so not so sure its “right wing” rhetoric. Free pensions don’t exsist for everyone. Normal people need to to save huge $$ and take market risk with that money to make their own “pension”…most g’mt workers fail to realize that…just try to ask them.

          • AllenB

            Arlington doesn’t have “free pensions”. They pay into the system, like 4% or so.

          • Just the Facts

            Who’s getting a “free” pension? This public servant contributes 7.5% of his salary toward that “free” pension….which might top out at about 70% of my annual salary after 30 years. Look out, I’m getting filthy rich at the taxpayers’ expense!

          • I wish I could contribute 7% of my salary to be guaruanteed 70% of my (final) salary and health benefits for the rest of my natural life. That is an incredible deal:
            In your example eariler the “average pension” is $22k per year – with the ten year treasury running around 1.7% currently a normal everyday person would need to have a principal balance of slightly less than $1.3 million to get that amount “risk free”….that might not be filthy rich, but it is certainly not poor….if you make 100k when you kick off as a g’mt work and get 70k the balance is slightly more than 4.7m…that’s fithy rich. It’s pretty simple math.

          • JohnB

            You couldn’t possibly figure out what the actual numbers are could you? After posting this I’m going to go find out what they are. I’ll race you.

          • JohnB

            Fact 1:

            Each member who is not a member of the Virginia Retirement System
            (VRS) and who is not a police officer, firefighter or deputy sheriff,
            contributes 4% of their creditable compensation toward retirement each payroll period.

            If you are a police officer, firefighter or deputy sheriff, you contribute
            7.5% of your creditable compensation toward your retirement each pay

          • JohnB

            Fact 2:

            All members who are not police officers, firefighters or deputy sheriffs are
            eligible to retire with unreduced benefits when they meet one of the
            following age and service requirements:
            ♦ Age 62 with 5 years of service.
            ♦ Rule of 80:
            When age + years of service = 80.
            ♦ Completion of 30 years of service regardless of age

          • JohnB

            Fact 3:
            Calculation of Benefits:

            1.7% x Average Final Salary x Credited Service (up to a maximum of 30 years)

            Your retirement benefit is limited to a maximum of 51% of your average final salary.

            For example, if you retire at age 62 with 20 years of service and an average final salary of $40,000, your annual benefit would be determined as follows:

            1.7% x $40,000 x 20 = $13,600

            You would receive $13,600 a year, or $1,133.33 a month at retirement.

          • JohnB

            Fact 4:

            What is Average Final Salary?
            This is the average of your three highest 26 consecutive pay periods of creditable compensation. In most cases, this will be your last three years of employment. For example, assume you retire at the end of December 2009 and you received the most pay in 2007, 2008 and 2009. Your average final salary over those three years, based on the assumed earnings history shown below, would be:

            2007 – $35,000
            2008 – $40,000
            2009 – $45,000
            $120,000 ÷ 3 = $40,000
            Your average final salary is $40,000.

          • JohnB

            Fact 5: That took all of 10 minutes. You’re lazy or ideologically brainwashed.


          • WeiQiang

            Fact 6: There is capacity for 5000 cars in the garage of the new Boeing HQ.

          • nom de guerre

            Fact 7:

            A microburst has been detected in Donaldson Run and the yachts anchored there are in danger of sinking. Arlington County Swift Water Rescue has been deployed-including the DARPA drone and all amphibious vehicles. Arlington County ONE has been placed on standby status. That is all.

          • Fact 8?

            Arlington does not participate in VRS. They have their own retirement system.

          • Banksy

            Instead of saying, “I don’t get one, so no one else should” why not think, “They get one; why don’t I?” Pensions are more cost-efficient than 401(k)s at providing a decent retirement benefit.

            It’s amazing how brainwashed many workers are by companies whining that pensions are too expensive and that 401(k)s give you “control over your own destiny.” Funny how pensions are too expensive for rank-and-file workers, but not for top execs, who need them the least. And most of the people who saw their 401(k)s fall drastically in 2007-2009 weren’t responsible for the subprime mortgage meltdown that led to the recession.

          • SomeGuy

            Pensions are often a good deal for recipients. But they’re not a good deal for anyone else. A pension shifts risk to the provider (the company), because it has a defined benefit. I.e., if pension funding/growth doesn’t meet that defined benefit, then the company (or its agent) is on the hook for the difference. We see this in the American auto industry, which is saddled by generous pensions it promised to employees long ago, and who are living longer than expected.

            Defined contribution (e.g. 401k), however, makes no guarantees about outcome, so the risk is shifted from employer to employee, with a simple definition of what the employer is willing to contribute up front. Nothing is owed on the back end that way.

            Both pension and 401k can be good or bad. It’s just about which party bears more risk.

          • drax

            One important distinction: pensions are insured by the government (the PBGC). 401ks are not.

          • annie


        • Id

          it’s not right wing rhetoric, it’s economics. How many state left wing governments can you name that are successful. California, New York, and Michigan are nice examples for you.

          • drax

            Really? That’s your evidence? Michigan is run by liberals? It has nothing to do with, say, the auto industry?

            Oh, wait a minute. Never mind. Michigan has a Republican governor and a Republican majority in both houses of its legislature.


            You realize that people can go verify crap on Google, right ld?

          • AllenB

            VA was run by Dems for 8 years before McDonnell took over. We’re doing okay financially – then and now.

          • drax

            And you asked for a left wing state:

            Vermont – Dem governor and Dem majorities in both houses. 4.6 % unemployment rate.

            West Virginia – all Dems too. 6.9 % unemployment.

            Those rates are lower than Alabama, Miss., N. and S. Carolina. I’m going to go ahead and assume those aren’t “liberal” states.

            Stop the nonsense.

          • dk (not DK)

            In fact…

            The reality is that the “blue” states subsidize the “red” states.

          • WeiQiang

            Arlington subsidizes Richmond.

    • nom de guerre

      And he will have the use of Arlington County ONE, the Boeing Business Jet that was extracted from Boeing for the use of the County Board and department heads in exchange for density concessions for their new regional headquarters.

      • WeiQiang

        … and now equipped with Musco “Dark Sky” lighting for bollard monitoring missions.

      • nom de guerre

        And to gather valuable intel on France’s le streetcar system, dedicated bike lanes along with the requisite bollard design research.

    • drax

      Why shouldn’t he? He worked.

      Should you not get retirement benefits just because you go get a new job?

      Whatever his contract says, that’s what he should get. What he does after he leaves is his business.

      Obviously he shouldn’t get as much in benefits now than what he’d get if he stayed longer.

      • John Fontain

        Yep, you’re right. Can’t blame the guy for taking on other work after he retires. That’s a separate decision and is independent of his qualifications for retirement.

    • Id


  • JnA

    Don’t call it an Arlington Park. Call it a Mixed-Use Recreation Opportunity. Makeover’s on the way for Ft. Ward, Ben Brenman, and several others.

  • Parks Inrec

    I didn’t like his character anyway.

    Treat Yo’self?

    I just didn’t get it. Good riddance.

  • Chris Traeger

    Dinesh Tiwari is literally the best employee I’ve ever seen!

    • EFC Observer

      Wasn’t it on Mr. Tiwari’s watch that the operating budget on the Artisphere went totally haywire?

      • Dr_Klahn

        I take it you don’t watch Parks and Rec much?

        • Clarendon

          I’ve only seen it a few times. Love the head government guy that hates government.

          • YoungBlood

            Isn’t that Rob Lowe dreamy?

          • Clarendon

            I think the guy I’m talking about is Ron Swanson. I haven’t seen an episode with Rob Lowe. He must not have been in the first season (which is all I’ve been watching on Netflix so far)

          • drax

            Keep watching. He’ll appear.

          • Grindr

            Rob Lowe is 2437 miles away.

      • Tom Haverford

        Keep it on the down-low but there may be some plans in the works to make Artisphere into the new headquarters of media conglomerate Entertainment 720.

  • Biker

    From the point of view of an Arlington resident and user of several of the recreational facilities available to the public, it looks like he was doing an excellent job – I hope his predecessor keeps things as neat and clean as they were under his tenure!

  • Opie

    Is this the guy that was in charge when they tried to shut down Gulf Branch and let Lubber Run wither on the vine?

  • XARL

    I moved out of Arlington when I retired. Not much left of pension check after health insurace is taken out. I now live in a place where cost of living is much less. I do miss alot about Arlington. The services are first rate. Arlington is a great place to live if you can afford it. It would be even a better place to live if they get rid of the bums on the county board.

    • dk (not DK)

      You mean the bums that oversee the provision of those first rate services?


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