Each day during the work week, he arrives at the Conley Recreation Center in College Park at 6:30 a.m. to put in his one-hour weight training and running regimen.
However, after his workout and a quick shower, the married father and, in the past year, first-time grandfather, walks across the parking lot at the rear entrance to College Park City Hall to his office, just off the City Hall lobby.
However, when he now opens his door, a smile crosses his face as there is one thing missing from that door that he is glad to see gone after 20 months occupying the recreation director’s office, the words “interim director.”
James, who has worked for the city in its recreation department for 33 years, doesn’t have “interim” before his name anymore, thanks to the College Park City Council, which unanimously named him recreation director at its March 18 meeting.
Although his duties will essentially be the same as they have been since he was appointed interim director following the retirement of former recreation chief Eric Stipe, he sees elimination of the word “interim” from his title as significant.
“As far as I’m concerned, I feel if one is in a position of leadership but has the word interim before his or her name, whether it is a private business or a public entity like local government, I don’t see that individual as fully installed or appointed to that position if it is on an interim basis,” he said.
James believes that, for the time period he was interim director, the city faced more important and demanding issues which needed to be addressed other than naming its new recreation chief.
However, James said, his allegiance to the recreation department’s mission of enhancing the livelihood of College Park residents of all ages through leisure activity and recreation programs has never been stronger.
He praised his staff for its work in not only having the expertise to offer the programs but the initiative to “get the word out” about the programs offered by College Park.
“I got the best staff around,” he said. “Our staff members are true professionals and, with a staff like that, it makes it easier for all of us to serve College Park residents.”
Just as his daily workout routine is, as he said, “my passion,” recreation is also one of James top priorities, just under his faith and family.
“I use here in my workouts what is available to our residents,” James said.
He added that people who know him know he is enthusiastic about offering the best recreation programs to residents and believes, as director, he has the opportunity now to do more.
“I am doing what I love and love what I am doing, so how can any job be better than that?” he said.