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City of Syracuse

By Journal Staff


TONY WILLIAMS was recently appointed the new commissioner of Parks Recreation and Youth Programs for the City of Syracuse. He brings 12 years of facilities management and capital planning in government and nonprofit recreation. Williams assumed leadership of a city department that oversees 1,000 acres of parks, playgrounds, and open spaces and nearly 50 facilities in neighborhoods across the city. Parks Recreation and Youth Programs is comprised of 12 bureaus that also manage and support programs, activities and events for youth, seniors and people of all ages. The department has nearly 640 full-time and seasonal employees. Williams served as associate VP of facilities and capital planning for the YMCA of Central New York since 2021, where he was responsible for building systems and maintenance and capital-projects management for the Y’s seven major locations in Onondaga County. Prior to the YMCA, Williams worked for the Onondaga County Public Library System since 2011. He was building-maintenance supervisor where he led capital, maintenance, grounds, security, and fleet management for 11 county library locations. Williams attended Onondaga Community College and completed the Syracuse Entrepreneurship Bootcamp at Syracuse University’s Whitman School of Management.

CHRIS ABBOTT has been promoted to deputy commissioner of Parks Recreation and Youth Programs for the City of Syracuse. He has been the department’s Recreation Program director since 2002. Abbott oversees recreational and enrichment programming and serves as the coordinator of health and wellness initiatives. He also works closely with multiple community partners to develop and operate inclusive recreational programming and policies. From his nearly two decades with the department, Abbott has deep knowledge of city parks programs. He has a bachelor’s degree from SUNY Geneseo and a master’s degree from University of Connecticut, where he also worked as a fitness and wellness graduate assistant. 

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