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Lackawanna County hires experienced environmental project manager to run park system

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Lackawanna County has a new parks and recreation director.

County commissioners Matt McGloin and Bill Gaughan have appointed Paul W. Bechtel to the job, they announced Monday.

Since 2007, Bechtel, 45, of Scott Twp., has worked as an environmental scientist and project manager at Thomas J. McLane Associates, a landscape architecture firm in Scranton.

The job gave Bechtel "long experience in ecological stewardship and park development," according to a county news release.

Bechtel replaces Art Moran, whom Gaughan and McGloin demoted late last month.

In a statement, Gaughan said he's thrilled Bechtel will work for the county.

"His instrumental role in developing the master plan for Scranton's park system showcased his ability to envision and execute transformative parks projects," Gaughan said.

McGloin said the county's quality of life is a priority.

"Paul’s background as an environmental scientist and project manager, and his knowledge in park and trail master site planning and green infrastructure design make Paul the most qualified person for this role," McGloin said. "We look forward to taking our parks department to the next level.”

Bechtel earned a bachelor's degree in environmental science from the University of Scranton, a master of science degree in biology/ecology from Fordham University, and a post-graduate certificate in ecosystem restoration from the Niagara College of Applied Arts and Technology.

Bechtel is a longtime volunteer and a former board member for the Lackawanna River Conservation Association. He organizes tree-planting projectsalong the river's watershed.

Bechtel will start April 1. He will earn $64,020 a year.

Borys joins WVIA News from The Scranton Times-Tribune, where he served as an investigative reporter and covered a wide range of political stories. His work has been recognized with numerous national and state journalism awards from the Inland Press Association, Pennsylvania Associated Press Managing Editors, Society of Professional Journalists and Pennsylvania Newsmedia Association.

You can email Borys at boryskrawczeniuk@wvia.org