Syracuse Parks' Pat Driscoll

The city of Syracuse Department of Parks, Recreation and Youth Commissioner, Patrick "Pat" Driscoll, 42, made the cut.

The Syracusan moved seamlessly from the Driscoll administration to Stephanie Miner's City Hall. He knew Miner even before becoming the commissioner, as the two worked on Bill Bradley's Presidential campaign in 2000.

But more importantly, Driscoll's definitely "got game." He knows the 172 city parks inside and out. Starting as a boy growing up on Tipperary Hill, Burnet Park was his playground. When he was 9 years old his father Ed "Butch" Driscoll, who had also worked for city parks as a teenager, died of a heart attack. His mother Noreen continued on in their North Lowell Avenue house raising their three children as a single mom.

At 16 years old Driscoll started working in Skiddy and Frazer Parks, and then carried on as a seasonal laborer throughout his schooling at Bishop Ludden and St. Bonaventure. He was involved in both their basketball programs, first as a point guard on Ludden's varsity basketball team, then switched into administration as the manager of St. Bonaventure's basketball team.

As a teenager, he often played one-on-one basketball on his lunch hour with Mark "Otis" Olszewski, who works to maintain the many athletic fields.

"Otis would show up and swap his steel toed boots for a pair of Chuck Taylors he always had handy," Driscoll said.

Park vandalism

There are often civility issues in the park.

"People like to break things, tag things and drive over the ball fields in some misguided right of passage," Driscoll said.

He said he never engaged in any vandalism, because first, his Irish Catholic mother told him that kind of behavior was not okay, and secondly, from his own laboring in the parks, he knew the guys that would have to set things straight.

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