Leonard M. Lee, Sr. was sworn in as the newest member of the Boston Parks and Recreation Commission at the Commission’s Oct. 28 public meeting at Boston Parks and Recreation Department headquarters at 1010 Massachusetts Avenue in Roxbury. Named to the Commission as an at-large appointee by Mayor Martin J. Walsh, Lee brings a lifetime of hands-on experience in social services and event planning to his new role.
The Boston Parks and Recreation Commission is a seven-person review body appointed by the Mayor that oversees the Parks and Recreation Department and has authority over the parks, playgrounds, athletic fields, islands, urban wilds, and cemeteries in its inventory. Created by the approval of Chapter 185 of the Acts of 1875, the authority of the Commission is set forth in the Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 45 and in Municipal Code Section 7.4.
In his current position with the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation, Lee acts as general manager for the Melnea Cass Recreation Complex in Roxbury with responsibility for the total operation of Melnea Cass Recreation Complex, Roxbury Heritage State Park, and Dillaway Thomas House. As part of his role, Lee organizes exhibits and concerts and hosts lectures and educational programs.
Lee has decades of experience in public health, most recently as director of the Division of Violence and Injury Prevention at the Massachusetts Department of Public Health overseeing a $30 million budget and managing four units: Sexual and Domestic Violence Prevention; Child and Youth Violence Prevention; Suicide Prevention; and Injury Prevention and Control. Prior to taking on the senior managerial role at the Department of Public Health, Lee served as the Unit Manager of Child and Youth Violence Prevention managing the Shaken Baby Syndrome, Youth Violence Prevention, and Safe Spaces for LGBTQ Youth programs.
Lee’s commitment to human services includes serving the State of Connecticut as former Deputy Commissioner of Public Health. In this capacity he oversaw Injury and Violence Prevention as well as several other departments and a $100 million budget. Lee was also an Executive Director at a number of nonprofits throughout the Boston area, including the Roxbury YMCA, ABCD, Inc., Dorchester Neighborhood Service Center, Odwin Learning Center, and the Wang Theater.
Lee, a resident of Dorchester, joins current Boston Parks and Recreation Commission members Elisa Birdseye, Anne Connolly, William Epperson, David Queeley, Boston Parks and Recreation Commissioner Ryan Woods, and Boston’s Chief of Environment, Energy, and Open Space Christopher Cook. His appointment began July 22 and ends July 7, 2023.