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New BPC Parks Head Named After Controversial Exit of Longtime Parks Leader

 Teardrop Park in Battery Park City. A new leader has taken the helm of the of the neighborhood parks department.
Teardrop Park in Battery Park City. A new leader has taken the helm of the of the neighborhood parks department.
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BATTERY PARK CITY — A veteran member of the Battery Park City Conservancy has been tapped as its new leader, after the controversial exit of longtime executive director Tessa Huxley last month.

Bruno Pomponio, the director of parks maintenance since 1999, has been named director of park operations, the Conservancy and Battery Park City Authority announced Tuesday.

The news comes after an uproar over the departure of Huxley, a beloved director who oversaw the neighborhood’s more than 30 acres of parks and gardens, as well as outdoor artwork and community programming for 27 years.

Local officials and residents decried what many called Huxley's forced retirement. The Battery Park City Authority never directly addressed the accusations, aside from praising Huxley in a public statement announcing her retirement, after speculation swirled about Huxley being fired for bumping heads with BPCA leadership.

Huxley, who did not return request for comment, has not spoken publicly about her abrupt departure.

In a statement, sent along with the Conservancy announcement, Pomponio said he was looking forward to his new position.

“I’m grateful for the opportunity to lead our dedicated staff and serve the community in this new capacity,” Pomponio said. “I look forward to working closely with leadership and staff as we preserve our pristine parks and innovative sustainability practices.”

The Conservancy also said Eric Fleisher will continue in his role as director of horticulture, and Abby Ehrlich will keep her longtime position as director of parks programming, with Craig Hudon staying in his deputy director role.

When asked why Pomponio was not given the title of executive director — Huxley's former title — and whether that leaves room for the hire of another leader, BPCA spokesman Kevin McCabe said in an email: "The leadership team we now have in place is the perfect combination to continue the important work of BPC Parks."