Before Leslie Knope was a high-ranking federal government official or Ron Swanson was designing massive structures for the internet powerhouse Gryzzl, or Garry Gergich was the mayor of Pawnee, there was a... unique group of individuals who worked together in the Pawnee Parks Department. Some were productive. Some were pretty much the opposite.
Throughout the life of Parks and Recreation, the Pawnee Parks Department was led by two individuals, Ron and Leslie, who could not have been more opposite in how they felt about government work. Everyone else falls somewhere in between. Whether it be incompetence or laziness, it's remarkable the group lasted as long as it did without completely destroying the town.
Looking back on it, they're well overdue for a performance review. It's time to Rank Everyone Who Worked in the Pawnee Parks Department.
8 Ron Swanson
Ron Swanson is such a bad government employee, it's hard to imagine one like him exists.
He doesn't like change. As far as he's concerned, technology might as well be a foreign dish. When he coaches a youth basketball team, he gives the kids haircuts without asking for parents' permission. His idea of a good camping trip for the Pawnee Rangers is next-to-no shelter and food. He brings a live pig to a town barbecue to kill it there, in front of everyone. He gives land mines to children.
And he's made it clear he does not like the government and hopes to play a roll in bringing it to its knees. This choice may be as obvious as the worst possible employee - maybe even more so.
7 Tom Haverford
Tom is every employer's worst nightmare.
In the episode "Doppelgängers" (Season 6, Episode 4), Tom finds out his job can be replaced by a machine. So he doesn't exactly have a challenging job. Even so, he never gets anything done. Why? Well, he spends all his time on his phone and computer coming up with bad ideas for cologne and business that are bound to fail.
Furthermore, how often is he actually in the office? It feels like he's spending time with his best buddy Jean Ralphio more often than anything else.
6 Andy Dwyer
Andy being so low on this list isn't really his fault. The kid's all heart, no brains. Some might argue that's all you need for government work, but Andy pushes that theory to the limit.
Andy breaks everything in sight. He runs around pretending he's an FBI agent. He has no idea how to use the internet. Andy is the perfect guy to hang out with and provides the office some comic relief, which is a nice contribution. But outside of that, you can't trust this guy with a pencil sharpener for more than five minutes, otherwise, he might get his pinky caught.
5 April Ludgate
April became Ron Swanson's assistant after starting as an intern. In one way, she's an exemplary employee. She does exactly what Ron asks. But there's a problem with that. Ron wants her to do everything possible to help in his methodical dismantling of the government. Now, she does step into Leslie Knope's role at public forums when Leslie runs for office and actually which is part of why she's not lower on the list. She also attempted some great work for Animal Control when it was absorbed by the Parks Department. (Though, that didn't go as planned either.)
April had tons of potential, thankfully she eventually realized that thanks to the people she worked with from the Parks Department. But man, can you imagine calling the phone and having her pick up and answering? That's if she answered the phone. Most times she just picked it up and slammed it down. She'd easily be the worst employee anywhere else, which shows just how poorly this department was staffed.
4 Garry Gergich
The artist formerly known as Larry, Jerry, Terry, and Lenny, Gerald "Garry" Gergich may fall in line with what you expect from the average government employee. Although he rises through the ranks by the end of the show, Lenny is far from a big thinker or overachieving employee. Two specific stories exemplify Garry in a nutshell.
One is when he's helping with Leslie's campaign. Jerry is in charge of mailing forms out with Donna and is on a roll. After hours and hours of work into the wee hours of the morning, he realizes he's thrown the wrong forms in the envelopes and has to start over. Then there's the time Chris Traeger and Ron Swanson tried to test their motivation methods, using Terry as the guinea pig. The nice way led to less output, but intimidation led to more mistakes.
3 Donna Meagle
Donna comes in at No. 3 almost by default. She's definitely one of the smarter individuals in the Parks Department. That's not to say everyone else is dumb, quite the opposite actually. But Donna is smart to get stuff done, while not overexerting herself.
The only problem with Donna is she's a Meagle. She herself said, "the Meagles are a cold people." (Actually, that may help her with her government work.) Either way, Donna does her work, punches the clock and saves her extra efforts in for her family and friends. Ain't much wrong with how she goes about her business.
2 Craig Middlebrooks
The fact it took so long for Craig to become a staple within the show is a crime. His outrageous anger management issues were a riot. He was an excellent complement to Donna and it would've been great to see him on more project with Tom and Andy.
Craig's most impressive trait may be he doesn't take guff from anyone. Not even April. He's motivated when it comes to the Parks Department and that's great, and he sees potential in employees and lets them know. At the same time, you don't want to be the one to deliver him bad news. You never know where he is with his therapy.
1 Leslie Knope
The best government employee of them all has to be Leslie Knope. She cares deeply about the community that continues to spit in her face, no matter how hard she works.
Leslie listens to others, tries to problem solve and is self-motivated. Honestly, you can pretty much stick her anywhere in the working world and she's going to do her job the right way.
Sometimes her positivity makes her tough to deal with, but it's only because everyone knows her No. 1 goal at all times is to do the right thing.