Now that this non-controversial controversial park study has been presented to the public and city council we can move forward with what it means for the city and the future of its’ parks programs.
But, before we can do that, we need to address the only issue some people have left, how the study was conducted. Simply put, this study was conducted in the absolute correct manner.
The city manager, as CEO of the city, has every right to conduct a study of one of his departments in the way he believes is best. He chose to have six current city staffers, from all different departments conduct this internal study for him to present to the council and public. Now, keep in mind the fact that one of the six chosen is a former Parks Department staffer recently moved over to the City Manger’s office staff, so any biases involved would have more than likely favored the Parks Department. And note, we are NOT saying there was any biases in the report!
Secondly, people who believe that the Parks and Rec Board should have been involved in this process don’t understand what the Parks and Rec Board’s job is. It is an advisory board for the City Council. This was not a City Council initiated study. The Parks Board had no business being involved in this study at its initial stage. Now that the study is complete and presented, it’s a bit of a different story, and we’ll get to the Board’s role in a second.
Thirdly, once again, as this was a city manager initiated study, citizens and the council had no business being involved in the study. This study needed to be free from outside influence, and it was.
But, let’s just say that the Parks Board, citizens, and council were involved in the study. How would it have been any different? What could have been improved on? The study contained nothing controversial. Everyone seems to agree that the report was very well put together and contained a lot of good information. It of course didn’t contain any of the ridiculous rumors spouted off by misguided citizens and former council members. People who actually believed these rumors and are now complaining about the process because they were duped may not be vigilantes, but are certainly easily influenced by unreliable sources.
The complainers of the process, which include two councilmembers, are choosing to complain because the study didn’t contain what they hoped for. They wanted it to have information they could use against our city manager and councilmembers they don’t like. Instead what they got was a great study with lots of useful information that will end up making our city more efficient and our parks, park programs, and recreation center better.
Now that the study is done, it is time for the Parks Board and citizens to analyze it, critique it, and question it. The Parks Board should be digging into at their next meeting, asking questions, finding where the report missed out, and advising the council on what to do next. We the citizens need to let the council and city manager know what we think about the study. This is only a study, nothing more. No decisions have been and no major recommendations were even brought forth.
The sky is not falling. The only thing that may be overwhelming right now is the amount of information received. Information that no past city council or citizenry has ever had before. This is one more step toward transparency and efficiency for our city government.