“Changing an inch is cinch, changing a yard is hard” – Summing Up the Parks Program

The quote in the title sums up the current Parks and Recreation department situation.  City Manager Bill McDonald was charged with examining all city departments to find where the city can save money and improve quality of service for the citizens.

The point of contention throughout this whole process was the fact that he dismissed the former Parks Director, who we have to assume was doing a poor job, and had not immediately hired a new one.  Councilmembers John Palmer and Kent Boyle took up this issue as their cross to carry for the last two months.  Councilmember Palmer, in particular, could not seem to remove himself from this topic.

Not only was this rhetoric spewed from the dias, but also in emails to the public and memos to the city manager.  You can read both an email from Palmer to citizens that was posted on Facebook and the memo sent to the city manager jointly by Palmer and Boyle at the end of this post.

When the city manager announced Tuesday night that he had moved Dick Webber from the Recreation Center to the Activity Center/Pavillion and moved Sarah Harris to the Rec Center, as well as made her the overseer of the Parks Department everyone seemed to be happy, including Palmer and Boyle.

Mr. McDonald did what he was charged to do and improved the quality of the programs within the Parks and Rec Department.  Not only do we now have a director, but he is in the process of hiring a Facilities Manager that the city desperately needs.  Since Sarah Harris, as director, will be in charge of the Rec Center, therefore eliminating that position, he is able to hire the Facilities Manager and not add a FTE to the city’s budget.  The perfect solution to these problems.

The biggest question remaining is what is Councilmember Palmer going to talk about for his remaining 2+ years on the council.  In his first year on the job the only thing you heard out of him was the word “so” about 325 times.  Then he spent the last couple months talking about a parks problem that was only a problem because he made it one.  We can only assume he will spend his time micromanaging the last 9 months of Bill McDonald’s administration.

As for Councilmember Boyle, it looks like his last 9 months on the council will consist of him “asking just a quick question,” forwarding city emails to scorned ex-councilmembers to post in The News Tribune comments, and expressing his anger at life toward citizens and other councilmembers, as he did at the study session March 26.  Which you can watch here, click on the March 26 Study Session.

This change should have been an inch, but instead it got changed into a yard.

Below is the email and memo.

Palmer Email

Memo Parks Rec

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Filed under City Council 2013, John Palmer, Kent Boyle

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