Newsbank Archive
April 19, 2014
County will again operate Parks & Rec
Jan 30, 2013 | 2 2 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The vote was unanimous and no discussion was needed last week when Lumpkin County Board of Commissioners declined to renew Georgia Mountains YMCA’s (GMYMCA) contract to run Parks & Rec. The switch is effective Feb. 1.

“Continuing and uncorrected contract breeches” were cited as the reason for non-renewal, according to a letter sent to Rick Hamilton, Chairman of GMYMCA. The county has been picking up the tab for utility bills, supplies and maintenance for the Y since 2011. Total taxpayer outlay was $94,437 plus change, nor did the Y maintain the facility or fields in a manner acceptable to the county.

Throughout 2011 and into 2012, Y CEO Rich Gallagher assured the county it would be paid back for its outlay, and all vendors would be paid off.

That has not happened.

In addition, several parents complained to commissioners, both in private and at BOC meetings, about the way the programs were being run and the condition of the fields and facility.

The last straw appears to have been when Gallagher admitted he had not told the board the truth. In a meeting late last year, he told commissioners the Y’s financial problems were under control. He admitted that was not the case at the January work session after being confronted by Commissioner Clarence Stowers.

During the transition period, said County Manager Stan Kelley, Marvin Martin will continue to act as interim director at Parks & Rec, and all employees will also continue on a temporary basis. He expects to begin advertising for a director this week, he said.

“Once we select a director, then that person will hire staff on a permanent basis,” he said. “I don’t see much turnover occurring, but the board felt like it was the best process to follow, to start with a clean slate. Hopefully, we will have a new director in March.”

Kelley said he plans to present a proposed two budget for Parks & Rec at the February work session, along with a proposed fee schedule for rental fees for non-profit organizations for all county buildings. The proposed fees, he said, are based on a “thorough cost analysis. This is not based on a guess. It will be a minimum charge to cover the expenses of staff, utilities, water and maintenance. We are trying to offset taxpayer burden as much as possible, and a user fee seems the most reasonable way to do that.”

The new director, Kelley said, will make decisions on Parks & Rec programing.

“The Y expanded some programs, and we will be looking at them to see if we can continue them at the same level, but I see no changes at this point,” he said. “We are working hard to make the transition as smooth as possible. But I expect things will come up that we haven’t thought of yet. But we’ll work through them. I just ask the public to be patient with us. Myself, the staff and the BOC are all committed to make this work and to provide the level of services the public expects.”

Comments
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Concerned Citizen
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January 31, 2013
I think that the YMCA was doing the county a great service, saving some $200,000. This was a rash and ill-thought decision by the county commissioners that will come at the expense of the community. Also, Marvin was never an effective ref/ump, how will he survive even on an interim basis as park manager.
County will again operate Parks & Rec
Jan 30, 2013 | 1699 views | 2 2 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The vote was unanimous and no discussion was needed last week when Lumpkin County Board of Commissioners declined to renew Georgia Mountains YMCA’s (GMYMCA) contract to run Parks & Rec. The switch is effective Feb. 1.

“Continuing and uncorrected contract breeches” were cited as the reason for non-renewal, according to a letter sent to Rick Hamilton, Chairman of GMYMCA. The county has been picking up the tab for utility bills, supplies and maintenance for the Y since 2011. Total taxpayer outlay was $94,437 plus change, nor did the Y maintain the facility or fields in a manner acceptable to the county.

Throughout 2011 and into 2012, Y CEO Rich Gallagher assured the county it would be paid back for its outlay, and all vendors would be paid off.

That has not happened.

In addition, several parents complained to commissioners, both in private and at BOC meetings, about the way the programs were being run and the condition of the fields and facility.

The last straw appears to have been when Gallagher admitted he had not told the board the truth. In a meeting late last year, he told commissioners the Y’s financial problems were under control. He admitted that was not the case at the January work session after being confronted by Commissioner Clarence Stowers.

During the transition period, said County Manager Stan Kelley, Marvin Martin will continue to act as interim director at Parks & Rec, and all employees will also continue on a temporary basis. He expects to begin advertising for a director this week, he said.

“Once we select a director, then that person will hire staff on a permanent basis,” he said. “I don’t see much turnover occurring, but the board felt like it was the best process to follow, to start with a clean slate. Hopefully, we will have a new director in March.”

Kelley said he plans to present a proposed two budget for Parks & Rec at the February work session, along with a proposed fee schedule for rental fees for non-profit organizations for all county buildings. The proposed fees, he said, are based on a “thorough cost analysis. This is not based on a guess. It will be a minimum charge to cover the expenses of staff, utilities, water and maintenance. We are trying to offset taxpayer burden as much as possible, and a user fee seems the most reasonable way to do that.”

The new director, Kelley said, will make decisions on Parks & Rec programing.

“The Y expanded some programs, and we will be looking at them to see if we can continue them at the same level, but I see no changes at this point,” he said. “We are working hard to make the transition as smooth as possible. But I expect things will come up that we haven’t thought of yet. But we’ll work through them. I just ask the public to be patient with us. Myself, the staff and the BOC are all committed to make this work and to provide the level of services the public expects.”

Comments
(2)
Comments-icon Post a Comment
Concerned Citizen
|
January 31, 2013
I think that the YMCA was doing the county a great service, saving some $200,000. This was a rash and ill-thought decision by the county commissioners that will come at the expense of the community. Also, Marvin was never an effective ref/ump, how will he survive even on an interim basis as park manager.