City council is being well advised to delay hiring a director for the community services department until a review of the operations of Credit Union Place and the department is done.
Coun. Cory Thomas brought the issue to the council floor urging council to follow the recommendations contained in the strategic plan, prepared by DMA Planning and Management Services. The plan sets out the direction the consultant thinks the department should take.
The question proposed by Thomas is should the recreation aspect of the department be separated from the operations of Credit Union Place. In short, should the city have a director for recreation and a manager for CUP?
History shows that Thomas’ idea has merit. Credit Union Place has been open for six years and in that time there have been four directors for the community services department. Something’s not right.
This fact was not lost on the consultants who reviewed the department. They noted that there “has been some instability at the department director level since the opening of the CUP, a situation that is particularly challenging in light of the significant cost and responsibility of operating that facility along with the other responsibilities of the department.”
The report recommends the same review being proposed by Thomas.
“As programming and events at the CUP have increased…gaps in staffing have emerged. The degree to which these gaps reflect insufficient staff numbers, the way staff are deployed, or the skills and experience of existing staff needs to be assessed.”
The city paid $45,000 for this study and the question that needs to be asked is why the chairman of the city’s community services committee, Coun. Jim Steele, isn’t following the recommendations the city paid for.
To use the words of Mayor Basil Stewart, Credit Union Place “is more than a rink.” The mayor has said it can be a revenue generator for the city.
On the flip side of that is recreation – a service provided by every municipality for its residents and not something designed to make money.
Given that divergence, it only makes sense to divide Credit Union Place from parks and recreation and even more sense to have a manager for the CUP and a director of parks and recreation.
Coun. Tina Mundy was receptive to Thomas’ suggestion but Deputy Mayor Bruce MacDougall was not.
“If that was a concern it should have been brought forward before,” he said. “This was the first I’ve heard of this.”
Perhaps council should have discussed the issue before advertising the position.