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Crestwood recreation services placed under direction of public works director


October 19, 2005 - By MIKE ANTHONY

Executive Editor

Recreation services will be placed under the direction of Public Works Director Jim Eckrich, the Crestwood Board of Alder-men has decided.

The Board of Aldermen voted unanimously last week to approve a restructuring plan that will save roughly $312,000, according to Mayor Roy Robinson.

In an Oct. 11 memorandum to Robinson and the Board of Aldermen, City Admin-istrator Don Greer wrote, "For a number of weeks, we have been working to implement the restructuring of recreation services by placing them under the supervision of the director of public works.

"This work is being conducted consistent with the discussions held with the mayor and Board of Aldermen designed to re-duce operating expenses and personnel as recommended. An integral piece of this restructuring is the design of the oversight and supervision of a number of areas of responsibility,'' Greer stated in the memo.

In the memo, the city administrator stated that he had met with Eckrich "on numerous occasions to design an organizational structure that we believe meets the needs of the city as we move forward with combining these departments. I present you with an organizational chart for your review and ask that you approve the organizational structure by motion in order to finalize the steps to implement these changes.''

By approving the restructuring, aldermen authorized Greer "to take the necessary steps to implement the structure no later than Dec. 31, 2005.''

In response to a question from Ward 1 Alderman Richard LaBore about being able to handle the additional responsibilities, Eckrich said, "Yes, we can handle it. It's going to be a lot of work, a large learning curve for me, but I think with the structure that we've represented that can be accomplished, yes.''

Ward 3 Alderman Don Maddox said, "... I'm trying to figure out what goes where, and I see that the superintendent of maintenance actually loses two positions ... Is that correct?''

Eckrich replied, "The superintendent of maintenance loses the former mechanic and the former park crew leader, yes.''

Maddox said, "The overall department ends up with 29 permanent personnel and five part-time clerks. What's the total reduction in personnel .... Do you know?''

Eckrich said, "Well, the two positions I mentioned. The CAD designer and then several positions in the park and recreation area.''

Maddox said, "OK. So actually three positions are going to be taken from existing public works ...''

Eckrich said, "Yes sir.''

Maddox continued, "... in this reorganization, and what's the actual reduction in parks and recreation personnel? I know Sappington House director and then the director of the department ...''

Other cuts Greer and Robinson noted included a park ranger, a part-time custodian and adjustments to the hours of part-time staff.

Greer also noted that staff has been working to adjust the hours of the Community Center to more than the 60 per week ad-justed by the board. Eckrich presented a plan that would provide for the Community Center to be open 71.5 hours at an additional cost of roughly $5,200 annually.

Proposed Community Center hours are 6 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday; 9 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday; and 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday.

"Absent any objections from the board, I will be authorizing these adjustments in operating hours as soon as they can be implemented,'' Greer stated in his Oct. 7 operations report to the board.

In other business Oct. 11, Robinson broke a 4-4 tie to appoint resident Martha Duchild to the city's Civil Service Board.

Aldermen had voted 4-3 July 26 to reject Robinson's appointment of Duchild to the Civil Service Board. Opposed to Duchild's appointment were board President Tim Trueblood of Ward 2, Ward 2 Alderman Jim Kelleher, Ward 4 Alderman Joe O'Keefe and Ward 4 Alderman Pat Duwe.

Voting in favor of Duchild's appointment were Maddox, Ward 1 Alderman Richard Breeding and Ward 3 Alderman Jerry Miguel. LaBore was absent July 26.

Aldermen first considered Robinson's appointment of Duchild to the Civil Ser-vice Board at their July 12 meeting.

Aldermen deadlocked 3-3 on Duchild's appointment with Trueblood, Kelleher and Duwe opposed and Breeding, Miguel and O'Keefe in favor. Maddox and LaBore were absent.

Robinson broke the 3-3 tie in favor of Duchild, but later in the meeting Breeding said, "... I'd like to reconsider the Civil Service (Board) appointment that we talked about earlier, not because of the person, but simply because of my ignorance. I don't know what the Civil Service Board does, and I was out of town this weekend and upon reflection, I need a better understanding of what the Civil Service Board does before I can approve someone being on it. So I move for reconsideration.''

Aldermen voted 5-1 with Miguel opposed to reconsider Duchild's appointment and then voted to table the reconsideration motion at Robinson's request.

During the Oct. 11 meeting, Robinson raised the reconsideration of Duchild's appointment, saying, "... Previously we never had a full board when I approached the board to appoint someone to the Civil Service Board and tonight we have a full board and I'm going to ask the board to consider Martha Duchild one more time for the Civil Service Board. Do I have any motion to approve this appointment?''

Maddox's motion to appoint Duchild to the Civil Service Board was seconded by Miguel.

LaBore said, "I was not here when we had this considered before. What happened be-fore?''

Robinson said, "Well, it went — we had two different times. We had one that we voted to approve and then they had a reconsideration and some people changed their votes after the fact ...''

LaBore asked, "Was that at two different meetings.''

Robinson replied, "Yes.''

The mayor later said, "... I think in fairness to her that she should be reconsidered by the full board.''

During a roll-call vote, Miguel, Maddox and Breeding voted in favor of Duchild's appointment, while Trueblood, Duwe, Kelleher and O'Keefe were opposed.

"I am in an awkward position. I do not know what the nay votes are all about,'' LaBore said, adding he would vote to create a 4-4 tie to let the mayor decide.

"I vote yes,'' Robinson said, breaking the tie and casting his vote in favor of Duchild.

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