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December 8, 2009

 
JASPER COUNTY RECREATION DEPARTMENT--A GROWING MESS

 
A majority of the people attending the BOC meeting Monday were there about Recreation.  There were Rec Board members as well as both Rec dep’t employees. 

 
Lamar Crawley with the Rec Board got up to speak.  He acted like he had no clue as to what was going on and said the Rec Board had questions.   He said there had been a change in where the football games had been played and no one knew about it.  He said they didn’t have a copy of the budget.  He mentioned other things he didn’t know about.

 
Comm. Patrick asked just who did change the venue of the football games? She said it wasn’t the BOC.  And as for budgets she and Comm. Payne had met several times with the former Rec Director and former Rec Board chair about the budget and the money problems.

 
Comm. Pennamon said he wanted the rumors stopped that the BOC had shut down the Rec Dept and read the letter from the School Board about what must happen before the gym could be used.  There’s no basketball because the School Board wants some assurances from the BOC that the Rec Dept will have supervision. 

 
It was brought up about how last year the keys to the gym were given out to others, and there were private parties held at the gym.  There’s also been rumors that there were games held there for a fee, but the county never received the money.  All this happened while the Rec Board Chairman Crawley and Don Shipp ran the Rec Dept.   Now Crawley wants to know why there are problems!

 
Why would we expect the Rec Dept to become better under the same Rec Board it’s been under for years?  People complain about fields, bathrooms, trash, etc.  It doesn’t appear as if the board has made any noticeable improvements over the years.  And the Rec Board doesn’t understand why BOC wants to change things?? 

 
Comm. Patrick said what was needed was a Rec Director and made a motion to advertise for a Rec Director.  Comm. Hill seconded the motion and all agreed to put ad in paper and make some decision at the first meeting in January. 

 
Lamar Crawley immediately wanted to know if the Rec Board could have some say so in who would be hired.  Comm. Patrick said there was no way the Rec Board should be over a county employee or involved in the process of who to hire.

 
A qualified director needs to be hired.  What qualification does the present Rec Board have?  Look at their track record, look at the recreation park, and look at how they have overspent for years. What about all the missing equipment?  Even some that was donated this year is already missing.  None of it is good, so why should they be allowed to run our county's park and make decisions about who the Rec Director will be?  Is this so Mr. Crawley can again be in control of the director and the concession money?

 
Lamar Crawley has been in charge of the Rec Dept for years, and it appears he still wants to be in charge.  He said he had been on the board for 35 years, and most people know he’s been Chairman most of that time. 

 
Sources tell TWG that Crawley was in on the Lee Umpire Assoc with Don Shipp. Mr. Shipp submitted invoices from Lee Umpire Assoc. while he was director and the current BOC found he was Lee Umpire Assoc.  Lee Umpire Assoc. was to pay the umpires for the games.   Documents indicate this included a Rec Dept employee who was paid twice—once by Lee Umpire and on clock with the county.  Rumors have it umpires were paid out of concession money many times.  So who got the money paid to Lee Umpire Assoc?  No investigation has ever been done to find out.

 
There have also been many rumors about other items being paid for out of concession stand money.  There was a golf cart purchased in the county name with no sales tax paid, yet the former director, Don Shipp, says he paid for it.  No one has ever seen any proof he has provided of doing so.  Was it paid for with concession stand cash?  No investigation was done to ever know.

 
A decision should be made about what to do about the current board.  Maybe it is time to remove the entire board and either not have a board or appoint new members who actually have children that participate in activities at the Rec Dept.  Someone serving 35 years is about 25 years too long!  Especially when we don’t see anything better from year to year.

 

TWG
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