September 17, 2006
COUNTY RECREATION DEPARTMENT LEAVES MUCH TO BE DESIRED BUT
NO ACTION IS EVER TAKEN
Several months ago concerned citizens addressed the BOC
about the Recreation Department and the way it was being
managed. Even a member of the Recreation Board attended
and stated they could not hold meetings because a quorum
was never present when a meeting was called. Again in April
2006 the recreation department was discussed at the BOC
meeting. The Commissioners debated if they should buy the
Recreation Director (Don Shipp) a new truck (which he now
uses to drive back and forth to work from his home).
to buy a new truck, the question was asked during citizen
comments about what was being done about the problems at
the recreation department. Comm. Yarbrough immediately
spoke up and said he was at the rec fields twice a week
and he didn’t see any problems.
with many parents and also with some of the children that
utilize the rec fields and participate in the activities
offered, the TWG compiled a list of the complaints that
were heard over and over and over. These problems
have been around for years, but the Commissioners have never
done anything about them.
is the list of the most common complaints:
1. 400 kids
and not enough fields. Waiting lists for teams. How many
people work at Rec, 1? 2?
2. No checks
& balances & Recreation Director not accountable
to anyone. What is the procedural policy, especially with
3. No improvements
in over 5 years (heard from everyone)
4. Rocks all
over the field. (Several people)
5. Nothing maintained
and kept nice.
6. Batting cages—nets
down. No lights where they are. Can’t even use them. Could
help with practice if could use.
7. Parking lot
not maintained. Piles of sand, rocks and gravel sitting
there and has been out there “forever.”
8. Old trailer,
old equipment laying around. Grass all grown up around it.
(everyone comments on this problem)
9. Score Board—Coca
Cola will maintain if order so many Cokes. Rec Director
wouldn’t do this. Baseball board finally got it done. Cost
of just changing a light was ridiculous, now free. No oversight.
What does Rec Board do?
10. Who handles
accounting of money--concessions, tournaments, etc. What
are the checks and balances. Over $3000 raised ONE day at
Concession stand. Where did money go?
groups raise money for special purposes. Baseball, basketball,
etc. No accounting for this money and no visible results
on the fields.
12. 2 years
ago, volunteers sodded and fertilized the main field for
the tournament. Now there is no maintenance other than mowing.
Volunteers have done all the real work for the last several
13. No regular
maintenance of the fields and pitching mounds. (several)
Pitcher mounds need to be rebuilt every year. What does
Rec Director do during off season?
14. 2004 Tournament
sign still up—too lazy to take it down? (heard this from
everyone!) This just shows how unkept things are and Rec
Director doesn’t care.
15. Trash around
all the garbage cans and all over the ground. (Several)
16. All other
counties have nice/perfect fields and everything is clean.
Not at Jasper. It’s embarassing when other teams come from
out of town.
17. Little kids
are having to practice at 7:30-8:00 at night and not getting
finished until 8:45pm. Not right for 6 year olds to have
to practice this late.
is so grown up and junky. Old equipment and stuff just sitting
around. Old lawnmowers and kids play all over it. Someone
is going to get hurt. Landfill is only 20 yards away; you’d
think Rec Director would have enough initiative to haul
the stuff off and clean up the mess.
19. Office upstairs
is nasty. Kids go up and down the steps all the time. Someone
is going to get hurt. Just a disaster waiting to happen.
Need gate or door so only personnel can go up into the “press
20. Kids pay
$40 to sign up and for uniforms. On one team they were 4
uniforms short. These kids were devasted. No excuse for
it! Rec Director doesn’t get anything done. Coaches went
out and bought caps and socks and their own expense for
kids on the team. Don says things are backordered. Why does
he wait so long that things aren’t available when season
bathroom—no toilet paper, lights don’t work. Usually no
This list of complaints and concerns was given
to Bob Yarbrough at 4/17/06 meeting. He again
said he goes two times a week and doesn’t see these problems.
If you are concerned you should contact him and the other
Their email addresses and telephone numbers are listed at
It seems that
since baseball season is over (when we received the above
complaints) that football season hasn’t gotten
off to a good start either. The following editorial
was in the Monticello News on 8/31/06. It’s up to the people
that utilize the Recreation Department to speak up and out
and demand change if they want something to be done!
Football Players Without A Team
Monticello News, 8/31/06
You know, it’s sad that the 11- and 12-year-old boys will
not have a football team this year. Instead, they’ll have
to play within the Butts County Recreation Department with
a bunch of coaches and players that they do not know. What’s
that mean for the 11- and 12-year- old cheerleaders? Are
they, as Monticello Hurricane cheerleaders, to come to Jackson
to cheer or do they cheer at all?
I have been a parent in the stands and I have been a coach
for baseball, Softball and football. I have coached in Monticello
and Conyers. I have been coaching for several years. Never
have I seen a Recreation Department in more need of restructuring.
I would like to know who to blame for the problems.
The director? The County Commissioners? The parents? The
school? Who’s to blame for all the problems? There is no
communication, planning or advertising within that department.
Take last year’s baseball, for instance. Our team made it
to the playoffs. The parents and coaches were given the
wrong dates of games and had to make sudden changes in schedules,
which meant that some of the kids did not make it to the
games. The kids wore uniforms meant for a [different] age
group, (none of the uniforms fit).
Take last year’s football teams, again, we were misinformed
on game dates, causing players to miss games. We played
one game in Jackson and the rest of the games were played
against Spalding County, in Spalding County. We had three
This year with football, we suffer from poor advertising.
Many parents and children was not aware of football signups
until open house on August 10, and final signups were scheduled
for August 12. I’m sure that sign-ups were probably posted
in The Monticello News, but some of the citizens in the
rural areas and some of the tenants in the Turtle Cove area,
who do not work near Monticello, do not receive or buy the
local paper regularly.
Football signups should start on the first day of school
or the weekend prior, with notice given at open house. The
11- and 12-year-olds did not even have a coach of any type
until August 12.
So where does the kids football future stand right now?
Due to commutes from work to home, then from home to Jackson,
some of the parents are being forced to remove the kids
from the team. This is saddening. This is the last or two
years, that they can play and learn the game of football
before trying out for the Junior High squad. Just so you
know, only 10 kids signed up to play.
Others were talked to in school about signing up, but the
parents were unable to do so, because of the lack of notification
and other plans were made. The 10 kids that signed up have
shown that they have the heart and drive to play. Unfortunately,
most of them will not play because of the commute.
These kids are football players without a football
team and its because somebody within the county government
does not care about the kids. I would like
an answer to some, if not all of these questions. So would
these football players who will be sitting at home on Saturdays,
instead of playing the sport that they love, with their
friends, displaying purple and white with pride, as they
have done for the last few years.
What happens with the next sporting season? Chances are,
it will be just as screwed up if changes and improvements
are not put in motion. I ask all parents who
agree with these comments, to respond by letting the County
Commisioners and/or the Recreation Director hear your concerns.
Parent and Coach
** To keep the taxpayers of Jasper County, Georgia informed
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