Restructure could let Parks & Rec board focus on programming

Published 7:59 pm Friday, February 15, 2019

The Danville-Boyle County Parks and Recreation agency and its board could soon be restructured as a department of the City of Danville, if a proposal currently being negotiated passes.

Currently, Parks & Rec is governed by its own board of directors, who are appointed by the agency’s funding governments, Danville and Boyle County.

Danville City Attorney Stephen Dexter said restructuring Parks & Rec within Danville’s government would put “the board back into its sweet spot.” The board has been asked to do more than it should, he said.

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“As a department of the city, what it would allow the board to do is to do really what citizens are vested in doing and that is with programming,” Dexter said. “Your citizen lay board shouldn’t be encumbered with mowing contracts and paving. … It should really be about programing the parks that exist and that’s what people should be empowered to do.”

Dexter said a restructure would allow the board “to operate as any other recommending committee, to do what they’re good at and not be saddled with some of these larger issues.”

The Parks & Rec director would work for the board, but “would ultimately report to the city manager and be an employee of the city,” Dexter explained.

Parks and Rec board chair Bryce Perry said hiring a new director has been difficult because of the way the department is currently structured.

The board began its hiring process in November, Perry said. One highly qualified candidate turned down the job offer because “she didn’t know who she was going to be reporting to six months from now. … There’s a whole lot of stuff that was up in the air that she wasn’t comfortable with.”

Perry said the way the Parks & Rec board currently has to handle personnel matters, contracts and spending has also been problematic.

“Just normal people are responsible for hundreds of thousands of dollars of government money,” said Perry, who is also a certified public accountant.

And, there are “holes” in how the board functions, he added.

“We have good people. We’re doing great things,” Perry said. “There’s just things that I would consider yellow flags. … If we can get it consolidated to where everyone is on the same page, and we have a director, I do think that can be beneficial to everyone going forward.

“… If it was up to us, we’d like to continue operating in a similar manner, and have an opportunity to implement a lot of the stuff that’s in the master (parks) plan that’s been recommended to us.”