City prepares for next meeting with county over Parks & Rec

Published 6:32 pm Thursday, April 11, 2019

Monday night, City Manager Ron Scott reminded commissioners during their regular meeting about another joint meeting with the county coming up. The agenda will be to further discuss what entity will manage the Danville-Boyle County Parks & Recreation agency.

“The topic is Parks & Rec, the joint ordinance, in terms of the provisions of that, and a discussion with regard to any modifications or affirmations of confirmations on that ordinance that we need to have clarity on as the city and county prepare budgets going forward,” Scott said. “So, that should be a good discussion.”

Both the city and county ordinances from the ‘90s state funding is to be 50/50 between both governments, something Scott has said hasn’t been followed for years. The ordinances also state that the volunteer board oversees hiring a director, as well as performs other administrative functions of the agency.

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Earlier this year, the city drafted a proposal to take over management of the agency, expressing concerns over the city’s parks not being included in the maintenance plans due to a focus on Millennium Park. The city also contends that the system has outgrown being managed by a volunteer board.

If the county had agreed, then the city would have been responsible for hiring a director, who would ultimately report to Scott, and the board would function in more of an advisory capacity.

However, the county voted down the offer 5-2 in February. The majority opinion on the fiscal court is that the ordinance could be updated or “tweaked,” but the board should be left alone to do its job and hire a director.

Former, long-time Parks & Rec Director John Drake retired last summer. Apparently, the board lost out on some candidates during the first hiring go-around, due to the confusion over who a new director would report to.

And some magistrates scoffed at the “single government entity” opinion, issued by a consulting firm after it completed a study; the firm said reorganization was needed due to confusion of who oversees parks, and who to contact for what. It said management and organization of the agency and the parks would benefit by being under a single entity, which some magistrates say is exactly what the board is — a single entity made up of city, county and joint members.

Commissioner Rick Serres said he had a question for Scott. “And you may not know, that’s OK, just tell me that. But all the new resumes for the new director of Parks & Rec have been flowing through city hall here. Do you have anything to share that you know? I know (the resumes) are going to the board to make a selection.”

“To be precise on that, the city — at the request of the Parks & Rec board — did conduct an advertisement and resumes submitted to city hall; I believe the deadline was Feb. 15,” Scott said. He said the city began, before the deadline arrived, turning over all applicants to Bryce Perry, chair of the Parks & Rec board.

“I think we may have had 21 or 22 who completed applications and sent in resumes,” Scott said. “I haven’t been involved in this, but the board — as I understand it — went through a process of reviewing those and prioritizing their finalists.”

He said he was advised by the board chair that they narrowed it down and have conducted interviews with the finalists. “I believe it may have gone so far as to have a job offered to one of those individuals. That’s the last that I heard, and this is second-hand information provided to me, I was not directly involved. I think it’s moving along,” Scott said.

Perry did appear before Boyle County Fiscal Court earlier in the month, and said the board is starting to see some light at the end of the tunnel, where hiring a new director is concerned. However, after the meeting, Perry said he had nothing else to release about the search at this point.

“I think a lot of people are wondering about that,” Serres said. “I think the other thing the public may need to know is how the search for the director of the Heart of Danville is going.”

The Heart’s former director, Nick Wade, relocated to northern Kentucky for another opportunity.

“I know less about that. My knowledge was generally — they’re kind of considering the position and not embarking over any advertising or recruitment immediately,” Scott said. “I think they are going to assess where they are, what the budget may hold related to what they intend to do.”

He said he gathered this due to his conversation with the board chair of The Heart.

But Mayor Mike Perros wanted to return to the application process over the Parks & Rec director. He said he wanted to make clarification point.

“Again, I’ll make this point. The city was asked by the Parks & Rec board to create a process and procedure for the advertisement and collection of applications,” Perros said.

During some past fiscal court meetings, some magistrates also made comments about how the city has “taken over” the interviewing process for Parks & Rec, since the position was advertised on the city’s website.

“Well, that’s true,” Scott replied. He said that’s true on both occasions, referring to the first go-around with director applicants.

“We were asked the first time, and they activated the interview process after we had again developed a job description … At the conclusion of that process, the Parks & Rec chair or committee did come and ask if the city would develop that job description and advertise for the position,” he said. “Not to hire for the position, but simply begin the process. But we did that, yes.”

“That point is a good one,” City Attorney Steven Dexter said. “And also the fact that it could lead to the conclusion that some type of restructuring is imperative, due to the fact that a board consisting of lay people in this community — valued volunteers, for sure — however, lacking in administrative capability to manage human resources and limited resources is significant, and all the more ushers a need for a collaborative governmental approach. But I think that is a critical point to note and to understand ahead of (Monday’s joint) meeting.”


The joint meeting between Danville City Commission and Boyle County Fiscal Court over management of the Danville-Boyle County Parks & Recreation agency will be 4:30 p.m. Monday in the community room of Inter-County Energy, 1009 Hustonville Road.