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Changes at Grand Lake rec district were painful but necessary

To the Editor:

I served on a committee to support the Grand Lake Metropolitan Recreation District bond issue two years ago. As a long time resident of the District, I concluded at that time that the District was in deep financial trouble if it did not address serious infrastructure needs and get a handle on its operating budget. I am pleased that the improvements financed by the bond issue have been accomplished to date within the projected budget.

I am pleased that a year ago the trustees hired a competent general manager who not only is a PGA-certified golf professional but also an experienced general manager. At the time of his hiring, it is my understanding that his “two for one” credentials would replace the former operating structure of a golf professional and a general recreation manager.

I don’t believe that anyone questions the devotion and work that Becky McBride contributed to the District, but the fact is that times have changed and the trustees correctly restructured the management of the District to assure the continuation of services within its means.

There is no doubt that the trustees’ compassion ruled when they continued Ms. McBride’s employment for a “transition” period with the new general manager. The recent termination of her employment had nothing to do with her prior performance. It had everything to do with completing the restructuring of the management of the District and fiscal responsibility.

Working cooperatively with other agencies is a virtue in public administration. The Youth Theatre program, for instance, grew and flourished last summer and promises to be even stronger this next year.

I understand that the District is actively working with the East Grand School District to take advantage of the skills and resources of the schools to provide even better programs for the youth and other residents of the Recreation District. That is good for the youth and other residents and for the taxpayers who support these programs. It is not uncommon in other communities for the recreation district to work cooperatively with the school district community education programs to jointly use staff and facilities.

Change often is difficult, and changes in personnel we care about are even more difficult. However, it is time to move on and to support the changes that have been made. It is unfortunate that two of the trustees of the Recreation District seem to be putting personal friendship ahead of good public policy.

Hopefully, with the help of the moderator suggested at the last meeting of the trustees, the board will begin to work cohesively to move the District forward in what has become a very competitive market in tough economic times.

Marv Aiken

Grand Lake


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