Parks commissioners were busy at their Oct. 20 regular meeting, their first since Chair Ruth Hager dismissed Executive-Director Justin Huss and the commission appointed Scott Miskiel as interim director.
Approval of first and second quarter financials did come to a successful vote but commissioner Kevin Reuhle said that while the financials were approvable, Parks needed to do better. He said the information provided was not useable in a budget and felt that commissioner comments to Windle & Associates had not been followed up on. The only one to abstain from votes on financials was commissioner Sam Dudley, saying he had not had time to look at them.
Included in old business was the creation of committees to round out oversight of the Parks department. Two commissioners had to volunteer for each committee. Hager and Carmen Burden were voted to Ethics & Grievance, Reuhle and Scott Barden were voted to Finance & Stewardship, and Dudley and Dave Hartmann were voted to Reports and Longrange Planning. The commission then created an ad hoc hiring committee made of commissioners Christian Super, Hager, and Dudley to explore the expectations of a future director.
Shuttle stick stirs the pot
The motion to reject all Requests for Proposals and all future RFPs in regards to shuttle services in Lake Leatherwood was made by Bardin and moved into discussion after Reuhle seconded. Bardin explained that due to the clerical error on bid dates, he felt the commission needed to reject all RFPs and rebid the shuttles if the commission felt it necessary.
The original RFP was announced in July when former director Justin Huss brought the idea to outsource shuttle services in Lake Leatherwood. The original RFP was mean to be active for August but the clerical error caused the bid to be open until Sept. 28 and the commission had opened Slaughter Trail Guides bid at their Sept. 15 meeting.
Bardin said that rejecting the RFPs was about protecting the commission from legal action so that future bid documents would be correct. Dustin Slaughter of Slaughter Trail Guides said he was disappointed at the lack of support Parks was showing to honor a bid and that they were inviting legal action as his bid was distributed and became known after the commission opened it at their September meeting. He suggested that the commission consult with city attorney Tim Weaver before taking further action.
Reuhle said that the bid had only been open to commission but also said that in his experience an RFP that returns only one bid is thrown out “Because it’s uncompetitive.” Mr. Slaughter then made the suggestion that the commission table the motion until they receive input from Tim Weaver.
Bardin refused to withdraw his bid and the commission was required to vote on the matter. Dudley, Hartmann, and Super all abstained from the vote while Burden, Reuhle, and Bardin all gave their support. This left the commission without enough votes to approve the motion and it failed.
Hager said she would speak to Tim Weaver and Super suggested that shuttles should be discussed at the November workshop. Bardin voiced it was hard to discuss the subject with the legal document still active and that he had already made his motion showing his opinion on the matter.
Miskiel noted the progress made to the repair of Beacham Trail, used both as a walking trail and for emergency services, but which has been impassable because of a culvert washing out. Employees doubled the culvert out and repaired rockwork, including excavating gravel from a creek bed. He also said that they used concrete gravel as it is a requirement since the trail is used as a road.
- When it came to Christmas lights Miskiel said that he had no information on whether the CAPC would supply the department with money. The department will change how they string lights in Basin Park to avoid using heavy equipment in the park out of concern for employee safety.
- Resources are being committed to the Dog Park including a mini-excavator to haul in gravel and stabilize the roadway above.
- The fountain as Basin Park is being made operable once more.
- A light damaged in Basin Park will be fixed.
- Work was to be done at Magnetic Spring to prevent algae growth along the steps.
- Volunteer coordination software is online and those interested can go to eurekaparks.com to sign up.
- Carmen Burden reported on the trails committee first meeting with 11 having been in attendance.
- The commission voted to add new commissioners to the bank signature card.
- The meeting minutes for Sept. 15 and Oct. 7 were approved.
The next regular meeting will be Nov. 17 at 6 p.m. at the Auditorium.