Consequences of Seffinger’s Unsupported Opinions
The “core services” that Seffinger suggests are being preserved are actually being taken away.
What is missing is the local knowledge of the clientele and the personalized outreach developed over years of experience with seniors of all ages, especially older seniors.
After the Commissioners dismantled this robust program the Ad Hoc committee’s plans to restructure the program downgrades services and redirects resources to younger, active seniors eliminating vital support for our most vulnerable seniors.
If the Commissioners and Micheal Black had ever sat with the seniors having lunch, or sat with them on the back porch and played MahJongg with them while children frolicked in the playground, or mingled with the seniors at one of their concerts seated on chairs on the grass under the large oak tree where ice-cream was served afterwards, maybe they would have known what “core services” meant.
Michael Black has indicated that the Center was like a “club” for only a few. However, there are some programs that you support because they are the right thing to do. A compassionate community does this, and doesn’t measure its success in dollars and cents. Why did he pick on a program that was working well and turn it into a cost recovery endeavor? It was only 2% of the total APRC $9,000,000 yearly budget. Why wasn’t the golf course looked at with a 1.7 million dollar running deficit over 10 years. Why did Black state that “drastic measures “would be taken if the Center failed to generate $75,000 in revenue in two years? This raises doubts about their true motives.
If Parks and Rec wants to generate more money and serve a greater number of seniors, why wouldn’t they create a new program and simply leave the Senior Center as is, especially in light of the praise the Mayor and Councilors have given the Program and the staff over the years. Please look at this video of Mayor and Seffinger and Chris Dodson.
Councilor Seffinger suggests that recalling the Commissioners would paralyze City Government .
However, City Charter states:
“A vacant elective office in the City shall be filled within sixty (60) days by the Council electing some qualified person to fill such vacancy. The appointee’s term of office shall begin immediately upon appointment and shall continue until a successor, elected at the next biennial election, takes office for the unexpired term.”
Given that the Clay Street property transaction that has taken over three years to this point and the Briscoe School issue has also been discussed for over a year, 60 days or less doesn’t sound like a problem.
It makes me sad too, that a few people may have misconstrued the reasons they signed the petition to put a recall on the ballot. There were well over 2,000 signatures and signing stopped 10 days ahead of deadline. There were literally people waiting in line to sign who knew exactly why they were signing and were anxious to do so.
The Senior Center Program as we know it was in danger as Michael Black stated, and Gardiner verify that by alluding to the fact that it might be closed. Michael Black was in the process of moving the program over to the Grove under Rachel Dials as he stated and Commissioners voiced a yes vote on his recommendations.
The recall helps prevent it from happening by removing Commissioners who see closure as a possible option and replacing them with Commissioners who will value its services.
Letting go the entire senior center staff is an example of how the commissioners lower Park employees morale by undervaluing staff, and how they have blatantly disregarded community input. Even the Sneak Preview stated that it was the worst thing in 2017 that government has done, “ this year it was a runaway, as the Parks and Rec’s Commission’s handling of the Senior Center was viewed unfavorably by a lot of people.”
The Recall measure is a consequence of a lack of trust in our elected Park Commissioners. It is not limited to one issue either. The five recall reasons include budget mismanagement, personnel mismanagement, breaking public meeting laws, overuse of expensive non-local consultants, and ignoring critical performance audit recommendations. These are serious issues.
Please watch these two short videos in regards to the the City’s budget and Parks and Rec’s deficit.
And go to these two websites for much more information before you vote.