Letter: ‘Save our parks’

September 27, 2022

This November, Ashland voters will soon decide who will be in charge of Director Michael Black and the employees of the Ashland Parks & Recreation department. It is about time for this change.

The Ashland City Council was motivated to act once the city insurance carrier notified the city there is now a 30% ($$$) increase which will be in effect and may be negotiable if Parks & Rec is placed under Ashland City Manager Joe Lessard. Now the voters must decide if closer supervision by the city manager and the City Council will result in fewer expensive lawsuits, and fewer rumors of alleged employee plundering of department supplies and equipment.

Hopefully, under city management, the incessant rubber stamping by the five elected commissioners on the Ashland Parks & Recreation Commission of every little thing Director Black (unelected) puts in front of them will decrease. We elected the APRC to work for the citizens of Ashland and Director Black’s job is to assist them, not entice them to do his bidding.

According to the Ashland.news story of Sept. 22, I read what I consider the latest joke: a 4% cost of living raise just passed to boost morale. And most egregiously, the vote to spend $20,000 to purchase 35 days of potable water for the dead/dying Oak Knoll Golf course green. This, after Black swore he would never ask for more potable water. It is time to role Director Black and Parks & Rec staff under the control of City Manager Lessard.

The APRC appears to dread city manager management. APRC Chair Rick Landt’s suggestion to substitute a “memorandum of understanding with the City Council” is just a red herring designed to defer long overdue oversight — oversight that city manger management would provide.

Susan Hall, RN
Ashland

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