Snappy New Year!

Dear Readers,

The Takoma Park City Council started the new year snappily with a new suit, a new haircut, and second thoughts. The new suit was councilmember Bruce Williams’ (but he was back to the flannel shirt by the council’s second meeting of the year), the new haircut was councilmember Colleen Clay’s, and the second thoughts were councilmember Terry Seamen’s, though other councilmembers were on the same wavelength. He was wondering if the city really does need a new gym.

The cost of a new gym, to be built (perhaps, but less and less likely) next to the community center/municipal building/library, is estimated between 5.5 and 8.1 million dollars. In December the council discussed finding a way to cut back those estimated costs (see granolapark’s Gymnausium post).

It has come to his attention, he said during the first Council Comment of the new year (Jan. 8), that school gyms (located in the city, but controlled by the county), may be more available to the city than previously understood. That should be investigated thoroughly before plans proceed.

Councilmember Clay, who at past council meetings has debated at length the exact dimensions and materials of individual speed humps, made a new year’s resolution to restrain her tendency to micromanage. Considering her resolution she carefully weighed how to proceed with her next agenda item regarding the city recreation department. She was careful to make only a macro-management suggestion, though it was clearly agonizing, involving much tongue biting. The rec. department’s problem is that, despite prior assurances that the city recreation department would be able to oversee the new community center facilities with the same staff and funding levels, there are problems.

Actually. there was one problem in particular. Councilmember Clay had arrived at the center to use a room she had booked to celebrate her child’s birthday, to find it had been double-booked, and the room unstaffed. This was her personal introduction to a situation that many people have complained about, apparently. Councilmembers Joy Austin-Lane and Terry Seamens both backed Clay up, saying they’ve also heard from constituents about staffing problems. The solution, they agreed, in a strictly macro-management way, of course, is that more funding is needed for staffing.

This is a difficult thing for fiscal-conservatives such as Clay to advocate, yet the need is obviously there. One wonders where the money will come from. This will only pump up the blood pressure of those who are already apoplectic about the community center’s costs and errors. Good thing the hospital is still here – have the ambulances standing by!

– Gilbert.

About the Author

Gilbert is the pseudonym of a hard-bitten, hard-drinking, long-time Takoma Park resident who maintains the granolapark blog. Gilbert and William L. Brown — Granola Park's mild-mannered chief of staff, researcher, and drink pourer — have never been seen in the same place at the same time.

2 Comments on "Snappy New Year!"

  1. Seth Grimes | January 21, 2007 at 7:13 pm |

    To draw the conclusion that more CC operational funds are needed from the situation that CC rooms are double booked is not valid.
    Software has been available for decades to manage scheduling including room booking. It’s cheap and easy to use. If the city is not using such software to manage room bookings, it would be an easy switch. I’d bet they could even find citizen volunteers to help them.
    That’s the kind of change the council should be mandating.

  2. First, it is still so funny that you think I’m a fiscal conservative, but aside from that, I didn’t discover the rec center was double booked when I got there, I discovered it the week prior and made adjustments. What I discovered when I got there is that there was no supervisor on site, the staff were not all capable of self-supervision, and no one had a key to the rooms. I have many other experiences with the rec department that led me to the conclusion they need more supervision, but in part, I didn’t want to just dump on them in public. My goal, contrary to what you seem to believe, is not to slash the city budget, but to provide quality services. In this instant, that means spending more money on staff.
    By the way, this does not make me a tax and spend liberal either.

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