I never dreamed that a dustup over paying officials at rec league games at Camp Jordan would lead to the resignation of the director and two city employees.
Are you kidding me? We don’t get rid of employees over minor stuff like that around here, do we? Last time I looked the city manager was bumping salaries to virtually all of our 130 full-timers by a total of $600,000 to get them to stick around.
I thought if some of our folks were going to be shown the door it would be over some egregious near-capital crime witnessed by hundreds in the clear light of day, not some paper-pushing, check-cutting misdemeanor involving all of 500 bucks. Please!
I can understand why the trio had to go. By the letter of that holy book known as East Ridge City Code – which is trotted out occasionally when its useful – there was a violation. Yeah, for good measure let’s throw in three or four potential criminal charges and it’s pretty clear heads had to roll.
Let me ask you this; what is ever crystal clear in East Ridge?
If you keep your ear to the ground _ heck in these parts you can just cock your head slightly _ you pick up all kinds of scuttle about what’s really going on. Here’s one version of what really happened: the parks & rec director was on the bad side of a city councilman. Councilman got what he wanted. The other two were collateral damage. Here’s another version: An underling has bad dirt on the guy in the corner office with the windows. Get rid of the parks & rec director or I play the card.
Come on man!
Here’s what might have happened. For the first time in decades, the city has a legitimate human resources manager with all the credentials. She gets information from outside the walls of city hall about a payroll issue. The HR manager pursues the matter that leads to the resignations because they got caught. In this city in the not-to-distant past, this matter would have been swept under the rug and no one would be the wiser.
Here’s what needs to happen. The city council needs to demand that the city hire an independent firm to perform a forensic audit of the operations at Camp Jordan Park. While we’re doing a little housekeeping we might as well go full monty. If there are issues uncovered, address them.
Then, the city council needs to demand that a stand-alone fund be established for the finances at Camp Jordan Park. Let’s make it so clear that a fifth-grader, or for that matter the average taxpaying citizen, can understand how much money the city puts into the park and what kind of return on investment the city takes away from the park.
It is my belief that these measures would go far in quashing crazy conspiracy theories floating around and reveal just how lustrous (or not) is Camp Jordan Park, aka “The crown jewel” of East Ridge.