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PC Presentation Related to Rec. and Parks
 

PC Presentation Related to Rec. and Parks

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At their February 3, 2011 meeting, the Prudential Committee presented their position related to the Recreation and Parks governance issue.

At their February 3, 2011 meeting, the Prudential Committee presented their position related to the Recreation and Parks governance issue.

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    PC Presentation Related to Rec. and Parks PC Presentation Related to Rec. and Parks Presentation Transcript

    • ESSEX JUNCTION RECREATION AND PARKS: GOVERNANCE DISCUSSION February 3, 2011 (Research & Development by Cindy Remy)
    • EJRP Today
    • EJRP Structure EJRP Rec. Advisory Council Chittenden Central Supervisory Union EJSD (Prudential Committee) Union #46 School District Westford School District
    • Recreation Advisory Council
      • The Essex Junction Recreation and Parks Advisory Council (Advisory Council) will serve in an advisory capacity to the Department's administrative staff in the development, maintenance, and stewardship of a comprehensive system of leisure and recreational services as provided by the Essex Junction Recreation and Parks Department (EJRP).
    • A Recent History
    • Coexistence Between Village and School District: 1999
      • Issue of coexistence visited by Trustees and PC attorneys prior to PC pool bond vote in 1999
      • Parties understood the pool was a PC asset and the bond was a PC burden (present bond is non-transferable to any other entity for continued duration of the required bond payments)
    • First Agreement Created 2001
      • With municipal merger planning occurring between the Town of Essex and the Village of Essex Junction, attention was given to the governmental services being provided (Libraries, Fire Departments, Recreation Departments, etc.)
    • Rec. Agreement Continued 2006
      • Village merger vote dates:
        • November, 2006 and January, 2007
      • School districts’ “Unified Union” vote date:
        • October, 2007
      • This agreement clarified EJRP status in the event of either a municipal or school merger.
      • (Neither occurred and EJRP remains governed by EJSD – Prudential Committee)
    • Rec. Agreement Continued 2010
      • On March 15, 2010, the Agreement between the Prudential Committee and the Village of Essex Junction was renewed through June 30, 2011.
    • What does the Agreement Say?
      • Village owns three parks
      • PC operates, maintains, and administers Parks and Recreation programs
      • October, 1970 Village approved the transfer of the operation, management, and administration of the Parks and Recreation Program to the PC
      • Since 1971, the PC has operated & administered EJRP
      • EJRP will be turned over to Village if schools unify without municipal merger or a new municipality is created
    • How this all started…
      • EJRP Baseball Field Conversion Plan
      • Planned by EJRP in 2009-2010
      • Concerned citizens make plea to PC to halt project
      • Project halted by EJRP June 14, 2010
    • Essex Reporter : July 8, 2010
      • “ Residents Call For Village To Run Rec Department”
      • “ In continuing fallout over plans to remove a baseball field at Maple Street Park, residents asked the village to retake control of the Essex Junction Recreation and Parks Department…”
    • Essex Reporter: Aug. 5, 2010
      • “ Dispute Widens Over Recreation Oversight”
      • “ The Essex Junction Board of Trustees want a speedy study of how much it will cost the village to operate the Recreation and Parks Department. Not so fast, responded the school board, which currently oversees recreation programs and would need to help with the study…”
    • Burlington Free Press: Aug. 20, 2010
      • “ Essex Junction School Board to Discuss Parks Department”
      • “ The Prudential Committee, which oversees the Essex Junction School District  and the Parks Department, met with the village Board of Trustees last month and weighed whether to renew an agreement (beyond expiration of current agreement in June 30, 2011) regarding the department…”
    • Petition Received Aug, 2010
      • 335 signature petition was served to the PC and Village in August, 2010 asking for change in Rec governance
    • Barra Legal Opinion: Sept. 10, 2010
      • “ The current situation is that the Village has contracted with the PC to run its Recreation Department . The Trustees retain the right and authority to oversee and change its operation…If not renewed, the agreement to run the Village’s Recreation Department ends. The PC would no longer have permission to use the land surrounding the buildings.”
    • Burlington Free Press: Sept. 20, 2010
      • "Essex Junction panel seeks comments on Recreation Department"
      • “ The seven-member advisory council [Recreation Advisory Council] is collecting information and public comments to contribute to future discussions…”
    • EJRP Routine Update to PC: Oct. 18, 2010
      • The PC’s EJRP Director gave a routine update to the Prudential Committee, highlighting exit survey responses from 288 EJRP summer program participants:
        • ≈ 94% respondents were satisfied or better with EJRP programs
        • ≈ 92% respondents were satisfied or better with EJRP staff
        • ≈ 94% respondents were satisfied or better with EJRP facilities
    • Burlington Free Press: Nov. 5, 2010
      • "Essex Junction officials to discuss parks governance"
      • “ The Prudential Committee invited the trustees to meet in January, and to attend four of its budget work sessions in January and February…” 
    • PC’s EJRP Questions Answered at School Board Mtg.: Nov. 8, 2010
      • Executive Director of Operations/CFO publicly answers PC’s questions related to governance and administration at school board meeting
      • Questions include those posed by the Trustees
    • RAC Survey Ends Nov. 9, 2010
      • Public survey open Sept. 14 – Nov. 9, 2010
      • 199 Village residents responded
      • 85% satisfied w/ EJRP staff and programs
      • 72% feel EJRP should remain under PC governance
      • 13% feel transferring EJRP to Village would serve the community well
    • RAC Polls the Parties: Nov. 12, 2010 Audience Responded Did Not Respond Petitioners X Village X CCSU X EJRP X
    • Additions Recommended by Trustees to Agreement: Dec. 10, 2010
      • Creation of yet another level of governance (“Joint Ad Hoc Oversight Committee”)
      • Inclusion of 2 Trustees and Village staffer on Committee
      • Approval of new Agreement by Trustees/PC by Nov. 30, 2011, with failure to reach joint Agreement by January 1, 2012 resulting in EJRP and all programs to be “returned to the Village” on or before July 1, 2012
      • Either party may, with six months notice, “return” the Recreation and Parks Programs to the Village
      • Joint Ad Hoc committee to have authority over operating and capital budgets, authorization of new programs, and hiring/firing of full-time employees
    • RAC Position: Dec. 13, 2010
      • “ As a result of information gathered from the community, the financial facts, and the success of our recreation department over the last forty years, it is clear that EJRP governance by the school district best meets the needs of our community. The Recreation Advisory Council recommends that the current agreement between the Prudential Committee and Board of Trustees be renewed in its same form for a minimum of one year.”
    • Petition Received Jan. 10, 2011
      • Petition signed by over 800 Essex Junction residents
      • “ Dear Essex Junction Prudential Committee and Village of Essex Junction Board of Trustees: We, the undersigned taxpayers/residents of the Village of Essex Junction, request that the Essex Junction Prudential Committee and the Village of Essex Junction Board of Trustees honor the history of success of the Essex Junction Recreation and Parks Department and preserve the current governance structure under the Essex Junction School District.  We request that all existing agreements, ordinances, and relationships be maintained… 
    • Petition Received (cont’d)
      • … We request that no more time, effort, energy, meetings, or tax payer money be spent debating Essex Junction Recreation and Parks governance and that the Essex Junction Prudential Committee continues to provide administration and oversight of the parks, personnel, and programs.  Further we request that, without any changes, the existing contract between the two entities which expires on June 30, 2011, is renewed at least through 2019, when the bond debt is paid off.”
    • Consultant Report: Jan. 11, 2011
      • Denise Clavette presented her commissioned report to the Village Trustees, comparing/ contrasting EJRP with neighboring rec. departments
    • PC/Village Leadership Conversation: Jan. 12, 2011
      • Informal meeting among D. Crawford, M. Deweese, L. Waite-Simpson, D. Billado
      • Four distinct directions discussed:
        • The parties mutually withdraw from this dispute
        • The PC returns EJRP to the Village
        • The Trustees effectuate a “hostile takeover” of EJRP
        • Trustees explore Essex Town/Essex Junction rec. conversation
    • PC/Village Conversation (cont’d)
      • Clarity emerged over core governance issue:
        • Is the Prudential Committee operating EJRP on behalf of the Village, or
        • Had the Trustees turned over the “governance keys” to the Prudential Committee?
      • The PC will revisit at its Jan. 27, 2011 meeting sharing further clarification over its legal position
    • Overton Letter: Jan. 13, 2011
      • “ I remember in 1970 that the Village gave up the Recreation Department because a majority of the Trustees felt the recreational areas were largely for school children and elders.”
    • Trustees “Clarification:” Jan. 20, 2011
      • Asserts Village has responsibility to decide how EJRP is handled
      • Threatens to remand issues of authority and program ownership to the courts
    • Trustees “Clarification” (cont’d)
      • Jan. 31, 2011: petition to the courts by Trustees
      • March 8, 2011: negotiated agreement with PC or an agreement defining reversion of EJRP to Village
      • March 15, 2011: Trustees to notify PC of decision
    • PC Responds to Trustees’ Interests: Jan. 28, 2011
      • Excerpt from Deweese to Crawford e-mail
      • “ As you know, the PC met last evening.  This was the school board's first meeting since our January 11 [sic 12] conversation (you, Linda, Deb & me), and the first school board meeting since the BoT's recent "Clarification" statement (received January 21, 2011).  The PC will be prepared to provide the Trustees with the specifics of the school district's position on the subject of Rec Governance, but cannot meet the BoT's immediate deadline of January 31 (which is less than two business days from now).…
    • PC Responds to Trustees’ Interests (cont’d)
      • … The PC extends an invitation to you and the Board of Trustees to the PC's Thursday, February 3, 2011 meeting.  That evening, the PC will detail its perspective on this important subject… The PC anticipates this meeting will be an important step toward closure on this important matter.”
      • 1969 - Present
      Village and School District History
    • In 1969, around the nation…
      • Nixon becomes president
      • United States withdraws from Vietnam
      • Sesame Street gets its start
      • Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, and The Who appear at Woodstock
      • Simon and Garfunkel's “Mrs. Robinson” is Record of the Year
    • In 1969, locally…
      • Village dealing with sewage treatment issues
      • Talks of a Town/Village municipal merger
      • The new Essex Junction H.S. building is built
      • Essex Town School District is a part of CCSU
      • EJRP is under Village jurisdiction, with citizen discontent with recreation programs and leadership, calling for the “elimination or dramatic improvement” of EJRP
    • Separate Governmental Authorities *2010-2011 = 138 th Annual Report of the Essex Junction School District Village School District Charter X X Annual Meeting X X * Taxing Authority X X Budgets X X The Village and the Essex Junction School District operate as separate municipalities
    • Essex Junction School District Charter
      • The Prudential Committee is “authorized to operate and maintain a recreation program.”
        • VT Title 16 Appendix: Education Charters and Agreements – Chapter 11: Essex Junction School District, §11-3.1. Duties and powers of prudential committee
    • Village of Essex Junction Charter
      • No mention of a recreation department in Village Charter (as authorized by voters in 1985, with subsequent charter amendments thereafter)
    • Village Municipal Code - Definitions
      • “ Parks – means all recreational facilities and land owned by the Village of Essex Junction and used for open space and recreation. It includes, but is not limited to, playgrounds, ball fields, tennis courts, trails, pathways, picnic areas, pools, drives, and parking lots whether such public grounds are developed or undeveloped. This definition does not include recreational bike paths.”
    • EJRP Facilities Owned by the PC
      • “ The School District owns the equipment, facilities and physical improvements including the Maple Street Park Recreation Building and Pool improvements.”
        • Reinforced in the current PC/Village agreement
    • Village Municipal Code – General Regulation of Public Parks
      • “ All Village parks will be operated, maintained, and administered under the direct control and supervision of the Essex Junction Prudential Committee.”
        • Section 301 of Current Essex Junction Municipal Code
    • Prudential Committee Minutes: Oct. 6, 1969
      • “ VII: Motion Made, Seconded, and Passed: That Recreation Department be brought under jurisdiction of Essex Junction Graded School District with final approval of Village Trustees.”
    • Prudential Committee Minutes: January 12, 1970
      • “ Instructed Clerk to write letter to Village stating Prudential Committee position on take-over of Recreation Program. Prudential Committee voted to accept proposal if Village Trustees authorize a $40,000 budget to be raised in the following manner:
    • Prudential Committee Minutes: January 12, 1970 (cont’d)
        • $7,500 from Town.
        • $22,500 from Village
        • All receipts from pool and other sources to be collected and retained by Recreation Fund.
    • Jan. 14, 1970 Letter to Trustees from Prudential Committee
      • “ We would be most pleased to assume the responsibility for operation of the program for the 1970 calendar year, and also to assume complete responsibility for the program starting with calendar year 1971, including the raising of tax revenues…”
    • Suburban List : Jan. 15, 1970
      • “ Schools won’t take over Rec. Dept unless Trustees provide $40,000”
      • The Prudential Committee asked the Trustees to provide them with $40,000 to operate EJRP (per the Trustees’ formal request for the school district to take over the recreation department).
    • Suburban List: Jan. 15, 1970
      • “ Essex trustees to retain Rec. Dept.”
      • Village Trustees decided to retain EJRP after receiving a letter from the PC asking for $40,000 to take over the department. The Trustees also agreed to appoint a Recreation Committee to work with the EJRP Director .
    • Suburban List: Jan. 15, 1970
      • “ Public challenges Trustees’ cut in Rec. budget at public hearing”
      • A summary of a recent Trustees’ meeting was provided, outlining that the Trustees were proposing a $7,000 cut to the Recreation Department’s budget.
    • Suburban List: Feb. 12, 1970
      • “ Essex Junction names Recreation Committee”
      • Five people were appointed by the Village Trustees to be on the Recreation Committee to study the needs of recreation in Essex Junction. They were asked to report back to the Trustees by March 15, 1970.
    • Suburban List: Feb. 12, 1970
      • “ Committee to define recreation, indicate scope”
      • A Recreation Committee appointed by the Trustees will study recreation, beginning by defining it and outlining its scope and requirements. They were also tasked with defining the duties of the Rec. Director.
    • Suburban List: April 9, 1970
      • “ Trustees set up Rec. Board, welcome study Comm. Proposals”
      • Upon completing their study, the Rec. Committee became the interim Recreation Commission. The Trustees would retain policy rights over the Rec. Dept and the interim Commission would work until a Village ordinance was created to make the Commission permanent.
    • Suburban List: April 16, 1970
      • “ Recreation Study Comm. report in summary”
      • The Recreation Committee proposed a Rec. and Park Board be enacted. This board would hire the Rec. Director and establish plans and fees for rec. and park use. They would also propose a budget to the Trustees for approval. They created a sample agreement between the Village and the Schools to show how the Rec. Dept. can work with other entities. They also recommended a “pay-as-you-go” model, along with increased pool restrictions.
    • Suburban List: Oct. 1, 1970
      • “ Letter to the Editor: Essex Recreation Controversy”
      • A letter to the editor from Richard Foot was submitted addressing the controversy of the perceived conflicts between the Trustees and the Rec. Director, resulting in the resignation of the Rec. Director. This letter is asking for a new Director so rec. programs can continue.
    • Village Trustees Minutes October 5, 1970
      • “ Upon the motion of Lavoie, seconded by Stevens, it was moved that the Recreation Department be turned over to the School Department effective as soon as the Prudential Committee approves of the transfer and that all arrangements as to funds and property be made by the Village Manager and School Department and the Village Manager’s decision be final with no review by members of the Board of Trustees…The main motion was then approved by a vote of 3 to 2.”
    • Suburban List: Oct. 8, 1970
      • “ Schools may take over Rec. program, will talk with trustees first”
      • A Trustee presented the idea of turning over the Recreation Department to the school district since there was a lull in programs and finances. The PC was willing to take over the department , pending a discussion with the Trustees to review financials and operating necessities.
    • Prudential Committee Minutes: October 8, 1970
      • “ 1. Motion that the School Board accept the offer of the Trustees to assume administrative and financial responsibility for the Essex Junction recreation program with the following understanding:
    • Prudential Committee Minutes: October 8, 1970 (cont’d)
      • Administrative responsibility shall be assumed effective this date .
      • Fiscal responsibility shall be assumed April 1, 1971. The Trustees shall assume all necessary expenses between expiration of the present budget (December 31, 1970) and the assumption of the School Board budget for recreation (April 1, 1971).
      • Motion passed.”
    • Suburban List: Oct. 15, 1970
      • “ Schools take over Village Recreation”
      • The Trustees and the PC agreed the School District would take over the Rec. Dept . There was a formal motion to transfer the department to the Essex Junction School District, with administrative responsibilities shifting April 1, 1970. Further negotiations were now to occur between the Village Manager and the PC, and were not to include the Trustees.
    • Suburban List: Nov. 19, 1970
      • “ New Rec. Director looks forward to working in Essex”
      • A new Recreation Director was hired by the School District, which had taken over jurisdiction of the Recreation Department.
    • Prudential Committee 1970 Executive Session Outcomes
      • “ That the financial affairs of the Recreation Department be handled through the Business Managers [sic] Office of Chittenden Central School District using established business procedures.”
    • 1971 EJSD Annual Report
      • Superintendent’s Report
      • Warning for May 11, 1971 Annual Meeting
    • 1971 EJSD Annual Report Superintendent’s Report
      • “ RECREATION: The Village Trustees, recognizing that practically all areas available for recreation in the village were school property, turned recreation over to the Prudential Committee.”
    • May 11, 1971 Annual Meeting Warning Excerpt
      • “ ARTICLE 5. To see whether the District will vote a sum of money in the amount of $50,919 for necessary and incidental expenses of the Recreation Department for the ensuing year, to pay interest on its indebtedness.”
    • 1972 EJSD Annual Report
      • Warning for May 9, 1972 Annual Meeting
    • May 9, 1972 Annual Meeting Warning Excerpt
      • “ ARTICLE VI. To see whether the District will vote a sum of money in the amount of Fifty-Two Thousand Nine Hundred and Ninety Dollars ($52,990) for necessary and incidental expenses of the Recreation Department for the ensuing year, to pay interest on its indebtedness and to pay present indebtedness”
    • May 9, 1972 Annual Meeting Warning Excerpt (cont’d)
      • ARTICLE VII. (Explanatory Note: As in the case of the regular taxes (ARTICLE IV). The Recreation budget must be placed on a fiscal year ending June 30. The same choice is therefore offered regarding the change-over, that is a one-year transition or a three-year, one month at a time transition”
    • From the Village Web-Site “ Village schools and the Village recreation and parks department are under the jurisdiction of the Essex Junction School District.”
    • Quick Facts (Summary)
    • EJRP Tax and Program Revenue
    • EJRP Tax Rate History
    • Resources Devoted To This Issue Type Village School District Legal Fees X Consultant Fees X Time X X
    • What’s Been Considered? Item Board of Trustees Prudential Committee Barra Legal Opinion X X Consultant’s Report X X Overton Letter X X 300+ Citizen Petition X X 800+ Citizen Petition ? X School Charter ? X Municipal Charter ? X Municipal Code ? X Historical School Records ? X Historical Newspaper Articles ? X Historical Trustees Minutes ? X Historical PC Minutes ? X
    • The Prudential Committee’s Position on Rec. Governance
    • Governance
      • Language is key to the conversation. The records speak to both the spirit, intent, and actions.
      gov·ern·ance   [guhv-er-n uh ns] –noun 1.   government; exercise of authority; control. 2.   a method or system of government or management. dictionary.com  (From Random House Dictionary, 2011)
    • Governance Synonyms
    • Basis of Prudential Committee’s Rec. Governance Status
      • “ PC is authorized to operate and maintain a recreation program”
        • 16 VSA Appendix: Education Charters and Amendments - Chapter 11:  Essex Junction School District, §11-3.1.  Duties and powers of prudential committee.
      • “ will be operated, maintained, and administered under the direct control and supervision of the PC”
        • Section 301 of current Essex Junction Municipal Code
    • Basis of Prudential Committee’s Rec. Governance Status (cont’d)
      • “ pleased to assume responsibility for operation of the program for the 1970 calendar year and also to assume complete responsibility for the program starting with the calendar year 1971, including the raising of tax revenues”
        • [Letter:  PC to Trustees, dated Jan. 14, 1970]
    • Basis of Prudential Committee’s Rec. Governance Status (cont’d)
      • “ ... it was moved that the Recreation Department be turned over to the School Department effective as soon as the Prudential Committee approves the transfer ….”  (passed 3 - 2)   
        • [Village Board of Trustees’ minutes:  October 5, 1970]
      • “ Motion that the School Board accept the offer of the Trustees to assume administrative and financial responsibility for the Essex Junction recreation program...”
        • [PC minutes:  October 8, 1970]
    • Basis of Prudential Committee’s Rec. Governance Status (cont’d)
      • None of the language found in the records indicate that the EJRP governance shift from the Village to the school district:
        • is temporary
        • is a contracted service for the Village Trustees
        • is ambiguous
    • In Summary
      • 10. Under PC stewardship, EJRP programs have grown to serve its public without increasing  taxes for a number of years
      • 9. Arrangement for the past 40 years between Village and School for EJRP co-existence
      • 8. Demonstrated history of Rec. instability under Trustees’ leadership (pre 1970) and demonstrated history of excellence under PC (since 1970)
    • In Summary (cont’d)
      • 7. PC has the governance authority to develop the budget and set the tax rate each year for its Recreation Department  
      • 6. PC has employed personnel, set policy, and overseen programming for 40+ years (without supervision/evaluation/funding or other resources from the Village)
      • 5. PC and Village entered into formal “Agreement” since 2001 for sole & express purpose of “what if” merger talks (both municipal and school) and effect on EJRP
    • In Summary (cont’d)
      • 4. Clear historical record of Rec. governance transition from Village to PC; clear record of PC authority
      • 3. 800+ citizen petition urging continuity of existing conditions (and Agreement), evidence of widespread community support for current structure
      • 2. The PC finds the Trustees’ threat of legal action inappropriate and a two-fold waste of taxpayer money (for both Village and School District)
      • 1. Unlike the Trustees, the PC is considering placing a non-binding referendum on its School District Annual Meeting Warning to more broadly assess the will of the voters on whether the PC should consider returning its Rec Dept to the Village.
    • “ We have a wonderful recreation department that is being ran in our community.” -Deb Billado, Village Trustee
    • “ I think they do a wonderful job offering programs for kids and families and coordinating with the schools in using the facilities. I don’t think any change is needed!” -EJRP Customer
    • “ The parks, programs, and additional functions like 4 th of July and Memorial Day Parade are excellent. The staff is incredible and very dedicated.” -EJRP Customer
    • “ I think they do a great job. EJRP is one of the programs that truly adds value to living in this community.” -EJRP Customer
    • “ The Recreation Department educates and strengthens our community in so many ways, ranging from senior citizen programs to after-school care and preschool program.” -EJRP Customer
    • “ I think our parks and programs are among the best in the state. I am impressed with the variety of programs offered and the maintenance of our parks and facilities.” -EJRP Customer
    • “ EJRP is known as one of the premier recreation and parks departments in Vermont.” -Report to the Trustees by Denise Clavette
    • “ EJRP rocks! Great, well-maintained programs + quality staff + quality programs = happy children and happy parents” -EJRP Customers