This week at the meeting of Park Board Commissioners there will be a discussion item on the regular board agenda about of all things, constituent services. This should be of interest to the public because they include in the discussion description some interesting things.
- Should they be able to hire staff to assist them with constituent services? No, why do they need more staff? The commissioners are suppose to work with the Superintendent, the Deputy Superintendent and the 3 Assistant Superintendents to solve constituent issues. Maybe if more of them had attended the orientations offered they would know where to go….
A) Trouble with something like lawn mowing, plowing or trash pick up….that would be the Assistant Superintendent for Environmental Services (Jeremy Barrick)
B) You have rude coach, unpleasant rec center staff, lack of field access…that would be the Assistant Superintendent for Recreation (Tyrize Cox)
C) You aren’t sure when one of your parks is due new playground equipment or why the construction at your rec center is delayed… that would be the Assistant Superintendent for Planning (Michael Schroeder)
D) You want to know how much is spent on community engagement in your area, how to know if the folks running the concessions at Columbia Golf are paying their contracted fees to the MPRB, or if Juneteenth is going to happen or if they have defaulted on paying the MPRB … that would fall under the Deputy Superintendent (Jennifer Ringold) and finally
E) If it is a legal question or something you don’t feel falls into one of the categories above, contact the Interim Superintendent Mary Merrill. She should be able to get people to pick up their phones.
2. Should the commissioners have a budget to hold meetings with their constituents? No, again this is part of community engagement that the park board already budgets for annually. Problems at East Phillips with the needs of your Hispanic constituents and soccer. Bring in the translators, print up some flyers in Spanish, partner with Waite House and invite other commissioners and senior staff to join you. Want to meet constituents for a talk. There is an office provided for all 9 of the PART TIME commissioners to share at the MPRB headquarters. You can schedule a larger meeting room at the HQ with the customer service staff or my favorite meet at a local park, the staff can schedule you a room. If all else fails coffee shop meetings put dollars back into the local community, but the MPRB and the taxpayers should NOT have to pay for your espresso.
3. Other: Having heard that some of the commissioners thought they would be getting their own offices and staff like at City Hall I wonder if any of them did the research as to what this job entails. Did you pick up the phone and ask one of the outgoing commissioners? Did you ask anyone at the Park Board? Did you not feel that there would be some work you would have to do to earn your $12,440 per year? You also can turn in mileage and parking of up to $200 a year and let’s not forget your access to health insurance at a really good rate, the VEBA the MPRB pays you to cover most of your deductible, and the $13,000 life insurance policy your family gets to collect if you die in office. You also have to opportunity to put money into PERA (the public employee retirement system) a lot better deal than a 401(K) as the state doesn’t get to be let off the hook if the system makes bad investments.
Pay attention to this discussion taxpayers!!!!