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Parks Committee Details History & Details of Babe Ruth League Issues

April 13th, 2012 by

The Monticello Parks and Recreatin Committee spent almost 20 minutes of their Thursday meeting going over the history of the commission / committee, and it’s ongoing issues with the Monticello Babe Ruth league.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
New Baseball League to Play at Burlington Field in Place of Babe Ruth, Approved by Parks Commission / Committee
March 27, 2012

Monday night, City Attorney Witt Barton told the parks committee that his involvement in the baseball field contract issues began when he received a letter from a Little Rock attorney, representing Babe Ruth and Drew County Cal Ripken baseball leagues.

Some of the letter’s points seemed to show validity, so the City Council Re-designated the P&R commission as the P&R committee at their last meeting.

All but three local leagues, have returned signed contracts.
Those three leagues are Monticello Babe Ruth, Drew County Cal Ripken, and MYSA (soccer).

Another group has now asked to be the “service provider” at Burlington Field.

Bubba Clemons spoke to the committee, representing Monticello Baseball Association, Clemons discussed issues with the local Babe Ruth board, it’s members, and it’s policies.  Specific problems mentioned included board member election, by-laws, and financial transparency.

Clemons said his group met with three of the league’s board members, to no resolution, last week.

The proposed new league has  charters, by-laws, and “50 kids signed up to play ball”.   When asked, they answered that they have signed a contract with the city.

Since the new organization has signed a city contract, they will now have access to city property, until the city council makes their binding decision.

David Cason, who called one of the first meetings of parents that led to this new league, made a motion for the parks committee to allow them to use Burlington Field 2-3 nights per week.  The committee voted to proceed with the new USSSA league, at Burlington Field, in place of the local Babe Ruth organization.

MHS will have use of the field during the state baseball playoffs.

The committee voted to remove their request for any league’s financial information, unless funds are requested by the city.

The City Council may address these issues at their April meeting, scheduled for 19.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Concerned Parents Meet to Discuss Babe Ruth League, Contract, & Board at Burlington Field, Saturday – VIDEO
March 5, 2012

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
MLive Banned from Public Meeting at City Hall by Parks Commissioner Who Called a “Concerned Citizens” Meeting
Feb. 29, 2012

Tuesday afternoon, MonticelloLive.com’s Joe Burgess received a phone call from a concerned parent, and an e-mail from another, asking for news coverage at a meeting called by a parks commission member, to discuss “the Babe Ruth League hasn’t signed their contract with the parks commission, and the kids won’t be able to play baseball, this year.”

Burgess arrived a few minutes early at the meeting, which was held at City Hall at 6 pm.  He asked Mayor Allen Maxwell if the meeting was called by the city or by the parks commission.  Maxwell answered that (parks commission member David) Cason had called the meeting, so he should be asked if MLive had permission to be in attendance.  When Cason arrived at the meeting at approximately 6:05, the reporter told him that MLive’s coverage of the meeting had been requested by anonymous members of the 15 in attendance.

Cason replied, “I’d rather you didn’t.  This is an informal meeting of concerned citizens.”  The reporter, already at the front of the room, told the group present that he had been asked to leave, and requested someone present call him with what was said or done during the “closed door” event.

1 1/2 hours later, when the meeting adjourned, Burgess, who had been waiting on the city hall steps, again entered the City Council Chambers, to interview Cason, who did welcome questions.

The attached audio file contains the full interview of Cason by MonticelloLive.

Cason’s answers included…..
1.    the all other city affiliated leagues had returned their contracts to the city,
2.  There is no (Babe Ruth) league, since they didn’t return their contract.
3.   There will be another meeting of “concerned parents” at Burlington Field, Saturday morning at 10 am, “and talk about it, then.”  MonticelloLive plans to attend that meeting as well.
4.  Responses by Cason about public use of the City Council Chambers are also interesting.

~~~~~~~~~~~~

When the Mayor’s office was contacted Wednesday morning, they report that only Monticello Cal Ripken, Monticello Girls Softball League, and the Drew County Bow Hunters Association have signed and returned their contracts.

If Cason’s “doesn’t exist” logic is correct for the local Babe Ruth League; then the Monticello Marlins Swim Team, MYSA Soccer League, Drew County Cal Ripken League, and Co-Ed Softball League no longer exist either.

Once again, Mayor Maxwell said the meeting was not called by the city parks commission, by rather by their member, Cason, who was serving as “liaison” to the Babe Ruth League.

50 Responses to “Parks Committee Details History & Details of Babe Ruth League Issues”

  1. Jimmy says:

    In my opinion this board is a joke, the board should be made up of people in the community that have an interest in the youth. We as citizens with children should be represented by people who either have children perticipating or have a strong interest in seeing that our children are represented well.

  2. uh oh says:

    they banned the great almighty joe burgess?? oh how dare they? maybe some people are finally seeing thru mr nice act

  3. don crook says:

    If i was’nt so old,, i would run for Mayor, or city council and do my best to clean that mess up..

  4. CSP says:

    Why did you leave, Joe? Being ASKED to leave is much different than being banned. You had a right to be there and should have stayed!

  5. Shane Williams says:

    Why did they not return their contract? Or was it just misplaced? You should be looking for it. NOW!!!!!

  6. huh? says:

    “If Cason’s “doesn’t exist” logic is correct for the local Babe Ruth League; then the Monticello Marlins Swim Team, MYSA Soccer League, Drew County Cal Ripken League, and Co-Ed Softball League no longer exist either.”

    What is this logic? Can someone explain, or is this just a very bad assumption? There is no established link to these organizations in the article. The point of Journalism is to inform, no?

  7. Susan says:

    A meeting of Parks/Rec is a public meeting. They must give a 2 hour warning of any such meeting to the press. If done so in private, someone should call the ACLU.

  8. suzzie says:

    this sounds like every thing else that happens in monticello we need to clean house in the city only a select few has their say blessall the kids who are in school now they are even told what they can eat at school shame /shame its the kids that have to pay

  9. AGM says:

    My kids don’t play baseball, however Monticello has had a Babe Ruth League AND little league and who knows how many other baseball organizations for YEARS. I went to the games when I was a kid/teenager years ago. Seem like a very lame excuse from the former “Coach” Cason!!!

  10. Hello says:

    As bad as I hate to agree with Dave Cason on this the other youth groups should not have access as well. I personally know the marlins will be allowed to continue because the Mayor himself has two granddaughters envolved with this group. It is really weird Monticello has never had any issues until the new City Government took over. Just look at everything in our great community we are losing due to it. Also I want to commend Joe Burgess and his staff on a job well done with their coverage in our area. Joe you should have stayed, Babe ruth is a public not a personal organization like it is treated in our town

  11. dollar bill says:

    id like to know what allen thinks is so funny? he sure has a big grin on his face in the pic.

  12. Registered Voter says:

    So the Mayor can attend this “informal meeting of concerned citizens” but the media is not welcome? That is illegal. How many criminal acts will this administration commit?

  13. Lila says:

    Dear Huh?, if you have such contempt for Joe and his reporting, why are you on here? Without him you wouldn’t be able to get on here and make snide comments. Just wondering.

  14. Dave Cason says:

    After listening to the recording, you will note that I did not say that all the other groups had turned in their contracts to use the field, but that they had turned in the information the commission had requested to better serve the leagues and evaluate their needs. Noone who had in the past used a facility was denied access, but were asked that they only enter into an agreement outlining the expectations of the parties to one another. These agreements (contracts) are for one year and are commonly used among similarly-sized communities around the state and country. Additionally, the city council chambers are not sacred, but rather is a room that belongs to the public.

  15. Parent says:

    This was not a meeting of the Parks and Recreation Commission. It was a called meeting for parents of Babe Ruth players. Mr. Cason is a commission member who also serves as the liason for Babe Ruth. New policies have been put in place by the commission this year. All current leagues were to have certain documents turned into the city by a certain date. A lot of these leagues are still gathering information and documents to satisfy these requirements. I don’t know what the commission plans to do about those leagues who have not turned in their documentation, but I would hope there is a grace period since this is all new. As for the commission being made up of people who have children involved in the activities; I don’t know all of the commission members, but at least 6 of the commission members listed have children actively involved in these leagues. Why do people always have to gripe? Mr. Cason is simply trying to make sure this league continues so that young men have a place to play ball and won’t end up in a courtroom or overcrowding jail cells. What have you done to help solve the problem?

  16. Archaeopteryx says:

    You’d think that Cason would know the old adage, “Never pick a fight with a man who buys ink by the barrel.”

  17. Not Hard to figure says:

    The Mayor has a big grin on his face. I am sure he had already planned banning you from the meeting before hand with Dave Cason. When you did the water leaks picture you are on his list.
    He will do you like he did Ken Harper. He will be after you and definitely won’t want you on City Council. And as stated on the above comments who it will hurt will be the youth groups. I can not believe that they expect a judge to clean the toilets in the district court. These all are city property and should have a janitor for all of them. If they don’t have a janitor, then hire one, at least this would be one job created for the city and since they would also be cleaning for the MEDC office, they could claim it as a job produced by the ME$DC. OH Well, the Mayor needs to grow up and be a Mayor and take some responsibility and stop playing “GOTCHA” AND TEND TO PUBLIC BUSINESS AND STOP SPENDING OUT OF THE WATER FUND FOR UNNECESSARY PROJECTS. Congratulations Joe on running and stepping up, so put the citizens first if you get elected.

  18. CR says:

    This is what happens when an administration comes in and starts creating “commissions” for everything under the sun – chaos!. More government = more problems. I don’t know all of the specifics of this particular issue, but I do know that all baseball, softball, swim, etc. leagues were fully functional before this year and the development of this commission…

  19. Kevin says:

    Babe Ruth is not the only league to play summer baseball in, but to play the other league (USSSA) you have to be willing to travel. You might find out your kids enjoy playing with people from other towns also.

  20. and says:

    As far as I can tell the meeting on Saturday is for all parents and boys age 13-15 that want to play baseball. Unfortunately, the current Babe Ruth baseball board did not return their “contract” to the Parks commission by the deadline established last year. It is rumored that this same baseball board didn’t return the required information to the National Babe Ruth for its Charter.
    With all of this being said, Saturday is the first step towards getting information and needed action to begin the process of having a summer baseball league for our boys. I would also assume that the current board members would want to be there to clear up any and all questions regarding their failure to comply and/or rumors of such complaints.
    The meeting was held to by concerned parents to seek which direction to insure their boys could play this summer despite all of the “adults”(?) actions.
    It is time for these questionable adults on both sides of the fence to do the right thing for the boys to be able to play. Then after establishing the summer baseball all of these “adults” can then settle THEIR differences with each other somewhere else but not at the expense of the boys and baseball.

  21. Assinine says:

    The Monticello Youth Commission was done away with in the first place because of the folly of the City trying to micromanage these volunteer programs. If one organization must account to the Emperor then all should. These programs are not to be used as “Pawns” in anyone’s game and it appears that is what’s happening.

  22. Kay says:

    I agree with “Parent”.
    This has all been blown out of proportion. People are posting who don’t know anything about this situation. They are getting off on other gripes that don’t even apply to the subject at hand. Go do something constructive instead of griping and running people down.

  23. FOIA says:

    If it weren’t a quasi official meeting, why was it held at City Hall, and why was the Mayor sitting there with the “cat swallowd the canary” malicious grin. I hope every child and every league gets to use the pubic ballfields to play to their hearts content. Every citizen in Monticello has certainly sacrficed enough for all the children of this town to play to play sports.

  24. Spaulding says:

    REMOVE THE MAYOR. Please.

  25. Another coach's wife says:

    So many opinions, so few facts.

  26. bluelady says:

    So when did David Cason get to decide there is no Babe Ruth League. Even if the city kicks the league off the field they can be a league and play on any field He doesn’t get to disban the league just by saying the words. Babe Ruth has a board and the board votes on this issue. Has anyone thought about the fact that the Babe Ruth field has been in Monticello far longer than any other league in this town and has the most prestigeous field in this part of the state. (which they paid for with their efforts) unlike the sports complex which was paid for by your tax money So ask yourself why did he go after this league(and not the other leagues that had not done what the parks commission wanted) (and by the way have you seen the contract they came up with)..let’s see..does he play travel ball..where only a select few gets to participate..do they want a great field to take over to play their “select” team…or is it that his son plays high school ball and he wants Coach Beasley to feel impressed that Babe Ruth got kicked off their field so he gets a star for his son in Coach Beasley’s crown. If he was thinking of all the kids in this town he would have talked with the Babe Ruth board to see what the problem was but the very day the contrat was due, he calls a “concerned” parents meeting. Is everyone so blind that you can’t smell a rat??
    Another point needs to be explored..if he is a liason for Babe Ruth who has ever heard of a liason stabbing their board in the back. Would you want him to be a laison for a board you were on. Really???
    Last but not least..What league has brought Regional Tournaments and World Series to Monticello which brought money to the town. I say if you want to side with a rat then get in the gutter with him.
    P.s. to Parent: you say Cason was just trying to make sure the boys have a league to play in. My Question is how do you come to that conclusion? Keep you eyes closed and everything will be o.k. right?
    AND Mr. Cason says he never said all other leagues had turned in their contracts, folks listen to the recording-you might be surprised!!!

  27. whoa nelly says:

    bluelady, please get your facts straight before you give your “know it all” opinion! will you come to the next parks commision meeting (second thursday of each month, 6 pm, city hall), (so you have no excuse of not knowing when and where). identify yourself as bluelady and ask your questions (the so called true statements you put in your response).

  28. and says:

    Just another person with their own agenda and grudge against Cason!! If you were at the meeting instead of guessing, you would know that the board you so much defend has not even filed for the charter of National Babe Ruth, has not signed contract with Parks Commission, turned in requested by laws, financial reports, minutes from previous meetings, etc. Quit slinging mud on others just because the truth reared its’ ugly head and the board is shown just how incompetent it really is.
    As for the comment about the mayor smiling, again if you were there you would have known he was talking to two girls about school, sports, and summer activities.

  29. Kay says:

    Maybe we should go by the old adage, “If you can’t say anything good, say nothing at all.” Oh, that would close the comment section, wouldn’t it?

  30. karie fay says:

    Just a thought…. a public meeting is open to ALL. No one had the right to ask Joe to leave or make him leave, absent him creating a disturbance of the peace.

  31. In the know says:

    You have to already know how many teams you have before you can file for the charter, several other leagues don’t have their charter yet bbecause sign up isn’t over

    So get your facts straight

  32. Leigha says:

    These posts are soooo typical of MonticelloLive commenters. First off, people look VERY ignorant when they comment on things and do not have all the facts. Second, Joe put this story on here because he is probably the only man I’ve ever come in contact with that loves drama more than women! Third, I do believe Karen Connelly is over Babe Ruth and if I’m not mistaken, she does have a huge interest in the welfare of our town’s children, all ages. I could be mistaken, but i’ve not read nor heard anywhere where the kids won’t be allowed to play ball this year.

    To “bluelady”: not that I don’t think there were other DA comments on this subject but yours had to be the dumbest! Gah, please go READ and listen to what was said. Dave Cason has not said anything of the sort. He doesn’t have a kid that plays travel ball and if you knew anything about him, at all, you would know that and that he is very encouraging to all kids playing any sport. Idk how Beasley got brought in this but I ASSURE you, he is probably laughing his butt off at your blanket comments. “Disban”??? I’m not exactly sure if that’s a word but it led to another thing you know nothing about. A team can’t just be put together and play where ever they choose. I’m not sure if you have kids that play but there’s little issues called liability and insurance. There has to be both to play ball. The organization Babe Ruth will not allow it.

    Point is.. you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make them drink. Bluntly… you can give a deadline to someone to turn in the correct forms but you can’t force them to. Cason, I assure you, will be acting in the best interest of all the kids. As far as Mr Mayor, I can also assure you that he is also looking out for the best interest of the kids. He was probably laughing or smiling big because he didn’t want Joe in there as well as anyone else with any dang sense. He’s DRAMA! and he loves stirring up trouble in our small little town! So applause goes out to “banning” him!

  33. bluelady says:

    Leigha–Listen to the tapes and stop talking about something YOU HAVE NOT BOTHERED TO LISTEN TO. click on the tape in this aritcle and you can hear what Cason said. He very plainly says all other organizations have sent in their contracts. All Joe does is report the facts. I am so thankful we can hear and listen to things as they happen without them being edited.

  34. Mike says:

    If this was a public meeting then Mr.Cason should be charged under violation of thr Freedom of Imformatiom act. This is America and you don’t have to be invited to cover a story held on public property.

  35. eastend says:

    Bluelady some people just don’t believe the truth when they hear it just listen to Cason when he speaks he says that he is in enough hot water already he is trying to get someone else to do his work If you are a liason for this Babe Ruth league why do you try to bring the board down instead of help them out. Parents don’t worry their will be babe ruth baseball in monticello. Current babe ruth board I support you and know we will have baseball at burlington field.

  36. Thanks Joe and staff says:

    I have never understood why people want to talk about Joe and his site in a negative way if you don’t like it why are your reading it and if you don’t like the comments why are you adding another comment. Joe Burgess goes to everything this city/county has so he can cover news for all of us that cant attend for whatever reason. Next time you want to post something for sale, or someone’s birthday etc if you are so against Mr. Burgess don’t use him to post for free just go to the other sites and pay for your information to be put out there. Why anyone could blame Joe for posting what others said in a meeting is unbelievable he is only following the news so us as citizens can keep up with what’s going on in our town. Thank you Mr. Burgess you earned Business of the year because of the great job as a reporter that you did and still do today.

  37. Ken Harper says:

    I have no comment as to the issues about the interworkings of Babe Ruth baseball. My son played it and, as parent, I enjoyed seeing my son play the national sport. I wish all well.

    As for David Cason, God bless him for standing for things he believes to be are important. He is a good man and I have known him for years. I respect Coach Cason and I thank him for standing up.

    Ken Harper

  38. Mike Wigley says:

    Thanks for your leadership Dave!

  39. Jason Mason says:

    My question is, Why do you have two separate boards? Cal Ripken and Babe Ruth are one in the same. The state commissioner is over both divisions. Same for the Regional Commissioners and National Directors. For someone who has served on both boards , Mr Cason seems clueless concerning charters with Babe Ruth. Speaking of finances in the video, what does the local board provide for the teams? I heard one person mention they dont provide bats,most leagues have long since abandoned providing bats. The cost is outrageous. You can’t buy just one per team and expect it to last forever.

  40. and says:

    Eastend: you must not understand what was said or you would realize the current board is not doing their job(s) which is the reason Mr. Cason is “bringing down the board”.
    It is about time to bring down the board on top of the heads of some of the current board members so we can get it run correctly and for the BENEFIT of the boys wanting to play baseball.
    Sounds like maybe you were on the the chosen ones from the current board instead of a parent trying to hold the current board accountable for their actions.

  41. Next door town coach says:

    Im concerned at the political side of this. I met the mayor last year at the World Series. He came across as higher than everyone and in control of everything. I’m not downing the mayor because i don’t know him. I’m not from Monticello. I just know when you add a political figure to the pot then problems arise. Babe Ruth Baseball should be run by the parents and the board should be elected by the parents and run by parents. These kids are worth more than bringing name recognition to the city. The kids will do that themselves. May God help correct this issue so that these innocent boys will have the chance to play AMERICA’S GAME!!!,!,!,

  42. Wow says:

    This all boils down to a massive ego clash between the current and former mayors with the kids being caught in the middle…USSSA is a fine organization, but Babe Ruth has been too kind to Monticello in regards to allowing our town to host tournaments to be cast aside so easily…all in the name of stroking our current Mayor’s ego.

  43. First, our political leaders fought over where to put our fire department, then over toilets, now its over letting our kids play ball. Isn’t our political leaders a wonderful bunch of leaders. Would someone please step up and get our city orginazed enough to get the kids on the ball field. I think the kids want to play ball and not listen to a bunch of adults acting like children. It’s a baseball game for a groupe of kids. Who cares who likes or dislikes the mayor, who is the boss at the parks and rec. center, which league has the most political power? GOD BLESS US ALL. PLAY BALL FOR GOD SAKES !!!!!!!!

  44. Really? says:

    This situation came about when David Cason was losing his battle to placed back on the board of director of Babe Ruth. Instead of thinking about the children, he was worried about losing his grip on “power”. The USSSA may be a great organization, but I understand they are a traveling team, I don’t think “50 kids signed” will be traveling and playing ball. The average family will not be able to afford for their child to travel and play ball. Is this a “rich man’s” game? What is wrong with this picture?

  45. Really? says:

    Can anyone tell me why the park commission/committee, being a “City of Monticello” intity is being governed by people that DO NOT live in the city? People that live in the county, should not dictate what goes on inside the city nor should the people in city dictate to the couny.

  46. reply to Really? says:

    The man in the video said the new league is not part of the traveling portion of UTRIP. These 50 will not be traveling.

    Also, if you have been keeping up with the whole parks committee issue, you would be aware that the group was changed from a commission to a committee because it has county residents as members. As a commission, the group could make decisions, accept bids and allocate funds. Since this group involved county residents, a decision had to be made: Option 1, kick off the county members, or Option 2, dissolve the commission and reinstate the group as a committee that has no governing power other than doing leg work and making recommendations to the City Council, who has full authority. The city council chose option 2, which I agree with.

    These are not County Leagues or City Leagues. They are community leagues that accept kids no matter where they live – City or County. They just happen to be using City property. I am sure if the county owned a ball field they would be open to allowing us city folk on their committee.

    Thanks

  47. concerned says:

    My child has played Cal Ripkin, and Babe Ruth. And this is one big joke. It looks like to me that they have no clue about anything. There is something wrong with this picture… well as my grandpa would say i tis about who you know or how well off you are. These are very greedy people. It is all about the “rich man” not the common man… enough said… Praying…

  48. Mr Baseball says:

    I am 24 years old and played baseball in Monticello from T-Ball all the way up, as well as my older brothers. My parents were very active in working in the leagues I played.

    The Monticello Babe Ruth board has been a self-serving, self-perpetuating board for at least 12 years. They have absolutely not put the best interest of the kids first. This is not the first time that a group of parents who were fed up with the boards misconduct have broken away and formed another league.

    The difference today is that there is a council and mayor who are trying to do things the right way. Back years ago, the council gave EXCLUSIVE use to the Babe Ruth board over Burlington Field. By the way, that is ILLEGAL! A city can not give exclusive use of any publicly funded facility to one organization. But they did back then, despite an outcry from parents who were concerned for the well being of their kids.

  49. W.H.Evans says:

    Really? You should get facts before posting anything. First the USSSA League we started is a local league charter and not traveling ball. Second, last year our 13 year old babe ruth team had to travel every week to play, Star city, Lake Village, McGehee, Dumas,Etc…. Next, Dave Cason was voted off the board for standing up for our rights as the supposed membership of Babe Ruth league, meaning us as parents and coaches of kids IN the program. I have, and many others have, been at several meetings with various board members of Babe Ruth and were repeatedy told we could not vote on board members that they as a board would vote on who goes on and off the board. Also we have made repeated request for copys of financial statments, copys of bylaws ,and copys of current charter an were told on numberous occasions that we could ask all we want but we wouldnt get anything….So as you see this change has nothing to do really with the city or the parks committee but a total lack of communication between the Babe Ruth board and the parents of the kids they are suppose to represent…And one last thing, ALL youth programs in Monticello that use city owned property are open TO ALL RESIDENTS OF DREW COUNTY and not just kids that live in the city limits so it just makes sense that some committe members should live in the county……. so please get your facts straight before speaking.. and by the way if you want to stand up and say things like that in an article about other people you should really post your name….

  50. Bubba Clemons says:

    We encourage every kid from ages 13-18 to sign up and be involved with the new league. It is not travel ball and we also encourage every parent to get involved with the program also. My number is 723-9061 I will be happy to take all suggestions from parents who have children playing. Thanks , Bubba Clemons

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Baker's Supply

BCMC Family Care Clinic 2

Monticello Animal Clinic

Monticello Animal Clinic

Ashley County Medical Center 3

Ashley County Medical Center

Pines Broadcasting Company

Pines Broadcasting Company

Union Bank 1

JRMC 4

La Terraza

La Terraza

Small Bites Pediatric Dentist

Citizen’s Bank 2

Citizen's Bank

Major’s Forest & Lawn 2

Mullis Insurance

Sammy Mullis Insurance

Cedar Hills Apartments

Cedar Hills Apartments

AM Rental & Sales

AM Rental & Sales

Lucky’s Of Monticello