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Parks Commission Disbanded, Re-instated as Parks Committee

March 16th, 2012 by

City Attorney Whit Barton told the Council that he had received correspondence from a Little Rock attorney representing the Babe Ruth League on March 2, 2012, in regards to issues surrounding a contract with the City.

The issue then came up that the title of Commission for Parks and Recreation was not within the statute for how a Commission should be established, and Attorney Barton instructed the Council on ways to amend the issue, such as forming a Parks and Recreation Committee instead.

Barton stated that being a committee means the positions held are elected and told the Council, “Nobody’s making you do anything.”” But, the ordinance is not in compliance with the statute.”

Attorney Barton then presented other options to the Council.

“You can amend the ordinance. You can allow the commission to stand but make the members of the commission electors of the city of Monticello.” He then said an alternative to that would be to “not have a commission but have a committee.”

He said a positive for a committee is it does not require members to be residents of the city limits of Monticello. Since Parks and Recreation serves the entire county, Barton said a committee makes sense. “However, a committee does not have the power of a commission.”

Barton explained that instead of making decisions, a committee would be making recommendations and that the City cannot delegate to a committee. “You can’t empower them to make decisions.”

“We didn’t have all the facts or we were blinded going into voting on a Commission. Were we not?” – Alderman Al Peer

“I can’t speak to that.” “I wasn’t there when you were voting on this issue.” – Attorney Barton

Alderman Sherrie Gillespie asked if the actions the Parks and Recreation Commission have already taken were legal, and Attorney said he believes they are due to the way they took everything back to the City Council to be voted upon.

“This is one reason I did not want a Parks Commission… we are the elected officials. We need to take that responsibility.” – Gillespie

Beverly Hudson said, “I do think you have to have a group of responsible people that take on some of that responsibility. The Council can’t do that, meeting once a month. The Mayor can’t do that.” “How efficient can they be if they have to bring everything to the Council?” Hudson asked if the committee could just bring “big ticket items” instead of every issue.

“I think as a committee it’s going to be closer to everything than it is to just big ticket.” – Attorney Barton

Beverly Hudson made a motion to approve an ordinance to create the Parks and Recreation Committee, which would terminate the Parks and Recreation Commission. Sherrie Gillespie and Al Peer voted no, saying they had too many questions and about the committee. Josh McKiever, Raymond Hubbard, Beverly Hudson, Carolyn Brown, Tim Chase, and Claudia Hartness voted yes. The motion passed and the Parks and Recreation Commission was abolished and the Parks and Recreation Committee was created.

Joe Burgess with Monticello Live asked Mayor Maxwell if the newly formed Committee would require the organizations and leagues that have not yet signed contracts with the City to do so before using city property. The Mayor responded,

“I feel sure they [the Committee] are going to ask for a contract.” “Some of the people that are doing most of the belly aching haven’t even sat down with the Committee to ask questions.” “These people [the Committee] are a lot of good people from Monticello and the county, they like sports and they like kids… they’re doing their best and they’re going to continue doing their best.”

4 Responses to “Parks Commission Disbanded, Re-instated as Parks Committee”

  1. Bishop Sam Wherry says:

    I listened tonight at the deliberations of the City Attorney to the Monticello City Council in reference to the Park Commission. It is said that one Mayoral Administration(the previous one) disbanded the Parks Commission to assure a personal non interference agenda without counsel or in-out from a cross section of appointed entities to determine the faith and vitality of the Parks and Recreation Agenda of which had been one of the most successful and progressive Commissions in the development and redevelopment of Monticello in particular The Ross, Jordan, West, Anderson and Now Maxwell Administration of which Commission Members Charles Dearman and the late JC Nichols in corporation with Dewey Henley and Albert M. Williams, Sr provided one of the best and most efficient park and recreations department anywhere in Rural America and now a couple of carryover anti members of the Council of the previous mayor administration desired the dismantle of the new a, efficient and innovative Commission under the leadership of Karen Connelly. Thank s to the eloquence of the City Attorney Barton and the majority members of the Council, there will be a Parks Committee of the same entities under Connolly Chair leadership. Monticello is moving forward in the hardest and most difficult recovery period in this Nations History and thank God the majority the majority of those elected to serve are part of this progressive movement, again Hats off to this Administration, Counsel and the Parks Committee(Remember it was not this administration or this commission which was non existence that developed that non feasiable and troublesome Splash Pad etc.

  2. and says:

    Amen to all said Bishop!!

  3. crazy says:

    This has to stop! everytime you pick up the paper or look at monticello live the “Parks and Rec” have made the front page. In case the taxpayers haven’t noticed it is about control. We (parks and rec) want to control everything because we are in big with the mayor who is a control freak. I guess in the end get a job then you will not be so worried about the issues facing the parks and rec. But then again people in this town would not be happy if they couldn’t talk about the mayor and the parks and rec. We need to contact the state and see if we cant get our county name changed to “DRAMA COUNTY”.

  4. EXCUSE ME! says:

    This issue has nothing to do with the county. It is the city of Monticello’s problem. Please leave us taxpayers out in the county out of this drama and allow us to keep our name as the County of Drew.

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