North Whidbey park and rec district postpones decisions again

After deferring approval for three meetings’ minutes, tabling an amendment to the bylaws, postponing electing 2014 commission officers and delaying review of the state auditor’s report — the North Whidbey Park and Recreation District Commissioners meeting came to a close.

“Bring some coffee and tea because it’s going to be a long meeting,” said Commissioner Allan McDougall, referring to the next February meeting.

Commissioner Chair Sean Merrill was absent from the meeting.

To add to the jam-packed February agenda, Commissioner Steve Hoffmire recommended the board also make a decision on how the board plans to handle a pending fraud investigation.

“We’re supposed to get back to the auditor if we’re not going after the money,” Hoffmire said. “We really need to make a decision.”

The auditors recommended the district recover the cost of the fraud investigation involving former Aquajets coach and former administrative assistant, or possibly an insurance bonding company, for $7,818 in investigative costs.

Former district director Bill Walker fired swim coach Neil Romney and administrative assistant Vikki Robinson in 2012 when both refused to provide him with a password for the swim club’s bank account. A year-long investigation took place, which the auditors said they found more than $18,000 in adjustments made to club members’ accounts without explanation.

The state Auditor’s Office also recommended the district seek $639 from Romney. In the report, the auditors found that Romney submitted and received reimbursement requests to the district for $639 he had already paid with checks from the aquatic club account. When contacted by auditors, Romney said he made errors in reimbursement filings.

To add to the decisions the district needs to make, finding a new director is on the list. Walker resigned at the end of last year, leaving the position vacant.

Also to be discussed at the next meeting is an amendment to the bylaws.

The proposed amendment would change the duties of the director so that any appointment or a dismissal of a full-time, contracted district employee must be approved by the board.

Currently the district has three full-time employees.

Hoffmire did not agree with the amendment.

“We hire a director to do that,” Hoffmire said. “By adding to the bylaws, we’re micromanaging.”

Commissioner David Walton said he did not see the amendment as a threat, but as a secondary protection to employees. He moved to table the discussion until all of the commissioners were present at the February meeting.

Also at the next meeting, the board will also discuss the temperature of the pool.

A petition with 147 signatures was received in October to raise the pool to 83 degrees.

The pool is set to be at 82 degrees currently. In October the board voted unanimously to revisit the issue after three months of data had been collected.



ν The next meeting will be held at 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 20 at the John Vanderzicht Memorial Pool, 85 S.E. Jerome St., Oak Harbor.


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