Opinion

Editorial: Raise well deserved

North Whidbey Park and Recreation District Director Craig Carlson received a raise in pay this month and a two-year contract extension. Not surprisingly, the vote by the district commissioners was unanimous.

Carlson took over the park director duties two years ago when the district was in turmoil, both at the board level and at the swimming pool level. Employees were unhappy, turnover was high, and the resulting public controversy was not good for an agency dependent on taxpayer support.

Carlson brought a new attitude to the park district. A positive and imaginative leader, he made the swimming pool experience fun again with many special events aimed at families, among them Halloween swims and dog swims the day before the pool is drained. As a result revenues increased and the pool’s shaky fiscal foundation solidified. In addition, Carlson’s presence at board meetings seems to have had a calming effect. The board is much more positive and unified than it was before his hiring.

Commissioners have also worked hard to heal all wounds. As a result, the park district is in much better shape than we could have imagined two years ago as it heads into another levy election.

On Sept. 20, North Whidbey Park and Recreation District voters will be asked to approve an operating levy of 18 cents per thousand, which is about what taxpayers are paying now. Thanks to the turnaround sparked in part by Carlson’s efforts, its chances of success are much improved.

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