Letters to the Editor

Park district: Put pool first

I would like to comment on the April 19 article regarding the Oak Harbor Vanderzicht Memorial Pool meeting Tuesday, Apirl 15.

At the outset, I feel the article was biased in favor of the three commissioners who "axed" the pool director. The first paragraph tries to sway the readers that the director of a public agency is out of line because he swore at the elected board. Do you know how many times the director has sat at a board meeting and had derogatory and inflammatory remarks directed at him? Perhaps, instead of zeroing in on the director, you might say that it is very unusual and unprofessional of the board members to behave the way they do at a public meeting.

After receiving a favorable evaluation from the board, they then voted not to extend the director's contract! It is my understanding that under this director's guidance, the pool has been repaired and maintained; the attitude of the staff has improved (although the salaries haven't), and he has the full support of the public who use the pool.

Remarks by the three commissioners regarding pool use were incorrect; that “only a handful of the tax payers ever use the pool." The pool has: 13 water aerobic programs for adults; a JVMP pool swim team for children 8 -18; swim classes for young children, toddlers and infants; an Oak Harbor High & Jr. High School swim team; Master swimmers; classes for physically handicapped individuals; family swim and kids' swim; and time available for military for specific training programs.

These and other activities provide the pool with approximately $500,000 in income. General property tax of approximately $400,000 makes up the remainder of our $900,000 budget.

I would say that's more than a "handful" — I would say that's a good cross-section of our community.

I agree that it is relatively expensive to run a pool, BUT, it is the only one on the island that offers so many programs to so many people. Don't let three commissioners ruin a swimming pool that has been the centerpiece of Oak Harbor athletic life for more than 17 years.

Why "axe" someone who is running such an efficient program and trying to maintain a quality facility for all of us? Better to ask the three commissioners: "What is your hidden agenda? Why do you want our present director gone? Do you have one of your cronies ready to become the new director?”

Why not get over your petty personality conflicts and do what’s best for the pool!

Wilma Feehan


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