Letters to the Editor

Park and Rec district: the lowdown on pool issues

Enough is enough! Let’s set the record straight. The Whidbey News-Times continues to infuriate the public regarding the situation at the pool.

I have attended more pool board meetings than anyone else in the district. Now let me provide you with a few facts regarding the board members.

1. Three of the board members, Janet Sabalausky, Brien Lillquist and Fred Smyth, publicly admonish and demean both the director and the public at board meetings.

2. These same board members did nothing to alleviate the lack of locker room heat for four months during the middle of winter. This situation was brought to their attention by the public at the October, November, December and January board meetings. They did nothing to immediately correct this situation.

3. The pool director previously had direct authorization to make repair contracts up to $50,000. But these same board members reduced the pool director’s ability to make repair contracts in excess of $1,000 without their express approval. Thus the director could not initiate these locker room heater repairs.

4. These same board members directed the pool director not to release pool information to the public even though it was within guidelines of the Freedom of Information Act.

5. The above was a direction by them to the pool director to break the law.

6. These same board members also directed the pool director to break the Washington state constitution through creative wording and creative financing so that they could give an unsolicited gift of $20,000, money not readily available, to the Boys and Girls Club. Also, at least one board member contacted them without prior notification and concurrence of the board.

7. These same board members have conducted illegal executive sessions.

8. Brien L. stated publicly that he did not vote for the pool levy.

9. Brien L. did not approve the pool budget for 2002.

10. Brien L. for the first part of his tenure has consistently voted in opposition to or abstained from voting on board issues even to the closing of the board meeting.

11. Brien L. has illegally removed board meeting tapes from the pool.

12. Brien L. has fallen asleep at board meetings.

13. Brien L. refuses to answer questions directed to him by members of the public.

14. Brian L. and Janet S. fail to properly record board action items for the board minutes, thus precluding the future reconstruction of board business.

15. Janet S. stated for the Whidbey News-Times after her election that she “does not work for the public.” She never retracted this statement nor did the News-Times.

16. Fred S. was appointed to the board even though others applying for the position had better qualifications.

17. Brien L. and Fred S. have openly voiced their tempers at board meetings.

18. Brien L. has openly used improper language at board meetings.

19. Fred S. has illegally communicated to board members via e-mail.

20. Janet S. acts independently from the board on pool employment matters.

These are just the tip of the iceberg.

Now who deserved to be chastised or even reprimanded by someone attending their first board meeting?

It seems strange that Jim Shulock can communicate with the patrons and staff with no problem, but Janet S. states that “his style of communication is not compatible with what we are looking for in a director.”

It seems to me that Jim makes an ideal director. He gets along with everyone, he pinches pennies to save money and keeps the district in the black financially. He keeps up the repairs when the board lets him but most of the time the board tables projects from one meetings to the next. This can be seen if you ever attended a board meetings where you will find out that the board does a lot of talking but takes very little action. This is very frustrating for the director trying to do his job and also for patrons who use the facility.

And by the way there is only one other person who has the second best pool board meeting attendance record--Tom Johnson.

Oak Harbor resident Grace Horn is a former North Whidbey Park and Recreation District commissioner.

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