During the city budget work sessions Councilwoman Bonnie Katz observed how the city-operated recreation department has more accountability than its predecessor at the YMCA and is offering programs that have more people attending them. Respectfully, I would say Mrs. Katz has no idea what she is talking about.
As former sports & recreation coordinator under the YMCA's contract, I took care of most of the front line work such as recruiting and retention for sports programs and fulfilling contracts with the public for the city parks. I had to answer to the Senior Director of the YMCA who would dot the i's and cross the t's on all of my work.
Jointly, we would then have to present our work to the Brandon Park Commission and Recreation Commission--both of which had representatives of City Council and then it would go to the full City Council. Often times Mayor Campana himself would call to check the status of certain events with myself and/or the Senior Director. That means I had accountability to the management of the YMCA, two commissions that are appointed by City Council that have City Council members on them, City Council itself, and oftentimes the mayor's office. What further accountability does Mrs. Katz feel we lacked at the YMCA?
Lastly, I would say there is virtually no accountability of the Recreation Department in it's current state. In 2011, City Council approved $5,000 for a consultant to "improve" the city's recreation program. It's 2013 and the Recreation Department is still being "improved" by ballooning the budget by $30,000. Where do we draw the line on these so called improvements? The fact that Williamsport has not seen any worthwhile recreational events to justify such a massive budget overage speaks volumes about how efficiently local government can run something and how efficiently a private entity like the YMCA can run something. Something is wrong with this picture and it certainly wasn't how the YMCA handled city recreation.
Submitted by Virtual Newsroom