One of the four oft repeated attacks on the proposed charter is that it would move the Recreation Program from the Mayor’s department to the Department of Public Works. The attack has taken several forms. In one case it was asserted that the children would suffer from the change and in another it was asserted that it would interfere with the management of the city’s streets and water.
The Recreation Commission voted six to zero praising the reorganization in the proposed charter (One member of the seven person commission was absent).
In their statement the Recreation Commission praised the Charter Review Commission for the excellent job they have done (full text below).
In their November 1 email/newsletter the Saratoga Springs Recreation Commission announced:
“After reviewing how the proposed changes would affect the Recreation Commission, the Commission voted 6-0 to approve these changes. Learn (full text below) the reasons why here.”
City of Saratoga Springs
15 Vanderbilt Avenue, Saratoga Springs, New York 12866 518-587-3550 x2300 Fax 518-584-1748
Derrick LeGall Recreation Commission Chair
Amy Smith, Robert Manasier, Cheryl Smith, John Dowd, Michelle Merola
Dear Recreation Community,
The Recreation Commission would like to remind you to VOTE, on Tuesday, November 6th. The ballet will contain a referendum proposing to update the City’s Charter which will have a direct effect on the Recreation Department.
Many of you have asked for our opinion on the Charter Review Commission’s (CRC) proposed amendments. Below we will share our experience with the CRC and our opinion of the effects from the proposed amendment in regards to the Recreation Department in hopes that it is helpful as you make your own decision.
We encourage you to visit the CRC’s website to read the current Charter, the proposed Charter amendments, and other helpful information including a 1 page document outlining the proposed amendments to the City Charter as it relates to Parks and Recreation.
Our experience with the CRC has been great, as we have found them to be very respectful, diligent, and inclusive throughout the process. In meetings, with our Rec director and Rec Commission Chairman, CRC showed an interest in listening, learning, and engaging with us to better understand how the Charter works, in regards to Recreation. In addition, the director took part in a non-bias questionnaire, in which he could document how the Charter applies to Recreation and offer recommendations for improvements and changes. The CRC also presented at a Recreation Commission meeting, outlying the proposed changes while highlighting the direct impact the proposed amendments would have on Recreation. We couldn’t have been more pleased with the efforts and attention that the CRC took to understand how the Charter impacts our service to the community.
As for the proposed changes, it is important to know that regardless of Tuesday’s Vote, the City’s Recreation Department will continue serving our community under the supervision of the Recreation Commission. Our mission, focus areas and goals are not being changed by the proposed Charter. The Recreation Department’s budget, which is currently shared between the Recreation Department and the Department of Public Works, are not being changed by the proposed Charter. The proposed charter amendments, in our opinion, will however, have a direct impact on the service provided to you. And although this impact is not directly financial, it will provide efficiencies and effectiveness with the Recreation Department.
In the current Charter, “Parks”, including the maintenance for Recreation, is the responsibility of the public works staff under the Commissioner of Public Works. Recreation is the responsibility of the Recreation Department under the Recreation Commission which resides under the Mayor’s Office for administrative, reporting, and oversight purposes. The proposed Charter addresses this with the creation of a Parks and Recreation Department under the responsibility of the Commissioner of Public Works in coordination with the Recreation Commission. Essentially, the two departments, Recreation and Public Works, currently charged with providing recreation opportunities for our residents, who currently share a recreation budget, maintain our recreation facilities, develop recreation programs, and support our community recreation organizations will unite as ONE department called Parks and Recreation to serve our community more efficiently and effectively. Furthermore, the proposed amendment would require the Commissioner of Public Works, in coordination with the Recreation Commission, to develop a Policy and Procedures Manual to be reviewed and approved by the City Council which will aid in both our efforts to be efficient and effective in our service to you.
In conclusion, the CRC’s proposed amendments, in our view, align with our mission and goals and align with the CRC’s goal to find efficiencies and organizational improvements to better serve the people who live and work in the City of Saratoga Springs.
We hope you find this information helpful in making your decision on November 6th. VOTE! IT MATTERS.
Our mission is to create fun, safe, affordable activities, and to enrich the community’s quality of life through outstanding recreation programs, resources