KAST listeners have been offering their opinions on Astoria City Parks operations sharing frustration over how the department has been managed under Director J.P. Moss. One listener writes:
"Running the parks like a business sounds great but only if the powers that be respond like a business. If you get negative feedback or discover that your budget is not adequate in certain areas then you adjust. We heard in May from a parks employee that if we wanted to mow or line a ball field that would be welcomed as they had already shot their budget for mowing!!! Are you kidding? That is the start of the season for all the folks that pay to play I those leagues. I see many family work parties tending Peter Pan park. I see our new fields at Tapiola looking horribly neglected. As a frequent user if the pool I am horrified at the filth. We won't set foot in the locker rooms! The staff is either untrained or lack pride in their facility.
I would submit to you that a profit was turned in that department by simply cutting staff and /or cutting utilities (like water for maintaining fields). I'd like to compare line items for these year over year back to the Krettler days!"
The writer is referring to retired recreation manager Jim Krettler who has appeared twice before the Astoria City Council in recent weeks questioning the decisions of City Manager Paul Benoit. Anger over the condition of parks facilities and the lack of cleaning and overflowing garbage cans welled up in the city council itself with councilor Karen Mellin precipitating a special executive session of the council last week to discuss the matter behind closed doors. That discussion led to a directive to Benoit to come up with a short term plan by the first council meeting in October and then within six weeks he must present a long term plan for the Parks Department.