Agendas and Minutes

Parks & Recreation Commission (View All)

Study Session

Minutes
Monday, July 17, 2006

City of Ashland

PARKS AND RECREATION COMMISSION

 

STUDY SESSION
MINUTES

 

July 17, 2006

 

 

ATTENDANCE

Present:    Commissioners D. Amarotico, Eggers, Gardiner, Lewis, Rosenthal; Director Robertson; Superintendent Teige

Absent:     City Council Liaison A. Amarotico; Superintendent Gies

CALL TO ORDER

Rosenthal called the study session to order at 7:00 PM at the Parks Office, 340 S. Pioneer Street.

SKATE PARK DISCUSSION

Robertson reminded the commission of the February 2006 request from Skate Park patrons for optional helmet wearing for skaters 18 years and older, and he talked about the ongoing issues of vandalism and graffiti at the park.

Teige reported that she contacted parks and recreation agencies in Oregon to inquire about their helmet policies and learned that they either require helmets or strongly recommend their use, although enforcement is often difficult. The City of Newberg employs an on-site caretaker to monitor and enforce the helmet requirement for skaters of all ages.

Public Input

Neti Rest, 76 Union Street, asked whether a Park Patrol employee was assigned to the Skate Park in the summer and was told that the park is on their route but is not constantly monitored.

Points of discussion among commissioners and staff included:

§         The commission’s continued support for the helmet policy

§         Installation of a better fencing system than the current cyclone fencing, per the insurance company’s request and for the sake of vandalism control and aesthetics

§         Kip Keaton, Community Service Officer, talked about:

o       Difficulty of enforcing the helmet rule, especially during off-season months

o       Penalty for a helmet violation being $250, with a one-month Skate Park banishment another potential penalty

o       Spring 2006 vandalism of Skate Park bathroom estimated at $800

o       Problem with skaters visiting park during off-hours, hiding in the bowl and running away upon the arrival of authorities

o       Possible addition of street-side seating

o       Possible installation of a frost-free fountain so skaters have access to drinking water during off-season months

Commissioners directed staff to include “Skate Park Improvements” in the ’07-’08 capital improvement budget with future consideration of the following items: 1) alternative fencing systems, 2) additional seating, and 3) frost-free drinking fountain.

DRUG TESTING DISCUSSION

Robertson reminded the commission about previous discussions regarding the potential development of an employee drug policy, including pre-employment and random drug testing. He reported that the ACLU is opposed to all random drug testing and that, alternatively, based on responses to an email sent to the ORPA Web site, 50% of Oregon parks and recreation agencies [responding to the question] test for drugs, with three out of four agencies conducting both pre-employment and random drug tests.

Commission input included:

§         Need for compliance with the Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988; request to authorize supervisory staff to implement the statute as it relates to safety and liability issues for the department

§         Importance of accurately representing the values of the citizens of Ashland

§         Objectivity provided by random drug testing, which would free up employees from reporting their co-workers for erratic behavior and provide guidelines for what is expected of them in the workplace

§         Not infringing on employees’ rights to privacy / civil rights and the value of joining with the City for the drug testing conversation, bringing all City employees to the same level of expectation

§         Difficulty in monitoring illegal behaviors, including theft, in the workplace / question about whether to randomly conduct pocketbook checks should drug testing be implemented

§         Critical importance of minimally testing for drugs, at least at the pre-employment stage, especially for high school and college-aged seasonal recreation staff

§         The need to further discuss and vote on the matter at a regular meeting

Robertson suggested the following alternatives for the commission’s consideration at the July regular meeting:

1.                Do not include a drug policy in the manual

2.                Include the City policy as prepared by the City

3.                Include the City policy without the sections dealing with random drug testing

4.                Include the City policy with an implementation procedure

Commissioners agreed to discuss the four alternatives at that time.

ADJOURNMENT – By consensus, with no further business, Rosenthal adjourned the meeting at 10:10 PM.

Respectfully submitted, Susan Dyssegard, Ashland Parks and Recreation

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