Agendas and Minutes

Ashland Parks & Recreation Commission (View All)

Parks Commission Regular Meeting

Monday, May 19, 2014

City of Ashland
May 19, 2014

Present:  Commissioners Gardiner, Landt, Lewis, Seffinger, Shaw; Director Robertson; Superintendents Dials and Dickens
Absent:  City Council Liaison: Mayor John Stromberg

Seffinger called the meeting to order at 7:04 p.m. in Council Chambers, 1175 E. Main Street.

Study Session – March 17, 2014
MOTION Landt moved to approve the minutes as presented. Shaw seconded the motion.
The vote was: All yes

Study Session – April 21, 2014
MOTION Shaw moved to approve the minutes as presented. Lewis seconded the motion.
The vote was: All yes

Regular Meeting – April 28, 2014
Under “Public Participation,” in which Jeannine Grizzard of ACT asked for storage of theater equipment at the Ashland Community Center between scheduled performance dates, Landt said the minutes indicated that “the commission directed staff to work out the details with Grizzard.” His recollection was that staff would work with Grizzard to see if a resolution could be worked out.

Under “Calle Guanajuato Seating Contracts,” Landt said a statement was attributed to him regarding “year-round dining not making sense but the prorating of fees being a nice gesture.” Landt said the two statements didn’t make sense together but could be separated into two sentences: 1) “Year-round dining on the Calle didn’t seem to make sense.” and 2) “Prorating the fees to restaurants this year due to the reduced season would be a nice gesture.”

MOTION Landt moved to approve the minutes as amended. Shaw seconded the motion.
The vote was: All yes

Timothy Dolan, 1258 Munson Drive, requested the reinstallation of a Woof Waste station at the top section of North Mountain Park. This “second-tier area,” with its own playground and walk-through section, was specifically designed to accommodate foot traffic transiting the periphery of North Mountain Park proper. A dog waste station was installed and then removed. Trying to suppress dogs in the peripheral park to inhibit dog waste would not work. Installing a dog waste dispenser would be consistent with dog waste management in other parks, including the margins of Lithia Park.

Ann Cramer, PO Box 323, requested community garden amenities at Ashland Creek Park: raised 10x10 garden beds with gopher protection; decomposed granite paths; greenhouse with perimeter fence and an enlarged back area; processing area extension with an outside counter and utility sink; compost area at southeast end of the garden with holding and debris bins; enlarged area for loading and unloading of tools and supplies; shelter within the garden for respite from sun and rain and a place for gardening classes, meetings and events; a 16’ x 20’ pavilion with built-in benches; a grant application to the Ford Foundation; rain catchments from the roof into barrels; and an interim shelter using shade cloth and umbrellas.

Commissioners asked staff to review Cramer’s suggestions and see what might be incorporated.

MOTION Landt moved to add “Review Dates and Panel Configuration for Director Recruitment Process” under “New Business.” Lewis seconded the motion.
The vote was: All yes


Gina DuQuenne, President of Southern Oregon Pride, requested at least twenty 10x10 booths in Lithia Park for the annual Southern Oregon Pride event in October 2014.

Dials said the current Parks Commission Special Events Policy allowed for ten booths at a cost of $25 per booth. The policy also stipulated that booths were to be placed in the bandshell parking lot. After walking the area with Volunteer and Special Events Coordinator Lori Ainsworth, it was felt that the parking lot and the area above the bandshell along either side of Winburn Way could easily accommodate up to 25 special event booths per event.

MOTION: Landt moved to approve changing the Ashland Parks and Recreation Commission Special Events Policy to increase the number of booths per special event from ten to 20.
The motion died for lack of a second.

MOTION: Shaw moved to approve changing the Ashland Parks and Recreation Special Events Policy to increase the number of booths per event from ten to 25 10x10 booths per staff recommendation.

Discussion of Motion
Landt said the current policy had been in place for years and only one special event organizer requested additional booths during that time. He said DuQuenne asked for at least 20 booths, not 25 booths. He spoke favorably about incremental changes to allow the commission to evaluate any effects from the policy change before increasing to a higher number. Gardiner said staff requested 25 booths and that seemed reasonable and could increase revenues per event. Commissioners agreed with the suggestion to increase to 25 booths, with staff reporting on the policy change at a future meeting.

The vote was:
Gardiner, Lewis, Seffinger, Shaw – yes
Landt - no

Robertson said a Parks employee group met with Parks management and City of Ashland Personnel to discuss a cost-of-living wage adjustment and other benefit alterations in FY 14-17 for all regular part-time and full-time staff. Recommendations included:
  • Wages: a range of 1-5% COLA for FY 14-17 based on a Consumer Price Index (CPI-W) 12-month average from March of the prior year to March of the current year. The average for March 2014 was 1.4%.
  • Vacation Cap: to assist employees from losing accrued vacation hours, incrementally increase maximum vacation accruals as follows:
    • July 1, 2014 – Cap raised from 200 to 250 hours
    • July 1, 2015 – Cap raised from 250 to 275 hours
    • July 1, 2016 – Cap raised from 275 to 300 hours
  • Vacation Cash-out Opportunity: allow employees to cash out, or request to pay into a City deferred compensation plan, up to 40 hours of accrued vacation leave each year on the last pay day in November. Employees must have a minimum balance of 40 hours to be eligible to cash out any vacation hours.
  • HRA VEBA: Amend the language in the Parks and Recreation Department Employee Handbook to allow between 100 and 1,000 hours of accrued sick leave to be paid into an employee’s HRA VEBA account when the employee leaves the department “in good standing.” The cash-out of sick leave hours into the HRA VEBA would apply to all employees leaving the department in good standing (normal resignation, termination or retirement). Employees terminated for cause, or resigning in lieu of being terminated for cause, would be ineligible for this benefit. “For cause” is defined as conduct bringing discredit upon the department or being a direct hindrance to the effective performance of Parks functions, including but not limited to causes listed in the Parks Employee Handbook Section 8.2. A benefit determination would only be made after the employee was granted due process.
Robertson said vacation benefits changes would bring Parks into better alignment with benefits provided to City staff. Commissioners asked for amended wording for the last item: “An employee can accrue up to 900 hours into their HRA VEBA account upon termination if they are in good standing.”

MOTION: Landt moved to approve the suggested salary and benefits adjustments as proposed by staff and amended by staff and the commission for all Parks regular full-time and part-time staff, effective July 1, 2014, for FY 14-17. Shaw seconded the motion.

Discussion of Motion
Shaw asked if the benefits were the same for City staff. Robertson said City employees were able to cash out a portion of their sick leave if they met certain criteria. Parks staff were not able to do that but could cash out HRA VEBA hours (up to 900) upon termination if they left the department in good standing.

Landt said he approved of incentives for growing sick leave banks for times of calamity.
The vote was: All yes

Robertson said he would retire on June 30, 2014, but agreed to remain in place on a temporary contracted basis pending recruitment, hiring and placement of a new Parks Director. He asked for approval of the draft Interim Parks Director employment contract drawn up with assistance from the City Attorney’s office. He said his hourly contracted rate would be $57 and he could work up to 1,039 hours in a calendar year.

MOTION: Lewis moved to approve the Interim Parks Director employment contract for Robertson as presented. Shaw seconded the motion.

Discussion of Motion
Shaw noted that with Robertson retiring and the commission in the process of hiring a new director, it would be helpful to retain Robertson during the interim period. It was good for the commission and good for the Parks Department. Seffinger stated that Robertson’s departure would be personally sad but this was a fair contract offer.

The vote was: All yes

Robertson distributed the most recent Parks Director recruitment schedule and asked the commission to decide on the number of interview panelists. He also requested confirmation of the commission’s availability for candidate interviews on July 22 and 23. Recruiter Wendi Brown asked for panelists’ names by the end of May.

Commissioners agreed to include between nine and eleven interview panelists. They confirmed their availability for director interviews on July 22 and 23. Brown said the “short list meeting” was set for July 7 from 10 a.m. to noon, with candidate binders scheduled for distribution on Sunday, July 6. Seffinger said she would be out of town on July 7. HR Manager Tina Gray said she made hotel reservations for July 21 and 22. Commissioners asked her to retain those reservations but add one additional day, allowing applicants to explore Ashland.
Donated Vehicle from RVTD
Robertson said a handicap-accessible, gas-powered minibus was offered free-of-charge through RVTD. The vehicle’s odometer showed 150,000 miles and it was not expected to have a long life span. The van could help with Senior Center trips and volunteer and Adaptive Program activities. The City mechanic provided feedback on the viability of the vehicle. Robertson asked if the commission had an interest in accepting the donated vehicle and said it would allow the commission to evaluate whether they wanted to purchase a similar vehicle in the future. The commission agreed to accept the donated vehicle.

Calle Rededication Ceremony
Dials reported on a rededication ceremony scheduled for Wednesday, June 11, at 5:30 p.m. along the Calle Guanajuato. Two musical groups, several speeches and free appetizers would be included and the public was invited to attend.

Historic Commission Award Ceremony
Lewis said an award ceremony honoring historic restorations was scheduled for Wednesday, May 21, at 1:00 p.m. in the Ashland Community Center. Parks staff would be honored for two recent Lithia Park restorations: Enders Shelter and Atkinson Bridge.

Acknowledgement and Appreciation Voiced for Clean Park Restrooms
Shaw expressed appreciation for clean and well-maintained restrooms throughout the parks system, including those recently noted at Hunter, Garfield, and Railroad parks. Staff thanked him for his feedback.

  • Study session set for June 16 at 7:00 p.m., Parks office, 340 S. Pioneer Street. Topic:
    • Public Works Review of Ashland Pond / Wastewater Outfall into Bear Creek
  • Regular meeting set for June 23 at 7:00 p.m., Council Chambers, 1175 E. Main Street. Topic:
    • Parks Director Recruitment Process Update
ADJOURNMENT– By consensus, with no further business, Seffinger adjourned the meeting at 8:18 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Susan Dyssegard
Ashland Parks and Recreation


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