No tak­ers for open recre­ation head job

The Covington News - - FRONT PAGE - GABRIEL KHOULI gkhouli@cov­

Though they’ve been given first dibs on the job, no New­ton County em­ploy­ees have yet ap­plied to be the county’s next recre­ation direc­tor.

The recre­ation direc­tor po­si­tion was posted in­ter­nally in the county Fri­day and is set to close this Fri­day, Sept. 13, but Hu­man Re­sources Direc­tor Becky Heis­ten said no one had ap­plied as of the end of the day, Tues­day.

The county re­cently com­pleted the job de­scrip­tion, and the job will pay be­tween $58,595 and $75,000. As of 2011, for­mer direc­tor Tommy Hai­ley made $83,137, ac­cord­ing to a city salary doc­u­ment. How­ever, he was a city of Cov­ing­ton em­ployee, be­cause city em­ploy­ees were kept on, and phased out over the years, when recre­ation over­sight switched from the city to the county years ago un­der a spe­cial ar­range­ment.

Min­i­mum qual­i­fi­ca­tions for the po­si­tion are a bach­e­lor’s de­gree in parks and recre­ation man­age­ment or a re­lated field, with a min­i­mum of seven to 10 years of ex­pe­ri­ence in “recre­ational pro­gram­ming, su­per­vi­sion, and recre­ational fa­cil­ity/park main­te­nance,” or other equiv­a­lent com­bi­na­tions of ed­u­ca­tion, train­ing and recre­ational or park ex­pe­ri­ence.

Hai­ley re­tired May 1 af­ter nearly a quar­ter-cen­tury with the Recre­ation Com­mis­sion. As­sis­tant Recre­ation Direc­tor An­thony Avery has been run­ning the com­mis­sion’s day-to-day op­er­a­tions and has re­ceived some ad­di­tional com­pen­sa­tion, said com­mis­sion board Chair Danny Stone. If there aren’t enough ap­pli­ca­tions from county em­ploy­ees for the job, the post­ing will be put out to the gen­eral pub­lic, Stone said pre­vi­ously.

“Strictly from the fact of boost­ing morale, we want to give county em­ploy­ees an idea they’re not just spin­ning their wheels, but if they work hard and do their job, they will have the op­por­tu­nity to move to a po­si­tion with more re­spon­si­bil­ity,” Stone said pre­vi­ously. He also said pre­vi­ously a hir­ing com­mit­tee of com­mis­sion mem­bers — Stone, the Rev. Ronny Bran­nen, Flem­mie Pitts and An­dre Cooper — will do the ini­tial re­view of ap­pli­ca­tions and select three to five fi­nal­ists, who then will be in­ter­viewed by the recre­ation com­mis­sion and pos­si­bly the New­ton County Board of Com­mis­sion­ers as well. The Recre­ation Com­mis­sion is an en­tity cre­ated by the state, which tech­ni­cally gives it the author­ity to hire a new direc­tor un­der its by­laws. How­ever, Stone said pre­vi­ously that the direc­tor will be a county po­si­tion and much of the com­mis­sion’s fund­ing is pro­vided by the county, so the two groups were plan­ning to work to­gether.

Ac­cord­ing to its web­site, the Recre­ation Com­mis­sion has 10 full­time staff mem­bers, five main­te­nance em­ploy­ees and nine part-time em­ploy­ees. The county cut the Recre­ation Com­mis­sion’s fund­ing for the 201314 bud­get year from $1.71 mil­lion to $1.62 mil­lion.

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