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Karen Duggan
May 4th, 2010, 12:22 PM
Hey Everybody-
Guess what? Our coaches positions have been eliminated by the City of Walnut Creek. This is not a joke. Of the Aquatics programs in the city, ours is the only one that operates in the black, and yet they are going to cut it.

If you could, would you shoot a brief e-mail, to the city council and let them know what a successful program this is across the country and in the world. All few hundred of us are doing what we can, but I think it's time to bring in the big guns- you.
Kerry has spent 30 years of his life building this program into what it is today, and helping many of you in the process, please help him and the program that he lives for.

The address is: mayor@walnut-creek.org
and ask them to respond to your e-mail.

Thanks,
Karen Duggan

Karen Duggan
May 4th, 2010, 12:27 PM
My house has sent 3 separate letters in the last week. Each time we sent one, we BCCd Kerry so he could see what we wrote.
Kerry's e-mail is: swim4wc@netscape.net

Ahelee Sue Osborn
May 4th, 2010, 12:27 PM
WHAT???

Are they cutting the WCM swim program - AND the coaches positions?

Or is the city discontinuing responsibility for coaches salaries?

Karen Duggan
May 4th, 2010, 12:32 PM
Our coaches are paid mostly by the city. Their positions have been eliminated. They are just trying to figure out if they will be eliminated in 45 days or the end of the year.

I'm not asking anybody for money. We are just trying to drive home the point what a successful program this is, not only locally, but nationally and internationally. No one knows us better than our competition!

PLEASE write an e-mail in support of Kerry and all he's done for USMS.
We are trying to keep him out of early retirement, and a way for him to keep his benefits- not to mention save our team!

Ahelee Sue Osborn
May 4th, 2010, 12:45 PM
So let me get this straight...

Is the city going to have all those kick-ass Creekers swim lap swim from now on? Or are they telling you to build your own pool?

Is the program not profitable enough to afford to pay it's coaches?

Not to air the WCM laundry here, but this is good and interesting information for clubs to understand.

Some of the largest masters swim clubs in the USA do not pay pool rental fees. Some don't pay coaches salaries.
So where is the $$ in membership dues going?

All that provided coaching and free lane space can be taken away in a flash.
Is your club ready to support itself if necessary?

If anyone can do it, Walnut Creek and it's incredible swimming community can -

FlyQueen
May 4th, 2010, 01:31 PM
Done! Anything for Kerry.

knelson
May 4th, 2010, 01:47 PM
I posted in my blog a week or so ago that Seattle is considering closing several city pools. So, yeah, this kind of thing is happening all over the country. Let's face it, pools are expensive to staff and to maintain and it looks great to the city's bottom line to simply close them or eliminate positions like apparently Walnut Creek is doing. Definitely write, email, call, whatever the mayor's office and city council to show you care about these things. Don't just assume others will so you don't have to. I'm attending a public hearing after work today and hope to get my three minutes to discuss how important the pools are not only to me, but to the entire community.

Karen Duggan
May 4th, 2010, 02:05 PM
Thanks Heather. I really appreciate it. :angel:

OK, here's the scoop as I know it.

The City of WC pays most of Kerry's salary, and half of the asst. coaches salaries (which aren't very big- I think all 3 of them don't even make up 1 FT coach). Kerry is a FT employee w/benefits. Our team, through our dues, which are about $250/year (I think- it's no more than $300 for sure), pays the rest of Kerry's salary, and half of the asst. coaches.
These funds have been eliminated by the city.

We will most certainly have to pick up the difference as a team. Our concern is that Kerry has 30 years in with the City and full medical. We can't pick that up.

Furthermore the city is asking us to use the Aquabear model where we rent the pool for x$/month. The Aquabears do not make the city money with this pool fee ($24,000/yr), and they don't make the city money at all.
On the other hand, WCM, in addition to our dues, pays a splash fee $4.50, every time we swim. We bring in over $150,000 to the city every year! That more than pays for our coaches.

Our board is looking at several options:
1) save our current situation- this pool is in a perfect central location (that's why we all swim in the same pool!)
2) moving to a new location, so no more WC anything (fine with us)- there aren't any other pools centrally located- probably lose people (not the goal of USMS)
3) trying to raise funds to build our own facility- that would take corporate sponsorship and that's a whole other can of worms.

I am all for #3. I think that we could do it. It would probably take 5 years but I think we could. We could have as many meets as we wanted, etc...

Anyway, please e-mail and let our city council know what an amazing team Kerry has created. Believe me we've been singing his praises, but they expect that from his swimmers. They'd be hard pressed not to listen to other swimmers from across the country, or even the border (hint hint):
mayor@walnut-creek.org

Please, it will take you 3 minutes max, and if takes longer than that, I'll buy you a beer. :chug:

Karen Duggan
May 4th, 2010, 02:08 PM
BTW, the city has $20 million in reserves. I know these are used for emergencies. Hello, dozens of city employees are losing their jobs and their medical, it doesn't get worse than that! And if it does get worse than that, $20 million ain't gonna fix it!

JimRude
May 4th, 2010, 03:07 PM
Thanks Heather. I really appreciate it. :angel:

OK, here's the scoop as I know it.

The City of WC pays most of Kerry's salary, and half of the asst. coaches salaries (which aren't very big- I think all 3 of them don't even make up 1 FT coach). Kerry is a FT employee w/benefits. Our team, through our dues, which are about $250/year (I think- it's no more than $300 for sure), pays the rest of Kerry's salary, and half of the asst. coaches.
These funds have been eliminated by the city.

We will most certainly have to pick up the difference as a team. Our concern is that Kerry has 30 years in with the City and full medical. We can't pick that up.

Furthermore the city is asking us to use the Aquabear model where we rent the pool for x$/month. The Aquabears do not make the city money with this pool fee ($24,000/yr), and they don't make the city money at all.
On the other hand, WCM, in addition to our dues, pays a splash fee $4.50, every time we swim. We bring in over $150,000 to the city every year! That more than pays for our coaches.

Our board is looking at several options:
1) save our current situation- this pool is in a perfect central location (that's why we all swim in the same pool!)
2) moving to a new location, so no more WC anything (fine with us)- there aren't any other pools centrally located- probably lose people (not the goal of USMS)
3) trying to raise funds to build our own facility- that would take corporate sponsorship and that's a whole other can of worms.

I am all for #3. I think that we could do it. It would probably take 5 years but I think we could. We could have as many meets as we wanted, etc...

Anyway, please e-mail and let our city council know what an amazing team Kerry has created. Believe me we've been singing his praises, but they expect that from his swimmers. They'd be hard pressed not to listen to other swimmers from across the country, or even the border (hint hint):
mayor@walnut-creek.org

Please, it will take you 3 minutes max, and if takes longer than that, I'll buy you a beer. :chug:

How about:

Approach the city of WC together with Aquabears, and offer to take over the ownership and operation of the pool. Kerry is no longer a city employee, but if it's done right he and the clubs can do very well for themselves. IMHO, the biggest weaknesses for cities that operate pools is their high overhead (yes, city employees with salaries and benefits cost a lot) and poor facility programming. USA-S has great resources in this regard. I believe the city of Colorado Springs is now outsourcing ownership and operation of its pools.

Karen Duggan
May 4th, 2010, 03:26 PM
Good idea Jim.
I'll have people look into this, too.

Thanks!

DPC
May 4th, 2010, 03:29 PM
BTW, the city has $20 million in reserves. I know these are used for emergencies. Hello, dozens of city employees are losing their jobs and their medical, it doesn't get worse than that! And if it does get worse than that, $20 million ain't gonna fix it!

Karen,
I looked at the city web site on the budget page (I've been a state budget writer, school finance director for most of the past 17 years so I get the numbers) and something does not make sense to me. I see the rec page where they are cutting about $122K in expenses, I presume that is staffing and some operating expenses you highlighted, but they project a revenue loss of about $257K from the current year, I presume that it is from the closing of the Larkey (but they claim that it will be picked up by the other pool). So where is the revenue going? or the explaination for the $250K drop. The question for the city is why would you trade a $122K in expenses for $250K in revenue?? - unless there are additional savings in another part of the budget that isn't showing on these pages like utilities which may be captured in another budget.

On your team, how many members do you have paying dues?? The splash charge of $4.50 is that a per person or per practice session?? I was trying to figure out the $150K in revenue; maybe that's part of the $250K reduction in their revenue - and again why would you shutter a program that on balance makes you money or at least covers its own expenses. What would the hit be to the WCM members if you had to pick up the coaches costs?

Of course it seems to me that they could use some of the reserve $20M to bridge the budget gap for the next couple of years until it things stabilize - that's a a pretty hefty reserve, not that they should just blaze it all away.

Karen Duggan
May 4th, 2010, 03:53 PM
Many people are trying to figure out these numbers.
Larkey Pool is a small L-shaped 25 yd pool that is only open during the summer. It doesn't make much money, and I don't see how they think that Clarke will pick up the revenue from Larkey. If Larkey closes I don't think everyone will automatically come over to Clarke (kinda far and parking in the summer is a nightmare!)

Every time you go into the pool it's $4.50. So if we have 100 people swim/day (which is a little high) that's $450/day x 5 days equals $2250/week
x 50 weeks is $112,500 for the year. Summer use goes WAY up for everything as you might imagine. Oh, I know, they do lessons at Larkey. That's got to be a good chunk of change they'll be missing...

Anyway, thanks for your input Dave. You're right, it doesn't make sense!

aquageek
May 4th, 2010, 04:15 PM
Government doesn't understand logical financial arguments. You have to come up with another way to convince them, like endowing a swim school program or something "for the greater good." Explaining fiscal responsiblity to a government is like explaining physics to a gnat.

swimmj
May 4th, 2010, 04:31 PM
Many people are trying to figure out these numbers.
Larkey Pool is a small L-shaped 25 yd pool that is only open during the summer. It doesn't make much money, and I don't see how they think that Clarke will pick up the revenue from Larkey. If Larkey closes I don't think everyone will automatically come over to Clarke (kinda far and parking in the summer is a nightmare!)

Every time you go into the pool it's $4.50. So if we have 100 people swim/day (which is a little high) that's $450/day x 5 days equals $2250/week
x 50 weeks is $112,500 for the year. Summer use goes WAY up for everything as you might imagine. Oh, I know, they do lessons at Larkey. That's got to be a good chunk of change they'll be missing...

Anyway, thanks for your input Dave. You're right, it doesn't make sense!

It's more than fair to ask the Mayor for rationale behind these decisions, and then present further information. It's quite likely that the city doesn't really understand the revenue coming in from the Masters program. I will definitely email the Mayor - cutting coaches doesn't seem like a good idea when there is so much focus on reducing obesity and increasing fitness. Tell them about the revenue and all the benefits of a successful program. It can be seen as a form of marketing for the city.

--mj

knelson
May 4th, 2010, 04:39 PM
If I were the mayor I'd definitely be asking why the city is paying the salary and benefits for the coach of a private organization. Shouldn't that organization being paying the coach's salary? Anyway, putting myself in the mayor's shoes that's what I'd be asking.

DPC
May 4th, 2010, 04:56 PM
If I were the mayor I'd definitely be asking why the city is paying the salary and benefits for the coach of a private organization. Shouldn't that organization being paying the coach's salary? Anyway, putting myself in the mayor's shoes that's what I'd be asking.

Logical point - except that if she's been a long time employee the position has morphed into its current form - how much is she a city employee and how much is the WCM coach - is the city's payment for her services commensurate with her city work at the pool (maybe the WCW $$ are a supplement to her city paid work). However, maybe if she retires from the city, she can collect her pension and still be the WCM coach - as a retiree she can still get health benefits through the city (generally a higher premium amount). The city doesn't fund her position, the WCM continues to pay her as their coach and the pool fees (now she's not on the city clock) - maybe WCW pays the difference between her pension and her current pay, or the net cost of the health care cost. The City saves, maybe they can still pay to keep the assistant coaches around.

knelson
May 4th, 2010, 05:02 PM
Kerry O'Brien is a man, by the way.

Yeah, those are good questions. Maybe Karen knows if Kerry's job description is simply "coach" or if he's something like aquatics director for this pool or for the city.

I certainly hope WCM can keep Kerry however this is accomplished. No question he's done a lot for the sport of masters swimming!

Karen Duggan
May 4th, 2010, 05:08 PM
Kirk-
WCM is a non-profit organization that the City has agreed to help subsidize (through hiring the coaches as employees of the city). All of the money for our dues goes to coaches salaries.
It's always been to the city's benefit, as Kerry has attracted so many swimmers to the pool. I know if it weren't for him I'd be doing laps on my own, and it wouldn't be daily!

Thanks swimmj- it is much appreciated.

BTW, that $112,500/year was Masters only. Keep in mind, that when the pool is set up SCY (about 9 months of the year) we have about 25 lanes and they are packed with lap swimmers. I would venture a guess that the City takes in about $800/day (conservatively) for lap swimming and masters swimming combined. Again, conservatively, that's $200,000/year.
Plus, during the summer you get school groups and people who just want to come and splash around. Clarke Pool is always voted Best Pool in the 'Best of the Bay Area' polls.

Karen Duggan
May 4th, 2010, 05:15 PM
I know Kerry has more duties than just coach, I don't know what else they include. I know there is an aquatics director and a pool mgr.

Anyway, I'd still like to encourage people to write to the city and share with them how impressive the program is that Kerry built. Who better than fellow masters swimmers?

Thanks!

mayor@walnut-creek.org

knelson
May 4th, 2010, 05:23 PM
It's always been to the city's benefit, as Kerry has attracted so many swimmers to the pool.

I'm sure you're right. Hopefully all the WCM swimmers can convince the mayor this!

Ahelee Sue Osborn
May 4th, 2010, 08:26 PM
Karen - Looks like you gathered some great info and suggestions here today. Walnut Creek is a strong swimming community. I lived and swam there many years and I know this is true. Hopefully they will rally for WCM as well.

Don't assume all USMS Committee Chairs read the forum. You might want to reach out to any and all of them and ask for their letters too.

You KNOW the USMS Coaches will support Kerry. He has been a mentor and support to so many of us. It has never mattered whether you were a new or an experienced coach. He always has time to offer a good word.

Some of you may not know, but there is actually a USMS Award named after Kerry O'Brien honoring grass-roots coaches who contribute to the sport.
The Kerry O'Brien Award

This is pretty significant to create an award named after someone who is actually still alive and kicking a** as a masters swim coach!

pwb
May 4th, 2010, 10:43 PM
Karen,

While going to the mayor is great, I'd recommend you try to figure out the infrastructure of the government between the mayor and the pool staff to determine who you have to influence. In our city, we have:


Pool staff
Parks & Recreation staff
Parks & Recreation board (people are elected here and generally volunteer positions)
City Council
Mayor

At least in our locality, each of the parties above needs far more attention (and, thankfully, has far more access) of a lobbying effort than the mayor him/herself.

floswimmer
May 4th, 2010, 11:23 PM
Hello Karen, Just to let you know I sent an e-mail to the Mayor. I hope it helps:)

Karen Duggan
May 5th, 2010, 10:58 AM
Thanks flo. It is appreciated = )

We had a city council meeting last night. Kerry asked the team NOT to go, as our board members and captains (all 14 of them) were going to speak on our behalf (Kerry's behalf). They wanted smaller numbers b/c the mtg. was going to be filled to the rafters, as it included ALL budget cuts in the city.

Great idea Ahelee. I'll see how the meeting went and then perhaps post elsewhere.

Thanks everybody.

And still, if you could take a minute to e-mail and let Walnut Creek know what an amazing program Kerry O'Brien has built, that would be huge for getting to keep him. mayor@walnut-creek.org

:)

stillwater
May 5th, 2010, 11:45 AM
Mrs. Duggan,

I am sorry to hear about WCM troubles. Kerry's current position with the city is probably toast no matter what you do.

Having done a bit of lobbying at the state level, it has been my experience that politicians don't really care about feel good programs that make the community a better place. They may say they do, and even act by giving funding. Then when the issue dies down they slowly starve the program to extinction.

Politicians care about getting re-elected. In a small community a block of voters can have an effect, and you need to let your elected officials know of your feelings. Have you gone to the news? Politicians hate negative news stories about the unpopular decisions they make.

I know you don't want to get nasty, but politics is a very nasty sport. Employees like Kerry can't speak out. You can. The old saying is that to win your pol over you have four options: dirt (unethical but not uncommon), money, employee strike (probably not an option), or something that threatens their job. Community outrage works, temporarly.

A stable source of funding is what you need to look for. Sponsorships are nice, but the plug can be pulled at a moments notice. If you could force the city to allocate a portion of your members dues to go in a special fund or lockbox (to borrow from Mr. Gore) that supports WCM you would have won a huge battle. Politicians don't like to be told that they can't spend money any way they choose.

The facility that you swim at is beautiful. I can't believe that they would close it, but then again I can.

Good luck.

Karen Duggan
May 5th, 2010, 12:08 PM
We know you are right Mr. Ninny. In fact we have all gotten the same "canned response" e-mail. I sent a not-very-nice response to their letter.

I hadn't thought about the media, that's a great idea. And even if that doesn't save Kerry's job, perhaps it would garner interest for building our own facility. A friend of mine that I grew up swimming with was a newscaster on the local Fox station here. She now works for the Giants doing their on the field stuff. I'll call her. = )

I have been swimming for 30 years this year. Hopefully, I'll be swimming for another 40-50, so I am very excited at the possibility of our team, and that's who it would be, building our own state of the art facility with 2-50m pools, and all that would make it world class. No one has said that's what we will do, but that's something I am certainly going to push for. My only concern is that pools usually operate in the red. However, if we could get one nationals a year...

There are two nearby high schools who desperately need a facility. I have NEVER seen a water polo practice or game. I'm at the pool almost every day! I dare say water polo would be interested in a new facility. I don't care too much for synchro (really, the way the parents are pressuring their children to look a certain way- tears daily in the locker room!), but I'm sure they'd want a new pool. The thing is that there is such a need in the extemely large aquatic community.

Anyway, thanks for the great suggestions.
Pressing on!

knelson
May 5th, 2010, 12:47 PM
There was a big public hearing on the budget in Seattle last night, too. Several people including myself spoke in support of pools. It was packed. I arrived before 5:00 and didn't get to speak until 9:00 or so. It was pretty impressive the number of programs people spoke out for. Everything from programs for the disabled, the homeless, parks and community centers, libraries, sidewalk repair. Pretty much everything imaginable! I was impressed that very few speakers resorted to ranting.

Rob Butcher
May 5th, 2010, 02:47 PM
I have mailed the attached letter to the Mayor and fellow Council Members. It is copied below if you would prefer to read here rather than download.


May 5, 2010

Mayor Susan Rainey
City Hall
1666 No. Main Street
Walnut Creek, CA 94596

Dear Madame Mayor and Council Members,

More than 30-years ago, the City of Walnut Creek pioneered a partnership with Walnut Creek Masters that today is being modeled across the country in states such as Indiana, Florida, Iowa, New York, Michigan and neighboring communities in California. Your partnership included employing Kerry O’Brien as a Masters swimming coach (Kerry as you’ve discovered has done so much more that just coach the past 30-years for the City of Walnut Creek). Your partnership signaled a commitment to the citizens of Walnut Creek to offer an adult swimming lifestyle program that would be accessible and make a difference in the quality of their lives. In return, Walnut Creek Masters has become a storied and legacy program in the U.S. and internationally. In addition to numerous national team accolades and worldwide notoriety, in 2008 we named our highest coaching award in honor of Kerry O’Brien.

Reviewing purely the Cities financial pro forma for Walnut Creek Masters, it appears the program is at worst break even. By eliminating the Masters coaching position, you in essence are choosing to end the partnership with Walnut Creek Masters. The Walnut Creek Masters board will have no choice but to review all their options including what facilities to offer their programs. Please do recognize that Walnut Creek Masters is comprised of more than 400 members as well as hosts several adult swim meets. I would suggest that you risk a lot more than you think you might gain.

Later this month, the White House and Mrs. Obama will unveil the National Physical Activity Plan. The Plan has a vision: One day, all Americans will be physically active and they will live, work, and play in environments that facilitate regular physical activity.

The Plan is a comprehensive set of policies, programs, and initiatives that aim to increase physical activity in all segments of the American population. The Plan is the product of a private-public sector collaborative. Hundreds of organizations including U.S. Masters Swimming and Walnut Creek Masters by extension are working together to change our communities in ways that will enable every American to be sufficiently physically active.

The Plan aims to create a national culture that supports physically active lifestyles. Its ultimate purpose is to improve health, prevent disease and disability, and enhance quality of life. I can think of no better testimony to the Plan than continuing the partnership between the City of Walnut Creek and Walnut Creek Masters.

Respectfully submitted,

Rob Butcher
Executive Director
U.S. Masters Swimming

Karen Duggan
May 5th, 2010, 03:44 PM
Rob- I hate to be dramatic, but seeing that you wrote a letter brought tears to my eyes. Then after reading your letter, I am so very thankful, as I know my teammates will be. :angel:

Your letter is extremely well written, and will carry a lot of weight. THANK YOU. If you are going to nationals I would be honored to buy you a beer!
:chug:

I got the scoop on the city council mtg last night: Apparently, the city council members were not aware of the exact implications of these cuts. Because there were general descriptions of the cuts (line item), they were not aware of the ramifications of the cuts. According to one person, the mayor had a stunned look on her face when she was informed that WCM does not lose money- the fiscal impact was a big fat zero on the page.

This was the first in a series of meetings.
Pressing on.

BTW, since my students are doing state testing, and now watching a video, I've had time to do some research. Can someone tell me the cost of the Oly Trials pool in Long Beach? I looked at the builder's site, Myrtha, and it said $1.2m, however I don't know if that's for one pool or both?

sarahwelch
May 5th, 2010, 04:40 PM
Karen, you are doing what needs to be done. Echoing Kirk Nelson, Seattle is considering closing some or ALL it's public pools. PNA LMSC is organizing with others to save the pools. However, we'll need to look at alternative scenarios. Our King County let go/boarded up all its pools 5 years ago except Federal Way. 5 are now operated by non profits. The latest, Evergreen is being operated by a USA swimming team and the coach and board are reaching out to masters, water polo, vets and the community to fill the pool and bring in revenue...breaking even instead of losing money which the County was doing.
You may want to suggest options: 1) WCM rents the pool at a fixed rate and the team hires coaches, collects dues/fees and guarantees the City the money from the use time. or 2) if the entire facility is at risk of closure, put together a non profit board, hire staff and run the pool yourselves...or through a USA swimming team. USA swimming is seeing the writing on the wall for operating city pools and is training their clubs to take over management.
Sounds like you got their attention, though. Good job. I just recommend you keep options in your pocket. The municipal financial scene is not getting better any time soon.
Sarah

Karen Duggan
May 5th, 2010, 04:48 PM
Thanks Sarah.
Good luck with your situation as well.

The irony of the USA (Aquabear) model is that they rent the pool at a fixed cost per month. They don't make the city any money. We, as masters, getting bigger all the time, pay as we go. So we generate more money doing daily splash fees than the 'bears do for the whole year. And it's not just a few thousand dollars, it's tens of thousands more.

If the city had half a brain, they'd either up the Aquabear "rent" or make them pay splash fees. They too are growing in numbers, but still pay the same yearly rent.

:blah:

Thanks again, Sarah.

Cokie
May 5th, 2010, 07:28 PM
Just sent my email in. Hope many of you do so as well. This is what I wrote.

To the Mayor and City Council Members

I just received information that the City of Walnut Creek has eliminated the coaching positions for the Walnut Creek Masters Swim Program. I'm sure by now you have heard from many on the team. *I am a voice outside the team and hope that my perspective adds to the overwhelming support for the team and their coaches.

I am a competitive masters swimmer with US Masters Swimming for 19 years and a new head coach of a small masters swim team in Novato, the Marin Pirates Masters. I also have the honor of being the chairperson for the Coaches Committee with Pacific Masters Swimming, the regional body that governs masters swimming in Northern California.

What Kerry O'Brien and his team of masters coaches has done for the world of masters swimming is nothing short of astounding. The Walnut Creek Masters (WCM) team is the epitome of what all of our teams strive to be. Not only do they have an incredible size team that manages to operate in the black year after year, they have the finest coaching staff in the nation. This team hosts meets every single year and they do so enthusiastically and efficiently. Their swimmers, who range from 19 to those in their 90s, are ambassadors for your city. They are talented beyond belief and make one heck of a presence at regional, national, and World Championships. Everyone loves the team, their swimmers, and their coaches. They radiate good health and fitness and have inspired many, many onlookers to start or return to swimming. **

When I decided to turn my passion for swimming to coaching, it was Kerry O'Brien I turned to. In fact, in the swimming world Kerry is known for his openness and has mentored countless numbers of coaches across the nation. At the National level, not only has Kerry been named the US Masters Coach of the Year, there is now an award given in his name. He has a presence that is unparalleled and carries influence on a regional and National level.

So, not only do you have one of the top teams in the US, you have the cream of the crop in Kerry O'Brien and his coaching staff.

I most definitely do not envy you the task of trimming your budget, however I implore you to reconsider the decision to eliminate the coaching positions for the Walnut Creek Masters. These coaches, and this team, absolutely enhance the image of the City of Walnut Creek far beyond its borders.

Cokie Lepinski
Coach - Marin Pirates Masters
Chair, Coaches Committee, Pacific Masters SWimming
swimnut@mac.com
415-827-5672

bonnijean
May 5th, 2010, 07:45 PM
WHAT???

Are they cutting the WCM swim program - AND the coaches positions?

Or is the city discontinuing responsibility for coaches salaries?


They want to discontinue funding for the program by eliminating all of our coaches positions. Kerry is a 29 year city employee with full benefits. This move would greatly undermine our team and all that Kerry and our other wonderful coaches have built, not to mention the total disregard of all of his assests to the city. eg-creating new programs for the city, providing fitness opportunity and training for all citizens, improving the quality of life for many seniors and all ages, bringing commerce to Walnut Creek by the 400 or so people who may stop and get lunch or shop befor/after workout.

bonnijean
May 5th, 2010, 07:47 PM
They want to discontinue funding for the program by eliminating all of our coaches positions. Kerry is a 29 year city employee with full benefits. This move would greatly undermine our team and all that Kerry and our other wonderful coaches have built, not to mention the total disregard of all of his assests to the city. eg-creating new programs for the city, providing fitness opportunity and training for all citizens, improving the quality of life for many seniors and all ages, bringing commerce to Walnut Creek by the 400 or so people who may stop and get lunch or shop befor/after workout.

We run in the black, costing the city nothing. BJ Henry

ourswimmer
May 5th, 2010, 09:06 PM
I wish I understood the facts of the situation.

Does the team cover every cent of its own costs, including its share of debt service (if any) and operating costs for the pool as well as the full cost of salary and benefits for all coaches (e.g., "run in the black")? Or does the city provide a subsidy from its general fund? It's one argument to explain why the city should not cut a cost that actually functions as a moneymaker to subsidize other city aquatics programs; it's a different argument (harder, too, although not impossible) to justify a subsidy to WCM members from other city resources.

Is the city planning to eliminate the program completely? Or is it proposing to restructure the financial relationship in some way that some city financial analyst thinks (perhaps rightly, perhaps wrongly) will be more financially advantageous to the city?

If the city stops paying the coaches, can the team keep the program going by paying them itself?

If the city started charging the team a flat rent rather than charging each individual swimmer a drop-in fee, and if the team then started paying its own coaches to be on deck during the time the team had rented, would each member end up paying more per month, or less?

Karen Duggan
May 6th, 2010, 05:15 PM
Our coaches are paid (to make it easy) half by WCM and half by the city.

The city wants to eliminate their share of the cost.

Yes, we could pick up the rest, however, Kerry gets medical through the city. He's only 52 so he won't be up for medicare for awhile. That would be hard for us to pick up.

Our program makes the city over $150K/year with our splash fees. They do not even come close to paying that in salaries. If they cut our coaches, they, in effect, lose $150K.

Let me know if this helps. :D

Karen Duggan
May 6th, 2010, 05:17 PM
BTW, there are not enough ways to say thank you to all of you who have written letters on Kerry's behalf. He is touched, as are we all.

Please continue to write letters: mayor@walnut-creek.org

I've written 3!

Mandrake
May 6th, 2010, 06:33 PM
I understand your plight, but don't see the problem.

Let's assume, times being what they are, that the city does cut the coaching salaries completely. Why wouldn't the club simply raise monthly dues, rent space back from the city (eliminating the per swim fee), and pay the coaches through the club? With WCM over 400 swimmers it should be a slam dunk to operate in the black.

Of course, that's how the Aquabears do it. Yes, it's true that the cheapest annual dues for the WCAB program are $1195 per year as a entry level swimmer. National Level Swimmers pay up to $2700 per year. I'm not saying that WCM swimmers should pay that much, but why should the city subsidize an adult program if they are not doing the same for every other community aquatics program? Where are the city paid coaches for age group swimming, water polo, diving, synchronized swimming, etc.?

The city is on the verge of spending $20 million to update our pools to meet modern standards. The city hopes to move their aquatics programs into the future with amazing modern facilities, more "family" aquatic facilities, and hopefully a new entrepreneurial management spirit. ( http://www.walnut-creek.org/documents/Recreation/WCAquaticsDraftNeedsReport.pdf )

WCM should embrace what the city is trying to do and take this opportunity to take back control of the program. If it's a good business (and I believe it is), then there should be no problem turning a profit. If not, then why should the taxpayers make up the difference?

david.margrave
May 7th, 2010, 12:28 AM
Hey Everybody-
Guess what? Our coaches positions have been eliminated by the City of Walnut Creek. This is not a joke. Of the Aquatics programs in the city, ours is the only one that operates in the black, and yet they are going to cut it.


Interesting. I expect them to play political hostage with popular programs that the public use that operate at a loss - lifeguards at public beaches that do not charge admission for example, are a favorite. I am trying to figure out why they would cut a self-sustaining program.

sgb
May 7th, 2010, 03:08 PM
Thanks Heather. I really appreciate it. :angel:

OK, here's the scoop as I know it.

The City of WC pays most of Kerry's salary, and half of the asst. coaches salaries (which aren't very big- I think all 3 of them don't even make up 1 FT coach). Kerry is a FT employee w/benefits. Our team, through our dues, which are about $250/year (I think- it's no more than $300 for sure), pays the rest of Kerry's salary, and half of the asst. coaches.
These funds have been eliminated by the city.

We will most certainly have to pick up the difference as a team. Our concern is that Kerry has 30 years in with the City and full medical. We can't pick that up.

Furthermore the city is asking us to use the Aquabear model where we rent the pool for x$/month. The Aquabears do not make the city money with this pool fee ($24,000/yr), and they don't make the city money at all.
On the other hand, WCM, in addition to our dues, pays a splash fee $4.50, every time we swim. We bring in over $150,000 to the city every year! That more than pays for our coaches.

Our board is looking at several options:
1) save our current situation- this pool is in a perfect central location (that's why we all swim in the same pool!)
2) moving to a new location, so no more WC anything (fine with us)- there aren't any other pools centrally located- probably lose people (not the goal of USMS)
3) trying to raise funds to build our own facility- that would take corporate sponsorship and that's a whole other can of worms.

I am all for #3. I think that we could do it. It would probably take 5 years but I think we could. We could have as many meets as we wanted, etc...

Anyway, please e-mail and let our city council know what an amazing team Kerry has created. Believe me we've been singing his praises, but they expect that from his swimmers. They'd be hard pressed not to listen to other swimmers from across the country, or even the border (hint hint):
mayor@walnut-creek.org

Please, it will take you 3 minutes max, and if takes longer than that, I'll buy you a beer. :chug:

I sent in an email in support of the WCM program, and you don't owe me a beer, but thanks for the offer. :) We are facing a challenge with the budget cuts in our city as well, here at Mountain View Masters. Our program is structured pretty differently, in that we pay our coaching staff from our membership fees and pay pool rental time to the city. Like you, we are the only cash cow of all pool users and the city's proposal to us would put us under. However, we had good team turnout at a recent city council meeting and I think there is a lot of positive room for our team to negotiate a viable solution and partly this is based on confusion at the city level about what they are charging us compared to what other expenses we and other comparable teams have.

I wonder, after looking at your list of solutions, whether a fourth alternative, trying to negotiate for a flat-rate hourly pool rental, eliminating the splash fee, and taking on the cost of your coaching salaries via your membership dues would not work? That is basically how we have been operating all this time. I do not know what the out of pocket cost to your swimmers would be, but the splash fee seems like a pretty hefty costs while your membership dues are very low (I pay about double what you do to belong to MVM). I realize this does not solve the problem of your head coach's full medical and 30years with the city issue, but perhaps there can be a solution found for that one issue and this otherwise could be a better longterm solution for WCM? Building another pool, going corporate, moving, etc. seem like all would be destructive to your awesome team. But maybe I'm biased by liking how our team is run?

Really hope something works out for you guys!

Karen Duggan
May 10th, 2010, 11:50 AM
I understand your plight, but don't see the problem.

Let's assume, times being what they are, that the city does cut the coaching salaries completely. Why wouldn't the club simply raise monthly dues, rent space back from the city (eliminating the per swim fee), and pay the coaches through the club? With WCM over 400 swimmers it should be a slam dunk to operate in the black.

Of course, that's how the Aquabears do it. Yes, it's true that the cheapest annual dues for the WCAB program are $1195 per year as a entry level swimmer. National Level Swimmers pay up to $2700 per year. I'm not saying that WCM swimmers should pay that much, but why should the city subsidize an adult program if they are not doing the same for every other community aquatics program? Where are the city paid coaches for age group swimming, water polo, diving, synchronized swimming, etc.?

The city is on the verge of spending $20 million to update our pools to meet modern standards. The city hopes to move their aquatics programs into the future with amazing modern facilities, more "family" aquatic facilities, and hopefully a new entrepreneurial management spirit. ( http://www.walnut-creek.org/documents/Recreation/WCAquaticsDraftNeedsReport.pdf )

WCM should embrace what the city is trying to do and take this opportunity to take back control of the program. If it's a good business (and I believe it is), then there should be no problem turning a profit. If not, then why should the taxpayers make up the difference?

Mandrake- We are not getting new pools. That went out the window last month.

Karen Duggan
May 11th, 2010, 11:14 AM
:bump:

If you are interested in writing a letter to sing the praises of Kerry O'Brien and the program he has built, please e-mail: mayor@walnut-creek.org

We still need your help to keep Kerry as a City employee so he can keep his medical benefits.

Thanks!

stillwater
May 11th, 2010, 12:12 PM
Mrs. Duggan,

I am curious about Kerry's city retirement plan. Specifically medical benefits.

My understanding is that Kerry has well over 20 years of service, making him a vested city employee. Many cities allow vested employees to retire at age 50. (yes I know, at a reduced income, but medical is usually 100% after 20 years) It seems that Kerry could retire and collect his monthly check, including medical coverage. Not an ideal or fair solution, but not the grim picture you paint.

Normally when restructuring in government occurs, long term employees in good standing, are shifted to another position, allowing good employees to maintain employment and keep the medical till retirement age.

Of course the City of Walnut Creek may not have the same retirement package as many of the cities I have delt with, but I find it hard to believe that an employee with that many years of service wouldn't have a pension with benefits comming his way. I hope that is not the case with Kerry.

I sympathize with your fight. Good luck.

Karen Duggan
May 11th, 2010, 02:09 PM
I will ask him, but I don't think he gets to keep his medical.
The City of WC has never treated their employees well in terms of benefits, and in fact contract negotiations are always ugly as they try to take more and more away each time. They are not even good at compromise.

Karen Duggan
May 11th, 2010, 02:55 PM
Kerry will only get 3 years of medical if he retires now at $9K/year.
Yep, that's WC, looking out for their own after 30 years of service. Not to mention he has built the most successful program that the city has ever had.

stillwater
May 11th, 2010, 09:36 PM
Kerry will only get 3 years of medical if he retires now at $9K/year.

Mrs. Duggan,

That is a travesty.

Remember Kerry when a fat, balding, drug addled radio talk show host blathers about those "horrible, greedy, public employees."

swimmj
May 11th, 2010, 11:25 PM
Mrs. Duggan,

That is a travesty.

Remember Kerry when a fat, balding, drug addled radio talk show host blathers about those "horrible, greedy, public employees."

No kidding. Could not agree more.

Karen Duggan
May 12th, 2010, 12:54 PM
Here's the latest. Kerry met with the city manager yesterday, who continues to perpetuate the repuation of being an @$$%0!e. He said that given all of the information that he will still recommend to the city council to cut Kerry's position. Not only that, but he is now having the city attorney look at Kerry's job as a "conflict of interest" as he also gets paid by our team. I cannot tell you the expletives that came out of my mouth. I am far beyond disgusted.

What it comes down to are two things: the guy is the aforementioned expletive, and he wants WCM to fit the model of all other city programs. He doesn't care that this is the only city program that runs in the black and is therefore self-sustaining. He wants it to be mediocre like everything else.
Instead of modeling the mediocre programs after the one Kerry has built, he will destroy Kerry's.

We don't know what we will do as a team at this point. Several options have been tossed around, and none of them are ideal.

I am extremely sad that someone like Kerry, who showed up to work day in and day out for 30 years, and built a program that is a model for the rest of the country, is being relatively dismissed.

Please write letters to our city council, as they are the only ones (being the city manager's boss) that can save Kerry.

mayor@walnut-creek.org

I've already written two, my hubby has written one and posted on Claycord.com, and I will write another one today (it will NOT be pretty, I assure you).

Some further background info on our city mgr. He is trying to get this thing called a 'white letter' sent to all of the city mgrs. in CA. Basically, what it does is screw all public employees. How? He is trying to get all cities to make the same massive cuts, and by everybody cutting, then the employees can't leave their city for a better paying job in another city. For example, several years ago many police officers left for better paying jobs in other depts. This yo-yo is trying to make it so there is no better place to go!
Mind you he already collects full retirement and benefits from a city that he used to work in, plus his current salary of about $180K.

jroddin
May 12th, 2010, 03:07 PM
Please write letters to our city council, as they are the only ones (being the city manager's boss) that can save Kerry.

mayor@walnut-creek.org

I've already written two, my hubby has written one and posted on Claycord.com, and I will write another one today (it will NOT be pretty, I assure you).

If you are confident writing a nasty letter will help your cause, all the power to you.:confused:

Karen Duggan
May 12th, 2010, 03:39 PM
I didn't say it would be nasty, but it will state the facts as they are, again. I guess what is so frustrating, is that it is starting to look like no matter what, Kerry is screwed. And that is not right. People who have no idea about this situation are ignoring the facts and making life altering decisions that don't need to be made.

stillwater
May 12th, 2010, 04:25 PM
Mrs. Duggan,

It is very strange that Kerry's salary is paid half by the city and half by the WCM, yet the city picks up all of his health insurance, and retirement. I wonder about his vacation, sick leave, industrial disability and other benefits afforded to most permanent city employees.

That is a huge red flag that should have been dealt with long ago. I don't expect a young man (as Kerry was when he started the program) to think 30 years into the future. It is a shame that this issue wasn't addressed 20 years ago.

It seems that Kerry has been getting screwed by the city and the people who he has helped for 30 years. How much are your dues?

I hope that the city will find other employment for a higly skilled and dedicated public servant.

Karen Duggan
May 13th, 2010, 11:21 AM
Kerry has had vacation time, sick leave, all of it as an employee.

Our dues are less than $300 I think.

Here's the latest thought: we just found out that nearby, state-of-the-art Cowell Pool in Concord, CA will now be closing for the three cold months this coming year (Dec-Feb). That effectively eliminates the Terrapins USA-S program. They now need to find a new place to train.

Some of us are thinking, and I said this originally to my husband when all of this started, that the City of WC is trying to close down our pool. If you take away the most successful program at the pool (WCM) you will lose about $200K/year- a huge loss of revenue. Then you would surely have a reason to close the pool. I think they are just using this "your program needs to be the same model as everyone else's" as an excuse.

I really hope I am wrong, but I'm kinda thinking they are after the pool to close.

Our best, last hope is to convince the city council to tell the city mgr. that he is way off base. Luckily, some of us know the city council members. I hope that helps.

DPC
May 13th, 2010, 03:45 PM
Instead of modeling the mediocre programs after the one Kerry has built, he will destroy Kerry's.

I am extremely sad that someone like Kerry, who showed up to work day in and day out for 30 years, and built a program that is a model for the rest of the country, is being relatively dismissed.

Mind you he already collects full retirement and benefits from a city that he used to work in, plus his current salary of about $180K.

Typical of someone who knows the cost of everything but the value of nothing. I've been a "public employee" for almost 18 years now (am I gettting that old???) and I've always been a budget/finance manager. I hate guys like this - first one at the feeding trough, but is only looking for ways to cut out others to make himself look better. If anyone has a conflict its him - collecting a city pension and working a public sector job, must be from out of state or you need to change your pension laws. I'll bet he's angling for a big bonus/raise if he reduces the city budget enough - you should FOIA his job performance goals. The ramifications will come in the out years - 3-4 years down the road and they will be masked by increases in revenue as the local economy gets better - but the quality programs no longer exist.

I would think his actions regarding the "white letter" border on collusion, at a minimum ethically questionable. Is there an underlying feeling that the mayor-council can be swayed to look at the value of the program versus the "cost"?? Is it a matter of time before the manager just starves the program and Kerry out??

Karen Duggan
May 13th, 2010, 03:58 PM
DPC- Here is a little more information on city doings:

A few years ago the city council (and I don't think these are the same council members now) wanted to build a new library. The then-city mgr told them that financially they couldn't do it. They told him to go back and try again with the numbers. Since numbers are what numbers are, he went back again and said they couldn't do it. (I had his son in my class). Even the voters voted twice not to build this library. The city council fired that city mgr and brought in this new guy whose background is in performing arts. He told them they could build this library (shocker).

The interesting thing is that to get rid of the old city mgr they paid him off for his remaining 3 years at $180K/year !!! All to bring in a new guy who would give them the answers they wanted. Nice use of taxpayer money. I know I appreciate it :confused:

In CA it is "normal" for people to retire from one agency with a pension and go work for another agency. I know of a police chief who "retired" from WCPD for a 3rd time- he already had 2 other pensions as chief from 2 other agencies! What a racket huh? He's now making FAR more retired than he ever made working.

I find myself daily now wondering at how the completely stupid are making decisions for the rest of us. (I guess they're not that stupid if they got elected though, huh?)

Sigh.

stillwater
May 13th, 2010, 04:02 PM
Our dues are less than $300 I think.

Has anybody suggested doubling your dues?

If a study was done about comparable fees in other masters programs it wouldn't favor your case.

How many members are residents of the City of Walnut Creek? Perhaps that is why the mayor doesn't care. Non-residents can't vote. Since local property taxes are probably paying for the pool, he can make an argument about being fiscally tight.

You have a tough battle.

DPC
May 13th, 2010, 04:28 PM
Since numbers are what numbers are, he went back again and said they couldn't do it. (I had his son in my class). Even the voters voted twice not to build this library. The city council fired that city mgr and brought in this new guy whose background is in performing arts. He told them they could build this library (shocker).

In CA it is "normal" for people to retire from one agency with a pension and go work for another agency. I know of a police chief who "retired" from WCPD for a 3rd time- he already had 2 other pensions as chief from 2 other agencies! What a racket huh? He's now making FAR more retired than he ever made working.

Uggh!!!!! That's the adage about figures don't lie, but liars figure. Numbers are what they are - it all depends on who is looking at them and through what lens (this one is probably green).

In MA if you retire from a city/state job with a pension you can only work a max of 960 hours per year and still collect, and you further can't make a total of more than what your salary would have been(IIRC) Some tried to skirt the issue by becoming "contractors", but this activity is getting a lot of attention now. Seems like your new city manager wants to build a monument to himself. Keep up the good fight - remember the ballot box can be a powerful voice.

Karen Duggan
May 13th, 2010, 05:18 PM
Mr. Ninny- I don't know the exact demographics of our team. I don't have a roster with me that lists everyone's complete address. I could find out. I know in the past, that glancing down our roster, most of our team does live in WC.

We have about 440 registered swimmers. I know of about 30, personally, that do not live in WC, myself included. (My mom still lives there and is a voter). I'm sure there are more, as I don't know everybody on the team. Most of the people I don't know swim at 5:30am! And if I have to go to that workout to meet them, well, I'm sure they are nice people...

To swim for WCM, all total with pool fees and dues it is a little less than $1000/yr.

I don't think it's the mayor who doesn't care, it's the city manager. And property taxes are through the roof. I would venture to say that the average home price in WC is about $500-600K. And that is with the market crashed. My mom's home (about 2000 sq ft recently appraised at $750K). Real estate is nuts here.

And with all of the "stuff" going on in our fair state, I'm giving serious thought to moving in three years when my husband retires. I don't want to move as I was born and raised here (and love the weather, the landscape, and the people) but things are just literally crazy here. And things don't show any signs of improving anytime soon.
:badday:

Mandrake
May 13th, 2010, 10:28 PM
I still don't get this. I'm confused that you are so up in arms, but don't seem to know what's going on. You say that you KNOW that the program runs in the black, yet you don't know your team membership numbers, your team dues amounts, nor your team or facility overhead. Without actual facts it's hard to make a cogent argument to the city. "Kerry's a great guy" and "Walnut Creek Masters is awesome" isn't going to cut it. If you have actual data we could use PLEASE share it! BTW, how do you not know what your team dues are?

Think of it this way. If you have approx 440 members and they are willing to pay approx $1000 each per year you are CRAZY not to rent space and have the team pay Kerry! You could rent all the pool space you could want for less than $150k a year. That would leave $250k for coaching salaries and benefits. How is this not a self sustaining business? Kerry should take over the program and begin making $200k a year including benefits! Separate yourselves from the fiscal headache that is (and will continue to be) the city of Walnut Creek! If you stay with the city they are only going to want more and more money and leave you with less and less control.

Also, you will want to tone down the rhetoric and vitriol against the city and the city manager. Calling him an A$$#@LE on a public website, and mentioning people's kids, doesn't do anyone any good. I would expect them to get wind of this discourse and not be too happy about it. You're going to end up sending poor Kerry into an ethics investigation due to taking money from a private group to do city work. This is seriously frowned upon! Remember, you can catch more flies with honey....

Karen Duggan
May 14th, 2010, 11:40 AM
Mandrake- You do a whole lot of assuming.
I know exactly what's going on. I am up in arms because a very good friend of mine, and the program he has spent 30 years building, is being summarily dismissed. This will leave him with no medical coverage. He's only 52.

We pay our dues in December. It's May and I am a very busy person. When I pay for something it's done. I wasn't aware that you needed exact numbers. If you care, I will send them to you. And no one is using the sentimental arguments you mentioned about Kerry as a tactic. Everyone is using cold, hard facts.

Sending Kerry into an ethics investigation, are you kidding? There is nothing hidden about his job to the city. They know full well that his salary is supplemented by our team. How is that a violation of ethics?

Kerry's mission is not to make money off of masters. Maybe it should be. I'm guessing you don't know him.

The city mgr. I mentioned is long gone and doing very well elsewhere. BTW, again you assume incorrectly, that the information I got about his payoff was from him, it was not. I know a lot of people who work for the city. The only thing I got from his wife and his son were that they were sad they had to leave. I remember them living in an apt as their house had already sold, and the city mgr. had to begin work in the new city. The mom and my student stayed behind to finish out the school year. A very nice family.

I am not in the habit of calling people names in public, but I make an exception in this case. I am beyond sick of politics and the toll it takes on peoples' lives. I could really care less if they get wind of it. I'm sure he's been called worse. The city manager is quite hated throughout the city and me adding my opinion isn't going to change anything. If only I had that power.

The only thing worse than messing with my family is messing with my swimming family. If I come off too strong, that's because that's how I feel.
And I won't apologize for it.

stillwater
May 14th, 2010, 02:45 PM
Mrs. Duggan,

Mr. Mandrake has raised a couple of a valid points. Kerry should privatize. I'm sure that most of his team would follow, even with a modest increase in dues. He can still receive medical benefits, however, he will need to pay for it.

Instead of a pie in the sky idea of building a new facility, perhaps the effort should be in relocating.

Yes an ethics investigation is possible, depending on how pissed off you make the Mayor. I hope that WCM's books and Kerry's records are in order. I saw this as a problem when you first mentioned it. Politics can get ugly and vindivctive.

Name calling ego bloated humans has no positive effect. They are used to it. It doesn't help your case.

Kerry has served the city and community well for three decades. Maybe now is the time for him to move on and make some money off of masters swimming.

aquageek
May 14th, 2010, 03:37 PM
As much as it pains me, stinkwater makes some valid points in his post.

Karen Duggan
May 14th, 2010, 03:42 PM
I understand your points. Although I still don't see the ethics investigation.
We will just have to see how all of this pans out.

I must say that I do appreciate you taking the time to discuss this. While it probably doesn't matter to a lot of people about a "swim coach", it does matter to our team.

Thanks guys. :angel:

DPC
May 14th, 2010, 04:53 PM
Mrs. Duggan,

Yes an ethics investigation is possible, depending on how pissed off you make the Mayor. I hope that WCM's books and Kerry's records are in order. I saw this as a problem when you first mentioned it. Politics can get ugly and vindivctive.

An ethics charge would only be valid should Kerry have charged his WCM coaching time to his city time sheet. The city is his employer and his timesheets are kept by them and they have to maintain those records according to state and local laws, and should be auditing them. If they use revenue generated by the fees that WCM pays to pay him and the city allow him to participate as their coach there is most likely no ethical breach on Kerry's part - he is only doing what his job description and his supervisor allow. If the city is paying him as a part time employee with the acceptance that WCM will pay the other 50% then, again he is not violating anything. If the mayor wants to open an ethics investigation - he/she may certainly do so, but this would most likely expose the city and look like a witch hunt should the investigation be determined to have been undertaken as a retaliatory act. The precedent may have been set as this seems to have been a long-term relationship, one that has benefited all parties.

Peter Cruise
May 14th, 2010, 07:03 PM
Politicians and bureaucrats are fond of launching 'ethics' investigations in their endless (and fruitless) quest to find out what the word means...

stillwater
May 14th, 2010, 07:31 PM
stinkwater makes some valid points in his post.

Bill*,

This is the smartest thing I have ever seen you write.

Good job.

ColoJoel
May 14th, 2010, 10:19 PM
Reading this with interest -- I grew up in Lafayette where my parents still reside, and now live in Colorado Springs. This morning in the locker room after master's I heard that our aquatic center, closed at end of March, will reopen in September. Supposedly a 'swim school' of sorts is taking over operation of it and 3 of the outdoor city pools (which are basically summer only). Don't know anything more than that; how they arranged for it, but I heard Colo Springs was subsidizing our pools to the tune of over a million per year, but now this 'swim school' may end up paying the city?

Matulaitis
May 17th, 2010, 12:41 PM
The City of Menlo Park's Burgess Aquatic Center is operated by a private entity headed Tim Sheeper, a very popular coach of triathletes and swimmers. I believe Tim's original interest in this concept was generated by the need for pool space for his master's group. This eventually led to Tim offering to run all the activities at the pool for the City. They are currently in the third or fourth year of this arrangement.

WCM might take a look at how this works as a possible model.