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Delavan park and rec issue still up in the air

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ANN MARIE AMES
July 15, 2009
— The Delavan City Council in a special meeting Tuesday confirmed it will have a special meeting at 7 p.m. Monday to talk about the leadership of its park and recreation department.

The council also directed the city's legal council to consider the legal requirements should the city want to hire a contractor to run the department.


The vote came at nearly 10:30 p.m. during a special meeting that took place after the council's regular meeting.


One council member criticized the way the council has debated the parks and recreation issue.


"It really repulses me to see the way we are conducting ourselves during this situation," council member Ron Siedelmann said.


The story so far:


Delavan resident Joe Peyer in June made a presentation suggesting the city contract with the Geneva Lakes YMCA to run the city's recreation department. When Peyer made the proposal, he was interim director of the parks and recreation department.


Less than two weeks after his presentation, Peyer resigned as interim director in Delavan.


Under his plan, Peyer would have kept his job as executive director of the Geneva Lakes YMCA and worked as Delavan's recreation director. He would have overseen Delavan's parks and recreation divisions and would have hired a full-time recreation supervisor to work in the city.


But the parks and recreation commission in May had recommended the city hire a full-time, in-house director, parks and recreation commission Chairman Sam Riggs said.


The city council has talked about the issue during several meetings. Many citizens have spoken in favor of hiring Peyer because he is local. Others have said the position should be put out for bid.


The city took applications through June 22 for a new director, commission Vice Chairman Al Buchholz said. About 35 people applied, but the interviewing process is on hold, Buchholz said.


Peyer was filling in after Jeff Malloy, former parks and recreation director, resigned in April to take a similar position in Kaukauna.


Malloy, who was hired as director in 2007, left the job because of discussions during the 2009 budget debate about cutting his position, Riggs said.


The council unanimously had planned to meet with Peyer on Monday. But a comment posted July 12 on Gazettextra.com prompted three council members to request a special meeting before that, council member Dave Kilkenny said.


In the comment, Riggs stated, (sic) "all is well now as the mayor willl cancel the mtg on the 20th and go with the commissions recommendation."


Kilkenny confirmed the poster was Riggs, he said.


Kilkenny said he scheduled Tuesday's meeting because he wanted to make sure the July 20 meeting took place.



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