Grounds maintenance crew may return to Recreation Department

chwright@macon.comFebruary 3, 2013 

Grounds maintenance crew might be returning to Recreation from Public Works

WARNER ROBINS -- Grounds maintenance -- the crew that takes care of Warner Robins city parks -- is under the direction of Public Works.

It’s something that somehow changed years ago. But the crew could return to the Recreation Department’s umbrella as part of City Council’s recent push for recreation upgrades that will include more facilities around town.

Recreation Director James Dodson recently told the recreation advisory committee former Mayor Donald Walker transferred the maintenance crew to Public Works in 1998.

“The reasons and rationale for that I don’t understand,” Councilman Mike Brashear said.

It doesn’t appear anyone knows why. But Brashear said whatever the reasoning, City Council is looking to move the employees who take care of the parks and recreation facilities back under recreation managers.

“They work more weekend hours,” he said. “Under Public Works, (the crew) works during the week, (while) the parks are most used over the weekend.”

City Attorney Jim Elliott said it would take an ordinance from City Council to make the change. Brashear did not say when the move might happen.

But Dodson also has some ideas, according to what he told his advisory committee a few weeks ago.

“Back then, we had five full-time people and a corrections crew,” Dodson said. “I don’t want all those people back.”

He said the city’s funds could be better utilized by having one full-time position and a large crew from the Department of Corrections.

A total of 13 grounds maintenance workers were approved in the fiscal 2013 budget, including a supervisor and two crew leaders.

City Council refunded an additional grounds maintenance worker last month, bringing the staff to 14.

The advisory board member who brought up the topic asked about the maintenance of parks that have been reviewed for upgrades and development.

“One of the worst things you can do is develop new facilities and not be able to maintain them,” Dodson responded. “They’ll run down quick.”

To contact writer Christina M. Wright, call 256-9685.

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