Matt Kolb served for 1 1/2-years before resigning in the spring of 2012. He was replaced by Tim Harless who resigned in October. The seat sat vacant until Mayor Bowers appointed Baker. Dale Musser announced he was resigning his position on the board effective Dec. 31, 2012.
In her resignation letter to Mayor Michael Bowers, Beam blasted the city’s administration, “I resent that some in your administration continue to question my ability, my passion and my experience to my position on the park board.”
She believes the mayor failed by not filling the position promptly, “In accordance with the ORC (Ohio Revised Code), we are to have a full three member board and for the past three months, we have been at a two member board. I have had many people express interest in coming onto the park board, however, for one reason or another; no contact was made from you.” According to Bowers, several people were approached and were given time to make a decision, but declined for various reasons.
Beam was also not pleased the mayor chose the city’s law director to fill a seat on the board. “Bringing Ms. Baker on was just as she stated to council at the last meeting, a liaison between the park board and council… To me that takes a position from a lifelong citizen that wants to be a part of the board. If Ms. Baker wanted to be a liaison, then have council appoint that, or just simply come to a meeting.” Beam later expressed her issue wasn’t with Ms. Baker and felt she would be great on the board, but her dissatisfaction was with her position with the city and the possibility of there being a conflict of interest. Bowers believes Baker will be able to keep the park board moving in a positive direction and with two new members yet to be appointed, she will be key in helping them get up to speed quickly.
“We have done everything council has asked us to do.” She pointed out the union and the superintendent’s salary are gone and the park is operating on a shoe string budget. Even with all of the cuts, Beam believes the administration wants to continue to slash the budget. She did note this year’s budget is about the same as last year.
The proposed budget for park includes approximately $200,000 from the general fund, $14,000 for the pool and $100,000 from the capital improvement fund. Proposed projects this year include the peacock house, band shelter and shelter houses. In addition to opening the pool, the city is also hoping the South Park Wading Pool will reopen this year. This year’s budget also includes funds for the Municipal Band Concert Series and hiring of seasonal help. Bowers noted he and Safety/Service Director Curt Garrison worked closely with Andy Mead, facilities director, to develop the budget.
Although no longer on the board, Beam will continue to be vocal about the park and administration. At this point, she feels she can do more from the outside than the inside. She wants the administration to be held accountable for their decisions. “If I need to ask a hard question I’m going to do it because I am who I am. If I’m not right, I’ll admit it,” she said.
Bowers expects to fill the two vacant seats before the board meets in January. Musser has expressed an interest in serving in an advisory role for the board.