WILMETTE PARK DISTRICT
CENTENNIAL OPERATIONS COMMITTEE MEETING
Date: August 13, 2012
Place: Park District Administration Office
Time: 6:15 p.m.
Commissioners: Chair Graham, Benz, Murdock, Brault
Staff: Wilson, Bingham, Bowen, Eppelheimer, Smith, Udany
Topics of Discussion:
1) Meeting Called to Order
2) Approval of Minutes
3) Recognition of Visitors
4) Communications and Correspondence
5) Managers Reports
6) Old Business
7) New Business
1) The meeting was called to order at 6:15 p.m.
2) The Committee approved the minutes of the July 9, 2012 Committee meeting by General Consent.
3) Under Recognition of Visitors: None
4) Under Communications and Correspondence, Chair Graham acknowledged receipt of emails from Melissa Meers complimenting the Pirate Tennis Camp; an email from Eric P. Martin regarding use of our tennis courts by private instructors; from Susan Brady complimenting the ice competition and ice show; and correspondence regarding the swim club and lap pool schedules from Evita Vulgaris, David Rankin, and Susan Locke.
Superintendent Bowen stated the annual summer ice competition had 183 participants and 241 competition spots this year. This event brings in about $60,000 in revenue at virtually no expense to the Park District.
Commissioner Graham stated an email was received from Ira Kriston who asked that Evanston residents be offered resident pool admission fees. Mary Tures sent an email complimenting pool staff for assisting her injured granddaughter.
In addition, Lori Dubin sent an email regarding the lack of cleanliness in the ladies locker rooms. Brian Udany explained the main issue is that our maintenance staff is mostly male so the men’s locker rooms have we have an opportunity over the summer to get in there more often. When cleaning the women’s locker room, staff closes it down 15 minutes every morning and then scrubs out those areas needing attention. In retrospect, we should have been cleaning them earlier and more often even though getting into the women’s locker rooms on a daily basis is sometimes difficult.
Brian stated staff will be looking at times when the women’s locker room could be cleaned such as before lessons every day. Commissioner Murdock asked if there could be female staffers during the day that could check out the locker room. Brian replied guest services staff, which are summer season part-time employees, are present during the day and carry checklists with them. Guest services staff does a basic cleaning but it is difficult sometimes to get a really good cleaning done without anyone in the locker rooms. Commissioner Benz asked if we hire a cleaning service and Brian replied that we do a cleaning service but they are there at night. Commissioner Murdock stated that it isn’t working right now so what can we do differently for next year. Brian replied we do have our female guest services staff but it’s a matter of keeping up with everything. It was also one of our hottest and busiest summers and the locker rooms received a lot of use. Director Wilson stated we will be emphasizing to guest services staff that they need to monitor the rooms more closely and notify the supervisors so they can re-orientate the maintenance staff to keep on top of everything.
Brian stated that moving forward he will have a list of items for the cleaning manager to do and will also inform them they need to do a better job. Staff will also write everything down in our daily log for the cleaning crew. In the meantime, the locker rooms are being cleaned on a daily basis and the issues that were raised are no longer a problem.
Commissioner Graham asked if we should be sending out notices to the pool membership concerning the September committee meeting to discuss possible pool schedule changes. Superintendent Bowen responded that can be done.
5) Under Managers Reports, Darrell Smith reported it was a great summer for the tennis camps and the afternoon tennis camp which usually has lower attendance had a total of 94 children this year which is up 34 from last year. That camp also ran a week longer with 12 children resulting in an additional $2,000. The locker rooms are coming along nicely although there are some things needing to be completed yet. Director Wilson added that there were a number of little things that the contractor has been dealing in regard to the sub-contractors but it seems like everything is back on schedule and we should ready to open up by August 24.
Superintendent Bowen stated the drains in the sump pumps need to be done first before the courts can be color-coated. Commissioner Brault asked if anyone ever thought of changing the color. Darrell Smith stated they tried to do that a few years ago but our clientele was overwhelming against it.
Darrell continued to report that in the hopes of having the courts and locker rooms ready by August, staff is preparing for registration. Commissioner Murdock stated that when the US Open takes place had there been any talk about using mini-courts sideways or half-ways for little children. Darrell Smith replied that staff basically implements the same program every year other than we do not have set-up times which means we don’t do the court sideways. We do the same things with the soft balls and also use a lot of USTA techniques. Commissioner Murdock asked if we have good participation for younger children. Darrell Smith replied there is good participation and they have not asked for any changes.
Superintendent Bowen reported he had his first round of interviews for the Ice Manager position and hopes to have someone in place by mid-September. Commissioner Brault asked if there had been some discussion about reorganizing the staff. Superintendent Bowen there has been some re-organization done. Terry Juliar was the General Manager for the ice and pool operations and additionally served as the risk manager for the District. Brian was the pool manager and the assistant manager of the Ice facility. Brian will continue on as the pool manager and has also taken on the responsibility of Risk Manager. In the new structure there will be an Ice Manager position and one assistant manager. The assistant manager will work in the ice facility in the core ice season and then move to the pool facility in the summer. Brian will not have an active role in the ice rink operation after the new manager starts. The ice manager position will now be more of a working manager with scheduled hours at certain times in the evenings and on weekends. Director Wilson added that instead of having two full-time assistant managers in ice there will now only be one.
Commissioner Brault asked if that had been any contemplation during the selection process of the candidates to the possibility of taking on a hockey house league in the future. Director Wilson responded that this was being considered. He stated that a meeting was held last week with two representatives from the Wilmette Hockey Association (WHA) along those same lines and that this could be a possibility in the future if a mutually beneficial agreement could be made.
Commissioner Brault stated he asked the question in the context of us creating a position and there may be a need for that time commitment in the future. Director Wilson indicated that is being considered. Commissioner Brault asked what the actual head count was at the facilities and what the gross expense dollars savings are. Superintendent Bowen replied that the new organizational structure includes 5 full-time employees which is a reduction of two employees. Commissioner Brault then asked what the head count was of the part-time employees. Superintendent Bowen stated that he did not currently have that information since he doesn’t know what the availability of part-time staff will be moving forward. The number of hours will be the same but how many part-time employees work to fill those hours are not know to him at this time. Director Wilson stated that when he and Superintendent Bowen took a first look at salaries, it appeared there was going to be a small savings to the ice rink operation itself.
Brian Udany reported the third Starguard audit of the season resulted in another 4 star rating so of the three audits conducted this summer, the pool received a 5, 4, and 4 star rating which places Centennial in the upper 10%-15% of all Starguard facilities. The pool staff has done an amazing job this summer and because of the heat it was difficult at times for everyone. Today is the first day we were open for lap swimming and Mark Stansfield has done a great job so far as assistant manager. In addition, our lifeguard staff has been excellent. A lot of time has been spent taking care of staff and the key has been to pay a lot of attention to them on those hot days.
There are currently 14 new lifeguards who will be working through Labor Day. The schedules currently look good for the rest of the season although there may be some difficulties when school starts on Wednesday. Superintendent Bowen added that despite all of the efforts of staff to hire and fill the positions, if there are staff shortages, we may be forced to not be open during some of those times.
Commissioner Murdock asked if there was a temporary service company for lifeguards or if we should pay more money to bring somebody in. If it is a 95 degree day and the main pool is closed down before school starts, it will create some unhappiness. Brian replied that within the industry over the last 15 years, they have dealt with this issue and nobody was able to come up with a solution. Commissioner Murdock asked if staff had checked with Northwestern’s facility or Michigan Shores. Director Wilson stated the lifeguards need to be certified through our program at our facility.
Superintendent Bowen added that we just had the third week of training for life guards this year and the 14 new lifeguards should keep us in good shape going forward. He added that the facilities around us do not even plan to be open during most of this time. For the last five years we have been holding a training week in August to hire additional staff to help us through this time. No other facility does this and while they plan to be closed, we plan to be open through Labor Day. With that being said, if we don’t have staff we can’t open. Brian stated that we actually post schedules at other neighboring facilities so people can see the difference between these facilities and Centennial’s hours of operation. Director Wilson stated we were looking at all the right circumstances. It’s just that we can’t open in an unsafe environment.
Commissioner Brault asked if we post any of the Starguard information in the Leisure Guide and if we highlight the safety element of what goes on at the pool as well. Brian responded no, not at this time. He added that when we go through our audits, we receive awards that are posted throughout the facility. During the next year we start again with new staff. Commissioner Brault stated it’s the program that indicates to the public our discipline which provides institutional confidence that we are doing a good job. Director Wilson stated that there could still be an accident and we don’t want to get cocky and Brian agreed that we’re hesitant to “blow our own horns”. Commissioner Graham believes it is worth exploring and thinking about next year because as our society evolves, people are getting more sensitive to these safety issues. Director Wilson indicated he would meet with Shelagh to get her feedback on this issue.
Brian reported that staff is currently typing up a lot of ice contracts and working on the schedule to make sure that Park District programs, contracts and rental ice time all fit together well. One of our contracts, Hockey North America, has been in arrears of $60,000-$70,000. Staff has also finally collected the money owed to us by the men’s league. Director Wilson added they have always carried a heavy balance and were usually behind in payments by about 6 to12 months. Brian stated that the difference this year is that he has two different teams who would be happy to take their time slots this year.
Commissioner Murdock asked if the picnic tables installed last year had been used this year. Brian responded that they had been used all summer long by pool patrons. Also, staff’s approach has changed in that families can now bring small food or juice items into the pool area for the kids. However, we will not allow big picnic spreads.
Commissioner Murdock asked that for our September meeting when we’ll be looking at pool usage, would staff be able to provide the Committee with counts for the time period of 5:30 to 6:30 pm on a day-by-day basis through the end of the season. Brian responded that we already have some of that information. Superintendent Bowen added that the largest number of lap swimmers was a total of 20 people during that time frame. Director Wilson stated that if the heaviest usage was 20 lap swimmers from 5 to 7 pm, it seems to us that it almost provides the background data of the recommendation staff made last year that the most flexible group are the lap swimmers. Superintendent Bowen stated staff will provide that information about the early times as well as Sunday morning times for the next Committee meeting in September.
6) Old Business: None
7) Under New Business: None
There being no further business, the meeting adjourned to at 7:05 pm.
Minutes taken by Jeffrey Bowen.
MINUTES APPROVED ON SEPTEMBER 19, 2012.