Wilmette Park District
Golf Operations Committee Meeting
Saturday, March 8, 2014
Wilmette Golf Club
Commissioners: Bryan Abbott, James Brault, Amy Wolfe
Staff:: Bowen, Eppelheimer, Matchen, Steve Wilson
I. Meeting called to order at 8:30 a.m.
II. Approval of Minutes
A. Minutes from February 8, 2014
B. Commissioner Wolfe moved and Commissioner Abbott seconded a motion to approve the minutes of the February 8, 2014, Golf Committee meeting. All approved by general consent.
Ill. Communications and Correspondence
Commissioner Brault updated on the following:
A letter was received by Katie White in support of Jamie. Commissioner Brault touched on how the process works for the park district in regards to staffing and personnel issues. The Board and all its Commissioners only hire one person which is the Executive Director. The Board acts as an oversight and generally deals with policy. Board does not deal with employment issues. All employment issues are made by the Executive Director and the Senior Staff. As far as personnel issues, they are never open for discussion with public. Director Wilson addressed the topic of how they are looking at employment and moving forward with the golf course.
Director Wilson stated in regards to the staff, we are tasked with the responsibility of setting up our operation to succeed properly and for the benefit of our users. Last year we lost a long time, full time employee. We had a shortened season and didn't do anything with it last year. When we went through our budget process we took a look at what our strengths, weaknesses, and long term prospects were. We have to get ready for the future and accentuate our strengths and make our weaknesses better. So what we did, and what seemed to us, is take a very overworked employee and divided the responsibilities. Therefore, that employee is going to be working on all the things that employee is excellent at, which is why all of you are here. It shows with all your support in coming here that we made the right decision in keeping him with all of you. What we are doing is taking the back-end of the house management and administration portion off his plate. Were bringing in someone new to manage that portion and set us up with a strong foundation for the future as more changes come our way.In essence, this is all in an effort for a proper succession plan. Commissioner Brault asked for ongoing feedback as we move forward on how we are doing. He feels that with the changes we are making that the golf course should run smoothly and a first class product. We will continue to deliver the services that you expect in terms of execution at the club level.
IV. Recognition of Visitors
Commissioner Brault said Kerry Haskins could express his concerns but no dialogue would be discussed. He went on to express his concerns about the new changes and Jamie being the face of the golf course.
Elizabeth Burton expressed her concerns about Jamie and the new changes. Commissioner Brault clarified how the development of this decision was made over a couple of year's period; not a decision that was made a week before someone went to Orlando.
Tim Terchek expressed his concerns about Jamie and wanted to keep him around. He also was concerned about his financial si uation with changes. Commissioner Brault stated that he has been on the Board for ten years and can say that employees are treated very fair by staff. He is proud to be associated with staff's treatment of employees through thick and thin. Commissioner Brault believes this has been done in a very fair way.
Ken Meyers expressed his concerns about Jamie and his salary. Superintendent Bowen stated salaries did not significantly increase or decrease; they remained flat.
Chris Delaney expressed concerns about Jamie's salary. Superintendent Bowen stated that we lost a very critical employee that was an asset to the back of the house. This was the hole we were faced with in our organization and were going to improve on those aspects of that change. That is why organizational changes are being made. Per Mr. Delaney, what is your succession plan? Bowen stated that when Mike started here almost 42 years ago, he has been the only superintendent here. Its inevitable Mike will retire probably before another 42 years. Therefore, we need to plan now to be in a good place in the future for when he does retire.
Tom Sharp wanted to know who owns the Wilmette Golf Shop. Commissioner Brault stated Wilmette Park District owns it. Mr. Sharp wanted to know when the golf shop was looked at as a strategic plan. Commissioner Brault stated during the planning this past year.
Stan Mainowski expressed his concerns with changes in staff and Jamie. He is concerned with Jamie's financial stability after changes.
Tim Clemmons addressed Director Wilson and stated that Jamie's salary is being cut so his pensionable income is going to be cut. Will his golf lessons be treated as part of his salary? Director Wilson stated yes his salary will be treated the same as last year. He expressed his concerns that Jamie has been a long time wonderful employee and wanted to make sure he is being treated fairly.
John Sharp wanted to know if the park district is ready for the ramifications if Jamie leaves. Director Wilson stated that there has been no indication from Jamie that he is intending to leave. Everything we have done in regards to the planning has been to keep Jamie whole which was also in an effort to make sure he stays here because we appreciate the job he does as much as you all do. Mr. Sharp thanked Director Wilson for his comments about Jamie. Commissioner Brault emphasized again how the park district is in a position that they cannot talk about the specifics of what happened. Commissioner Brault stated I don't think there is anyone in this room on either side of this table who doesn't think Jamie is a great guy and that he is someone that we want to support. The decision was made to keep Jamie a part of the golf course experience here.
Bob MacArthur wanted to know if Jamie was qualified for the job that was posted. Commissioner Brault state that is not a question we can address.
Laura Catalans is not a Wilmette resident but wanted to support Jamie and his dedication. She wanted park district to know how much Jamie does for nonresidents as well.
Dan Rustin wanted to state that this place is a special place here and special because all of the people in this room and Jamie and staff. We don't want to lose Jamie and what he has done for this club.We want him to be treated as a family member.
Kerry Haskins wanted to express his concerns with Jamie and changes. He wanted to know if Jamie applied for the new position. Director Wilson stated he did not.
Many others spoke up briefly and stated their concerns and comments about the organizational changes and Jamie.
Commissioner Brault and Director Wilson stated the position has not been filled yet. Director Wilson stated they were looking for someone with a business and a golf background. That way this person can work with Jamie and understand the golf side of things. As well as set us up with some business ideas for future. We welcome any new ideas.
Commissioner Brault stated in closing that the support for Jamie, the golf course, and the operations is terrific. This is why the golf course is as successful as it is because of the participation we have from people like you. The commentary that you have brought to us today is not lost on us. We knew there would be upset people because of the relationships Jamie has developed. As you think about this, please take Director Wilson's comments into consideration along with things we have said and also the golf course in the longer term.
V. Managers Report
Mike Matchen will have more details as ice melts and snow goes away. He is concerned about areas where there are very young plants. Due to weather conditions we will do what we need to do with the golf course.
VI. Old Business
VII. New Business
There being no further discussion, the meeting was adjourned at 9:10 a.m.