I must say I really like the swimming pool. It’s a great resource, especially for a remote region like High Prairie and area. Better than any of the few pools around.
But the pool is not as good as it was two or three months ago.
That was when the recreation director fired the pool manager.
The rec director assured people she could run the pool without the fired manager and the staff who were leaving in support of her but it sure doesn’t look like it. It’s dirtier, has fewer programs and staff, and a poor atmosphere compared to how it was when it had an actual manager, who, by the way, shared one full-time job with her husband, a committed journeyman who did maintenance. Perfect guy for the job, as she was for her job, even with her slight tendency to feistiness, a trait apparently shared by the rec director.
So there was a clash. I’m not exactly sure what it was over. Everything is done behind closed doors so we don’t know. Some say wages for the pool employees, some say lack of a properly deferential attitude toward the rec board, maybe just interpersonal difficulties. Certainly wasn’t an improperly run and maintained pool.
Regardless, a battle. In one corner, the rec director. An established employee of the rec board, responsible, I guess, for administering the $1.7 million rec budget, shared about equally by the Town of High Prairie and Big Lakes County; power to hire and fire employees and, incidentally, daughter-in-law of the reeve.
In the other corner, the pool manager, responsible for overseeing the pool operations; qualified for the job she did well [lifeguard and all that]; part of a young couple newly established in the county.
I could have guessed who would win that one.
Too bad because pool users were not really considered in all of this. A distressingly familiar phenomenon in the area. Get a good thing going and then shoot yourself in the foot.
And now, instead of trying to find a solution the town and the county are bickering. They don’t appear to trust each other, a sad fact enshrined in the creation of the rec board in the first place. Four members, two from each side, a structure guaranteed to produce deadlock.
To the town’s credit, they did try to get rid of it a month or so ago only to backtrack and rescind the motion when the county balked.
There is an immediate solution available. Plead with the ex-pool manager to come back. Some concessions both sides, of course.
But in the end she is more important to the proper running of this major facility than either the rec director or the rec board.