New full time position at Beaver Meadow leads to questions about Concord spending priorities

  • The view from the tee box of the 14th hole at Beaver Meadow Golf Course, the Hole of the Week. July 20, 2016 (JENNIFER MELI / Monitor Staff)

  • The pool at Kimball Park in Concord has been winterized as of Wednesday, August 15, 2018. Maddie Vanderpool

Monitor staff
Published: 3/20/2022 8:01:00 PM

Last week’s City Council meeting featured a showdown between two summertime activities in Concord – swimming and golf – but it didn’t turn out to be a fair fight.

The question before councilors was whether to hire a full-time assistant golf professional at city-owned Beaver Meadow Golf Course, to be paid about $74,000 a year.

For years, the course has had a part-time pro in addition to Head Golf Professional Phil Davis, who made $94,692 last year. This year, the city wants to hire a second full-time certified golf professional to help with lessons and overall course operations.

From the outset, Ward 5 Councilor Stacey Brown said she was against the new position saying the money would be better spent elsewhere.

“Gas prices are only going up. Families are going to be looking to have local recreation opportunities,” Brown said. “If we have the recreation dollars, I’d rather see it going towards increasing the pay for lifeguards, extending the pool hours longer.”

She had an ally in the fight in Ward 10 Councilor Zandra Rice Hawkins, who agreed higher wages for lifeguards and equal consideration for the city’s children who use the pools should be priorities for the council.

Throughout the nearly one-hour conversation, Brown remained steadfast.

“We heard how important it is to have qualified individuals and short staffing and I think we also heard what’s really important to taxpayers,” Brown said. “I think the golf course is great, however, I have heard from many families ... that they really want to see the pools open longer.”

Concord’s pools were hampered by a lack of lifeguards who can make more wages working other jobs. The shortage of employees caused some city pools to either close early or not even open last summer.

Brown said the Beaver Meadow would be open 28 weeks of the year with about 30,000 rounds of golf played. Meanwhile, the pools will be open for 8½ weeks and see 20,000 visits.

“Pools receive more usage by our taxpayers,” Brown said.

At one point during the discussion, Rice Hawkins asked all councilors to reveal if they were golf course members.

Ward 3 Councilor Jennifer Kretovic said she had been a member for 25 years, longer than she had been on the council. Other councilors refused to answer.

As a point of order, Brown and Rice Hawkins were told that money from the golf course couldn’t be used on the pools because it is kept in a separate fund. However, when the golf fund has run short over the years, the city has used taxpayer money from the general fund to cover its expenses. Further, the council has the power to move money from one fund to another if it chooses.

Brian LeBrun, the deputy city manager for finance, said a permanent full-time position is needed to add another level of management to help oversee daily operations throughout the golf season. Also, the full-time designation is meant to attract a wider net of candidates with the hopes that a PGA-certified professional will be hired to provide lessons.

Without the assistant, the job of the head pro would be “almost unmanageable,” LeBrun said.

In the end, every councilor except Brown voted in favor of the motion.

“In my mind, it’s not an either-or,” Mayor Jim Bouley said before the vote while urging the council to approve the position. “I think we need to support both of these because they are both important assets.”

The council took no action on lifeguard wages or extending pool hours.

In addition to adding the assistant golf pro position, the council also proposed increased rates and greens fees for the upcoming season. Most changes will be in the difference of $2 to $3. For example, the price to play 18 holes on weekends and holidays went up from $45 to $47.

Matt Parker bio photo

Matt Parker is a sports reporter at the Monitor and started in August 2021. He is an Ohio native and relishes being from the Buckeye state. A proud graduate of Ohio University located in Athens, Ohio, he served as the sports editor for the student-run newspaper, The Post, from 2019-20. When not at a game or chasing around a coach, you can catch him playing his guitars or looking for the next Peanuts memorabilia piece to add in his growing collection.

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