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Archive for November 20th, 2008

Fore! Four!

I am not angry. I am not sad. I am not insulted. I am a bit incredulous. I did sleep well last night and enjoyed my day at work.

But I must admit that I am disappointed with a result of last night’s Common Council meeting.

Four out of five aldermen elected to award a “new” Golf Pro contract without review or discussion. So, without further flamboyance, I am posting my exceptions to this contract (though allow me this – as you read, hum the theme song to this blog from the Who: “We won’t get fooled again” and think, “I wish.”)

– The term of the contract changes from a three-year term to a five-year term.

– The contract gives the Pro a 23.6% raise (includes compensation for a Ranger. Without the additional employee, this would equate to a 13% raise.) Compensation will increase by another 2% over each of the next four years. City employees are held to a 3% raise per year.

– Retail space for the Pro Shop is rent-free for the five year term of the contract. Electricity is free as well. All profits from the sale of equipment, supplies and accessories go to the Pro.

– The contract stipulates that the Pro submit a business plan, financial statements, a current balance sheet, and income statement to the City for review prior to the awarding of the contract. The business plan was included and states that the explicit objective of the plan is “to market the Golf Course and Pro Shop in order to promote business”. There were no real marketing initiatives included in the plan beyond publication of tournaments on “bulletin boards and in local papers” and it lacked financial analysis completely. Most of the “plan” is merely verbiage that has been copied and pasted from the contract. The rest of the required financial information was not included with the contract.

– The contract changes wording that the Pro shall obey all reasonable orders and directions of the “Mayor” to “Golf Commission”.

– The contract directs that the Pro shall assist in the promotion of the Course, but “promotion” is not defined.

– As was the case in the past, the Pro must publicize tournaments on bulletin boards and in local papers, but there is not stipulation that proof of these efforts be produced.

– The Pro owns twenty carts for rent to golfers. All profits from the rental of carts go entirely to the Pro. We don’t know how many rentals there are in a season, because though they have been required by contract since 1985, financial statements have never been produced. We do know that there are approximately 40,000 rounds of golf played a year. If only 10% of those rounds of golf involve rentals at $20 a pop, that’s $80,000.

– The Pro stores the carts over the winter at no cost.

– Lastly, the final item in the contract is incomplete, stating it “needs to be added”.

The list above is what I’ve picked out when comparing this contract with the last contract. On top of all of this, we have no solid financial reports as to how the Course did this season, no projected budget and no plan to address debt or upcoming capital projects.

I believe in democracy. I believe in lively debate. I don’t believe I will win every battle. All I ask for is an opportunity to engage in healthy discourse when so much money is involved.

I’ve got my evening prayers cut out for me tonight.

“Then I’ll get on my knees and pray
We don’t get fooled again
No, no!”

I wish.

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