Council approves funds for recreation program specialist position

The city will soon hire a new staff member who will split his or her time assisting two departments: the recreation, marketing, and tourism department and the yet-to-be-staffed community and economic development department. A previously unfunded position with the title of recreation program specialist was allocated $30,000 for the remaining nine months of the fiscal year by a resolution passed by the council at this evening’s regular meeting.

At the meeting, Alderman Jim Martuscello cited a report from Recreation Director Rob Spagnola, which showed the number of programs and events organized by the city has increased from 12 in 2016 to 20 in 2018. During the same time period, the report also showed the revenue from sponsors and vendors at city events increased from $15,545 to $39,440.

“As you can see from all those events, everything has increased – from money to vendors,” said Martuscello. “And this is why there is a need.”

Alderman Bill Baaki said he favored funding the position in order to makes sure there is proper staffing support for the implementation of the $10 million Downtown Revitalization Initiative grant which was recently awarded to the city.

Calling the grant award a “pivotal moment for the city,” Baaki added, “It is incumbent on the city to have…the right staffing levels to execute.”

After the meeting, Mayor Michael Villa said that interviews for the position, as well as for the community and economic development director, are currently being conducted.

Funds for the position were transferred from the recreation, tourism, and marketing personnel budget line. According to Martuscello, a surplus in the line, which was the result of a medium equipment operator position left vacant due to a retirement and which did not need to be filled, allowed for the transfer.

Tim Becker

Tim Becker is the owner of Anthem Websites Inc. which publishes The Compass. He serves as both editor and a writer.