Two members bothered with Barrington's move away from a recreation director

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Two Barrington Parks and Recreation Commission members are not on board with a plan to replace the town’s recreation director with a director of leisure services.

On Thursday night, Aug. 23, Anthony Arico and Ed McKinlay leveled criticism against the move during a regular meeting of the group. Mr. McKinlay said he was bothered that input wasn’t sought from the commission before the new job was posted. Mr. Arico said he was concerned the position would not maintain a focus on recreation.

Recreation director John Taylor, who is retiring at the end of this month, echoed the sentiment.

“The future of this program seems to be in jeopardy with the change in the title that suggests the hiring of a person in community affairs,” wrote Mr. Taylor in his final report.

Barrington Town Manager Peter DeAngelis said the goal behind the director of leisure services position is to enhance what has previously been offered by the recreation program. He said traditional recreation activities such as baseball and football are provided through local organizations and the new position represents a chance to put new energy and flexibility into the system.

Mr. DeAngelis said he believes the leisure services director will broaden opportunities for local residents and expand upon what has been available in the past. Mr. DeAngelis also said he would like to see this accomplished on a part-time budget.

“We do not need to expand government in this tough economic time,” Mr. DeAngelis said.

“What we can do is be more creative and get more bang for the buck.”

Mr. DeAngelis added, however, that pursuing a director of leisure services doesn’t stop the commission from continuing to explore what it would like to see out of a full-time recreation director.

For more than a year, a sub-committee of the commission has been meeting to define what a full-time recreation director would look like in Barrington. Next month, the commission will hold a meeting to fill out a position description questionnaire that will help create a full-time recreation director job description.

This proposal was also met with criticism by Mr. Arico and Mr. McKinlay. Mr. Arico questioned whether a meeting to supply responses to the form would be a “waste of time” given the decision to move forward with a director of leisure services.

“Why are we screwing around, going through the motions of this when I know I don’t like it,” said Mr. McKinlay.

“I don’t like the idea of a leisure time director.”

Commission chairman Michael Seward didn’t agree, disputing Mr. Arico’s assertion that the task would be a waste of time. He said the group needed to focus on the process.

“We need to address it in this format in order for this thing to work out right,” Mr. Seward said.

“We will have our say.” The commission’s next meeting is scheduled for Sept. 11.

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