Metro Parks Board commissioner resigns


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Chris Fitzgerald, KP News

Key Peninsula Metro Park District Board Commissioner and Vice President Jerry Schick, whose term was due to expire at the end of 2009, resigned “effective immediately” on Aug. 6, according to his letter received at the KPMPD post office box in time for presentation at the regular meeting of Aug. 15. Parks Director Scott Gallacher indicated to the Key Peninsula News the resignation came as a surprise with no forewarning.

The AKC agility trials held recently at Volunteer Park brought canine visitors and their friends from as far as Oregon, Idaho & Canada. Photo courtesy Scott Gallacher

Schick’s letter was addressed both to the commissioners and “fellow citizens,” and expressed frustration. He wrote, “I do not believe what I and others envisioned for our park district can or will be achieved.” He referenced an “absence or disregard of fundamental and proper practices, policies, and procedures,” and consistent enforcement of the same. Schick did not respond to a request by KP News for clarification of the allegations.

The letter stated, “(Lack of) funding… significantly restricts our park district from achieving… requisite goals and objectives (and) the ability to properly and effectively maintain or improve existing park assets.”

KPMPD President Paula DeMoss was not present at the meeting, with an excused absence; Secretary Kip Clinton, acting as president, and Commissioners Caril Ridley and Ross Bishoff briefly discussed the letter and concluded they had no option but to accept it.

Bishoff said, “We are regretful to accept the resignation.” Ridley noted, “We don’t always know the reasons a person’s life (takes the direction it does).”

Gallacher issued a statement to the KP News on behalf of the board: “The Key Peninsula Metro Park District would like to thank Commissioner Schick for his commitment to the community and park district.

“Commissioner Schick was very involved and instrumental in many day to day operations of the district early on and was an advocate for policy development. We thank him for all of his efforts and wish him the best.”

To fill the vacancy, guidelines set forth in RCW 42.12 will be followed, allowing the board to appoint someone until the next general election in November 2007. At that time, the appointee would have to run for election to complete the remaining two years of the unexpired term. No special election is needed; no major impact upon the budget will occur.

Other KPMPD developments

Commissioners approved a 3 percent cost-of-living salary increase for Gallacher, retroactive to his anniversary date of March 1, a provision made in the district’s 2006 budget.

Gallacher resubmitted the landscape plan and site map for Home Park to the county in July. He indicated the next requirement is to install stream buffer boundary signs and file documents with the auditor’s office.

In late September, the board expects to begin holding a series of public meetings to rewrite a comprehensive parks plan, and stresses that public input is needed. Clinton said, “It’s not just about facilities, this is program-based as well.” Grant Griffin of Pierce County Parks has offered to review the completed plan before it is submitted for funding requests.

In the first of what the Gig Harbor Kennel Club hopes will be additional AKC Agility Trials held at Volunteer Park, Gallacher reported “a profitable weekend for the park.” On the grounds from Aug. 4 through 7, about 300 agility handlers, their friends, families and onlookers from the local area, Oregon, Idaho and Canada generated $1,000 in park revenues.

Gig Harbor AKC chapter representative Sue Henley said everyone “was thrilled with the facility at Volunteer Park.”

“We were just elated — there was plenty of room to park, place shade tents for the dogs,” she said. “The campground was nice, lovely walking trails — and bathrooms! We certainly hope to return next year.”

Previous to “discovering” the Key Peninsula, this AKC event had been held at various area school playfields, and had challenges finding suitable locations.

At those other venues, the club brought in portable bathrooms, had none of the amenities available at Volunteer Park, nor a new service that was arranged this year by Larry Richardson, a club member and employee at the Purdy Women’s Correction Center. At the beginning and end of the event, an eight- or nine-person “community crew,” comprised of inmates from the prison and overseen by an officer from the facility, assisted with setup and tear-down. Henley said it was a wonderful experience, and everyone appreciated the service.

Henley praised Gallacher, who was officially on vacation that week but maintained a cordial, helpful presence. The AKC regulates the date the Gig Harbor club can run their event, and Henley has put in their request for the same weekend next year. The only conflict may be with the KP Community Fair, if it changes dates again. Gallacher said he should know by Thanksgiving if the park can commit to the club’s agility event in 2007.