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Park board shows backbone

Tony Sailer, Brainerd's interim park director, was recently given the nod to head Brainerd's Park Department for the entire next year ... not just until LGA is verified in early 2011, as park board Chairman Marty Johnson inaccurately informed the Dispatch. The Nov. 29, 2010 park board minutes indicate Johnson challenged the motion to retain Sailer throughout 2011. However, the city was fortunate that fiscal responsibility ruled out over stubborn foolishness. Retaining Sailer as director serves Brainerd best, considering Sailer's years of experience and how he continues performing his former job as Recreational Specialist (more bang for the buck), while bringing a significant morale boost to the entire park department for far less pay than his predecessor, Wayne Mooney. With financial uncertainty looming large over every aspect of Brainerd, Citizens should be grateful park board members stood up for what was right and rejected Marty Johnson's passionate desire to bring in another unfamiliar face to lead the department. Since March, Johnson has rejected eliminating the park director position in lieu of sacrificing maintenance workers. Johnson would rather have a suit behind a desk than boots in the field that actually get the job done. According to the 08/23/10 Dispatch: "I would rather have a park director and, not to be mean, drop three or four others to get a director," Johnson said. "It's been worth the money." How would this serve the city best? The answer is, it wouldn't. When Johnson announced he wouldn't be seeking another term on the Park Board, no doubt this boosted morale even higher than did the majority vote to continue with Sailer as Park Director. Brainerd's citizens can be satisfied their Park Board has apparently finally grown a backbone effectively spurred on by consistent public input allowing victory over good old boy, back-room politics.

Jeff Czeczok