Letters to the Editor

Board action regarding caretakers causes dismay | Letter to the Editor

Having been a fitness instructor at the Vashon Park District for nearly four years, I have had a front-row seat to the dramas and goings-on there. My feeling of pride in being a part of this organization has continually eroded over that time.

After reading your article “Caretakers at Two Parks Face Difficult Choice” (May 22) about the park board’s recent decision concerning two longtime employees and some of the board members’ rationale for the decision, my dismay has reached a new low.

As a contract worker, the park district’s disintegration has not impacted me in nearly the same way as it has for its full-time employees. Nevertheless, as someone who feels a strong affinity with the mission of Vashon parks, what is happening there still affects me on a deep, personal level.

I have been quoted recently in this newspaper about my opinions concerning parks and especially the board of directors, which has taken the word “dysfunction” to new heights. I have tried to exercise restraint in the past, endeavoring to adopt a broad perspective concerning the actions of the Vashon Park District board and the kind of economic pressures they are under.

However, after learning of the board’s recent decision, I can no longer pretend to maintain a balanced view. One board member’s quote, “We don’t want to pay someone 30 bucks an hour to open a gate” was especially horrifying. Not only is the statement inaccurate in the extreme, but it also borders on the sadistic, considering the amount of power the parks board has over the lives of its employees.

Can nothing be done?

— Sam Van Fleet

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