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Brentwood rec director could split her duties with Baldwin

| Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
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Paula Simmons has been Brentwood's first recreation director since last May, and now her services might be shared with Baldwin Borough.

Those upbeat Zumba classes and ever-so-fun dive-in-movie nights that Brentwood's new, part-time recreation director Paula Simmons brought to the community this year, soon could be coming to Baldwin Borough, as well.

The neighboring municipalities are considering working together to share the services of Brentwood's recreation director beginning early next year.

Brentwood Council, in a 5-2 vote at its Nov. 26 meeting, authorized the preparation and negotiation of an intergovernmental agreement with Baldwin Borough to share the former's recreation director.

Council President Charlie Johnson and council member Ann Schade dissented.

Baldwin Borough included $15,000 to finance its use of the recreation director in the municipality's 2014 preliminary budget that was approved by council on Nov. 19.

“It's a service to the residents that we have not offered,” Baldwin Borough Manager John Barrett said. “Looking to partner with our neighbors gives us a chance to offer that.”

Brentwood leaders created a part-time recreation director position earlier this year to help generate programs and encourage the use of borough facilities, as Brentwood Park is in the process of undergoing an $8 million overhaul, borough Manager George Zboyovsky said. By starting programs in the park, the recreation director also could create a revenue stream through programs to help fund improvements, he said.

Simmons began in May as the borough's inaugural recreation director, earning $16 an hour and working about 25 hours a week.

While attending a chamber of commerce meeting, Zboyovsky said he heard about improvements Baldwin officials were looking to make to the borough parks and realized that sharing recreation director services might be a good fit.

This, too, would allow Simmons to become a full-time Brentwood employee and Baldwin could pay for services she does for the community, such as offering zumba classes and dive-in movie nights.

“Some of the things that she is already doing can be done elsewhere with minimal extra effort,” Zboyovsky said.

Like a movie night that can be held one night in Brentwood and a few days later in Baldwin. Simmons, too, is creating a dek hockey league on Brentwood's newly constructed rink in Brentwood Park.

The combined services, now, likely would allow Baldwin and Brentwood residents to come together for these types of programs. The agreement could allow Baldwin residents to participate in Brentwood programs offered by Simmons at a resident rate, Barrett said.

Baldwin officials also hope to have several programs each year organized by Simmons held at Baldwin facilities, he said. Johnson, though, said he voted against the shared services because “It's just the beginning of combining Baldwin and Brentwood.”

The specifics are yet to be determined. Simmons' full-time rate for 2014 would be $33,000, plus benefits, and she would work as a Brentwood employee and Baldwin likely would pay a stipend for services rendered, Zboyovsky said.

Brentwood council last week, also in a 5-2 vote, authorized the borough manager and recreation director to prepare a draft policy associated with the establishment of a borough parks and recreation advisory board.

Johnson and Councilman Pat Carnevale dissented.

The board likely would be comprised of Brentwood residents who would help Simmons come up with ideas for programs and market the ideas to the community, in an effort to get more people to participate, Zboyovsky said.

Johnson said he opposed the idea because it creates “another form of management.”

Zboyovsky said the first step is to prepare the bylaws and then borough officials likely will seek residents to serve on the board early next year.

Stephanie Hacke is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-388-5818 or shacke@tribweb.com.

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