Park Board meeting, July 10, 2014

PARKSA self-employed personal trainer with a following of 15 clients told the park board tonight he did not feel “respected and appreciated” after a committee on Tuesday voted against his request to reduce the $10/hour fee the board charges instructors to teach in the facility. Undeterred, Royce Head returned to the full board meeting — with six supporters — asking specifically for the board to consider capping his monthly fees at $500 from now through December and to revisit the issue then. According to his complaint, he worked 135 hours at the center in June, owing the board $1,350, but only bringing in $1,700 in fees from his clients. The board, however, followed through on the committee’s denial, saying it would wait until August to address his specific proposal, because it was turned in after the Tuesday meeting.

But it doesn’t look good.

Following the meeting, staff and board members explained that Mr. Head had developed his loyal clientele — as he himself said — by being available whenever they wanted a session, giving out lots of free advice, and substantially under-charging for his services. “He’s really devaluing his services,” said park and recreation center superintendent Rusty Holley after the meeting. According to Mr. Holley, the board at one time charged instructors virtually nothing ($35/month), rates that made it possible to rake in a fortune teaching Zumba classes, for example, he said. When the new Community Center opened, the board decided to charge all classroom  instructors $10/hour to use the facilities and require them to obtain CPR certification and purchase a city business license. (Mr. Head has complied with those requirements.) The hourly rate, they say, is not only reasonable, but many times less than any other facility charges in the area. Mr. Head should adjust his business model and teach in groups and charge more if he isn’t earning enough.

Mr. Head’s supporters take a different view, saying he is an asset to the center and is more familiar with the equipment than any of the staff. One supporter pointed out that a personal trainer is expected to work one-on-one with a client, not in groups. Another had gathered a petition in support of Mr. Head’s request. Five of the six supporters present spoke during the public comment portion of the meeting, some saying they would drop their memberships without the personal training benefit.

Members present: Chris Meeks, chairman, Michael Murray, Tom Walker, Tom Blake, Marjorie Trimm and, arriving late during the public comment session, Keith Stansell. Also present was council liaison Richard Laws.

Members absent: Paula Smalley, vice chairman, Becky Morton, and Tyler Vail.

Staff present: Rusty Holley, parks and recreation superintendent, Berkley Squires, public services director, Dianne Rice, board secretary, and Jakob Stephens, athletic director.

Audience attendance: 8

Approved June 5, 2014, meeting minutes.

Denied request to reduce instructor fees: The board voted with the Program Committee’s recommendation to deny the request from fitness trainer Royce Head to reduce the $10 hourly fee charged to instructors. Mr. Meeks said that Mr. Head’s specific request to cap the monthly fees at $500 would be considered at the August committee and full board meeting because it was submitted after the committee’s June meeting on Tuesday.

Approved a September running event: The board followed the Facilities Committee recommendation and approved a Creative Montessori 5k run at Central Park, Sept. 27 from 6-11 a.m. 

Director’s comments – Mr. Squires briefly noted that the Community Center punch list was still being addressed.  He will meet with the mayor in two weeks to discuss the budget proposal approved by the park board in June.

There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 6:30.





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