Parks commissioner says panel should advertise for new director

Pine Bluff Parks and Recreation Commissioner Duke Fakouri said Monday that instead of concerning itself with possibly appointing an interim parks and recreation department director, the commission should proceed with advertising for a new director to replace recently fired Angela Parker.

Parker was fired Sept. 23 for what Commission Chairwoman Kami Hunt described as failure to properly supervise employees and parks since being placed on extended probation in January. The commission’s personnel committee had recommended her termination in December.

Monday’s gathering wound up being a joint meeting of the finance and personnel committees.

Fakouri said that since it’s so late in the calendar year, he figures there’s no need to appoint an interim director. However, Parker may be pursuing legal action to regain her post.

Meanwhile Monday, Commissioners Jonathan Frazier and Roy Tolson disagreed on a potential starting salary for a new director.

Frazier said the department needs to save money with its 2013 budget, and one item to possibly cut would be the director’s pay. Parker was earning $56,300 annually and hadn’t had a raise in several years, according to Office Manager Melissa McHan.

Frazier suggested that the director’s yearly pay be trimmed to $50,000 or $51,000.

McHan said a salary survey was conducted a few years ago and determined that Parker’s wage was the average among similar-sized park and recreation departments in the state at that time. Tolson said that another survey might be needed to see if the average has increased, and that a highly qualified applicant who might otherwise be interested in the job probably wouldn’t be willing to work for a low salary.

“You get what you pay for,” Tolson said. “You need to have a salary range, based on experience and revenue production.”

Tolson added that he wouldn’t take the job for $75,000.