News and Tribune

December 11, 2012

Jeffers top candidate for Floyd County parks superintendent

Commissioners, council to hold joint meeting today on parks staff, property

By DANIEL SUDDEATH
daniel.suddeath@newsandtribune.com

NEW ALBANY — New Albany-Floyd County Parks Superintendent Roger Jeffers is likely to receive an offer to lead the county’s recreation department beginning next year.

The Floyd County Council and Floyd County Commissioners will hold a joint work session today to discuss the disbursement of parks assets as well as staffing the new department.

The New Albany City Council voted in November at the request of Mayor Jeff Gahan to dissolve the joint parks system.

One position to be discussed tonight is the position of parks superintendent, and Floyd County Commissioners President Steve Bush said Jeffers is the leading candidate for the spot.

“Once we talk, we’ll probably go ahead and offer the position to him,” Bush said Monday. “I think he brings a lot to the table with experience and leadership, and keeping this moving forward with the county.”

Jeffers was hired in 2008 to lead the NA-FC parks department. He said recently he wouldn’t work for the new municipal system because he was frustrated with how the divide was handled by the city.

Though there were funding struggles between the city and county during Jeffers’ tenure, there were some bright spots for the joint parks department, including the opening of the Campbell-Woodland Nature Trails earlier this year.

Jeffers declined to comment directly on his potential hiring until after county officials have had an opportunity to discuss the matter. He did credit the county for its handling of staffing issues, not just as it pertained to him but the people that have worked under him for the past five years.

“I think they’ve really done their due diligence on putting job descriptions together on what they wanted,” Jeffers said.

There are six full-time and two part-time positions being proposed for the county parks department. The county council is responsible for voting on the salaries for those positions, then the county commissioners will take a ballot on the actual hires.

The salary proposed for the county parks superintendent job is $50,000 a year.

Bush said the commissioners could vote on filling the positions as early as next week. County Planner Don Lopp has headed the search for employees for the parks department, but wasn’t immediately available for comment Monday afternoon.

Bush said “obviously we always looked at” Jeffers because of his experience with the local parks system.

The county council and commissioners are also set to discuss the distribution of parks property and assets pending the abolishment of the joint department. The New Albany Board of Public Works and Safety accepted a deal last week that deals primarily with five properties that were deeded to the joint parks board instead of either the city or county.

As part of the agreement, the county will operate the Southern Indiana Sports Center and the city will retain Cannon Acres. The county will also lease a portion of Sam Peden Community Park to the city to potentially be used as an aquatic park as part of the agreement.

The county may develop an adjoining piece of property for a restaurant or coffee shop if the city constructs an aquatic center on the land. The deal still must be approved by the county before the joint parks board will sign-off on the property and assets likely during its final meeting Dec. 18.