Yates named director of Marion?s Parks and Rec

The Marion City Council welcomed Margo Yates as the director of the newly created Parks and Recreation department during its Oct. 26 meeting.

Mayor Todd Heitschmidt said interviews were completed prior to the council meeting, but an offer wasn?t extended until after the meeting and Yates accepted.

?I am looking forward to devoting myself full time to it, and I will have some staff to work with, too,? she said.

Yates previously served part time as secretary of the Marion Chamber of Commerce and part time as USD 408?s recreation director. She will now be paid through the city.

When Yates? new job begins Jan. 1, the Chamber of Commerce will lose many of its current assets, to include an office, printer, computer and phone belonging to the city and $7,000 of city funding.

Don Noller, Chamber president, said after months of trying to figure out how to keep the Chamber open, the board decided it was best to close it after Dec. 31.

Yates said: ?If I didn?t think it was all right, I wouldn?t allow it to play out this way.?

With some Chamber-sponsored events up in the air, Yates plans to meet in January with Judy Christiansen about how to handle Art in the Park in the future.

?Volunteers is really what it comes down to,? Yates said. ?If there is something you want to see keep happening, we all need to keep it going.?

Yates said she will keep the same email address and telephone number, which should ease concern about things getting lost in transition.

?We just can?t remain stagnant,? she said.

Heitschmidt said Holter reviewed the applications and narrowed the candidate pool to three people.

?We had three great candidates,? he said. ?All had strengths in certain areas.

?With the intention of a complete overhaul of the recreation program, in addition to adding the parks and cemetery, Margo?s knowledge of these programs, employees, facilities, Marion history, experience, commitment and passion for (the city) made sense to me.?

Even though Yates doesn?t officially begin her new job until January, Heit?schmidt said she will be working with the new board as soon as members are appointed in November.

?I believe we have a great start to the new Parks and Recreation Department under Margo?s direction starting in January,? he said.

The next step will be selecting a parks and recreation board of directors at the Nov. 9 council meeting.

Holter said 15 people are interested in serving on the board, but those who aren?t chosen for the board could serve on sub-committees.

Those individuals include Melissa Craft, Deanna Thier?olf, Carol Laue, Pam Byers, Brenda Maddox, Jordan Metro, Roger Hannaford, Marlin Buchholz, Leland Heidebrecht, Gene Lanning, Jake Sigel, Chase Carlson, Chris Mercer, Andrew Brunner, Jeremy Ensey and Tami Ensey.

Holter said the new program is about getting everybody, not just a few involved in community activities.

?The biggest portion of that audience may not have children in school, but we have to reach out to them,? he said.

Holter said he chose Yates because of her community involvement and proven track record for pulling diverse groups together for collaborative efforts.

?I am glad to have her aboard,? he said.

Serving on the selection committee were Heit?schmidt, council members Chad Adkins, Melissa Mermis, Holter and Recreation board member Jordan Metro.

Other business

In other business, the council:

? recognized the late W.R. ?Bill? Holdeman, who served as city council member from April 2006 to February 2012.

? approved Heitschmidt?s recommendation to appoint Laurie Holub to the Marion City Library Board for a four-year term.

? discussed overtime and compensatory time for municipal employees. Holter will bring more information to the next council meeting.

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