In light of the recent retirement of Middletown Department of Parks and Recreation Director Gregg Silva, and the previous lopping off of most of his staff with the 2011-12 municipal budget, officials are now making good on a promise to reconfigure the that department.
An ordinance “reorganizing the structure” of the township’s Recreation and Public Works departments was introduced at Tuesday’s meeting. Its public hearing is slated for the Feb. 6 meeting.
No one spoke about the ordinance. But, last week, with the revelation that Silva had retired, effective Jan. 1, amid a suspension scandal, the plans to revamp the department that he had managed for decades were revealed by Mayor Tony Fiore.
The theory, Fiore had said, was that Administrator Anthony Mercantante would work on plan to incorporate the parks maintenance part of the Parks and Recreation job into the realm of responsibility.
The mayor had said that most of what Silva did with respect to the township’s more than 30 parks was maintenance-focused, such as painting, building upkeep, trash collection and the like.
So, Fiore had said, it makes more sense for the township to save on Silva’s more than $100,000 salary and delegate a big chunk of his former responsibilities to Public Works staff. "The job encompassed a lot more than you realize," Fiore said.
The staff structure of Parks and Recreation as the township knew it, has also changed dramatically since the municipal budget cuts came into play, eliminating 13 of the department’s employees.
It was formerly run with Silva at the helm, supervising 26 full-time employees and 16 seasonal workers.
“The job will now have more of a recreational focus,” Fiore had said.
The recreational component of the work included: oversight of the township Senior Center at Croydon Hall and the , handling concerts in the park and other recreational programming (which the township has cut back on for budgetary reasons), field permit management, acting as a township liaison to the Middletown Cultural and Arts Council/ programming, supervision and coordination and supervision of summer camp programs.
Since his retirement, Silva has been replaced with a theoretical Recreation (only) director, Janet Adams, who runs the Tonya Keller Community Center and has been involved in community recreation endeavors for a long time. She will handle “recreation programming needs,” the mayor added.
No officials have gone on record with a reason for Silva's initial suspension, citing a legal obligation to personnel confidentiality.