Motion to seek Civic Complex management companies fails

By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor

Pelham will not immediately seek an outside company to possibly manage the Pelham Civic Complex after a motion to do so failed during a May 14 Pelham City Council meeting.

During the meeting, the council was scheduled to vote on a resolution to issue a request for proposals for companies interested in managing the Civic Complex. After the companies’ proposals came back, the resolution would have authorized Pelham Mayor Don Murphy to negotiate a management contract with one of the companies.

The resolution also would have authorized Murphy and Pelham Human Resources Director Jerry Nolen to implement a job reclassification plan and an employee “reduction in force plan” for the complex, and would have allowed Murphy to set new hours for the facility.

The resolution would have required all actions taken by Nolen and Murphy to be approved by the City Council before they went into effect. Although the resolution failed, council members said they could consider issuing a request for proposals for Civic Complex management companies in the future.

City officials previously said the Civic Complex has been losing between $900,000 and $1 million a year for more than a decade.

During the meeting, which drew dozens of kids in the city’s hockey and ice skating programs, Councilman Bill Meadows made a motion to approve the resolution, but the motion died because of a lack of a second.

During the Council’s pre-meeting work session, Meadows and Council President Teresa Nichols said they were in favor of the resolution and council members Ron Scott, Steve Powell and Karyl Rice said they were opposed.

Scott said the resolution was “addressing the issues of the complex piecemeal” because it only applied to the ice rink side of the complex. He said he would be in favor of hiring a general manager for the whole complex who would be charged with the duty of reducing the complex’s annual losses.

Meadows said he supported the resolution because it did not contain “anything binding.”

“If we continue to just sit and wait, the people in Pelham will regret it,” Meadows said. “The day will come when we will not be able to pay that $1 million to support it.”

Murphy said he is in support of keeping the ice rinks open.

“We won’t close it as long as I’m mayor,” Murphy said.