Town council seeks community center staffing
August 5, 2021
On Monday, the Cathlamet Town Council had a lengthy discussion about the future of the community center located on Main St. including a disparity between the parties currently operating the center and the original lease agreement with the county. Members of the Community Center Advisory Committee also presented a plan to formulate a job description for a much needed coordinator position.
Other items included the approval to transfer an excess bank balance of $200,000 into the Town’s Local Government Investment Pool (LGIP) account; the council authorized the mayor to sign a professional service agreement with Klein & Associates to complete land surveys for various town projects; and an approval for the mayor to sign a Summation Segment with the PUD which establishes the cost of production of water for 2022, a payment to the town from the PUD for 2020-2021, and to update the town’s water plan depreciation schedule.
The community center is currently without a manager or coordinator. An agreement between the town and the county puts the responsibility of staffing on the county, specifically Health and Human Services (HHS).
“It's my opinion, and I've talked to Duncan Cruickshank twice since we've met, that HHS doesn't really want anything to do with the community center,” Council member Bill Wainwright explained.
In June, Cruickshank, H&HS operations manager, announced that the employee staffing the Community Center in Cathlamet had resigned and the position would remain vacant for the moment because there is no budget for a replacement.
Although the town-county agreement designates Wahkiakum Community Network and WSU Wahkiakum County Extension to provide services, meetings, and programs, it is an unappointed volunteer advisory committee that is currently keeping the center in operation. Representatives from the committee expressed a lack of use of the center and desperate need for a paid coordinator or manager position.
Cruickshank estimated a part time position costing roughly $24,000 and a full time position costing roughly $50,000. Several questions remain: where would funding come from? What is the scope and responsibilities of the proposed coordinator?
In light of HHS’s difficulty in staffing the center, Council Member David Olson suggested the county designate an alternative department.
“So it is incumbent on the county to designate its lead agency and provide how they wish to proceed with this,” Olson stated.
The volunteer advisory committee for the community center agreed to formulate a job description for the town and county to review. The town council plans to revisit the discussion at the next council meeting.