League pledges communication
In response to allegations of people drinking alcohol at Gene Dixon Memorial Park, along with coaches having consumed alcohol before or during games, unsanitary conditions at the park’s concession stand, use of profanity at the park and unprofessionalism and non- compliance with a recently agreed to county permit, members of the Buckingham County Youth League (BCYL) say they’re going to “work together to communicate with each other and to handle issues together as they arise.”
A letter dated June 24 from the BCYL Executive Board, received by county officials Tuesday, comes after supervisors agreed the league’s leadership would respond to the complaints and allegations in accordance with the permit, which allows the league to use the park for games and practices.
The letter addresses only communication and cleaning of the concession stand.
In the letter to members of the Buckingham County Board of Supervisors and County Administrator Rebecca S. Carter, BCYL leaders said “it appears, after hearing what you informed us of, that there are some communication problems among the members. Communication is a major component needed, and we will be discussing this at our June 29 meeting, which is going to be held at the ballpark at 6 p.m.”
The complaints regarding the BCYL dominated discussion during a meeting between Buckingham County supervisors and leadership of the league June 22.
The special meeting came after Carter issued a notice of the meeting between supervisors and the BCYL leadership, detailing five specific complaints the county has received since the issuance of the April 19 permit allowing BCYL to use the park, located north of Dillwyn.
“As far as the concession stand is concerned, Jack Stearrett (commissioner) took off work early Friday, June 23 and worked on cleaning it in order to comply with the health department specifications. He is going to come back Saturday morning, June 24, to complete the rest,” BCYL officials said in their letter.
“He is also going to purchase a clipboard and post a sign-in and sign-out sheet on it so that board members and parents who work the concession stand will sign it when they work. By doing this, we will have a record of who worked on that day. He is also going to make sure that anyone working is aware of all of the guidelines and must follow them.”
“We do understand the importance of our lease and plan to operate according to the regulations provided by the board of supervisors. Again, thank you for meeting with us to discuss these issues and concerns,” league officials said.
The memorandum detailing the complaints was sent to BCYL President Denise Bryant and then-Vice President Stacy Hartless on June 13 informing them of the June 22 meeting.
Also dominating discussion were allegations of a rift among the BCYL’s leadership, cited by several supervisors and the county administrator.
“If things don’t change, then the county is going to step in, and then the county would run the tournament,” District Two Supervisor Donnie Bryan said of the county potentially running the youth league and its upcoming tournament, which begins this weekend.
Hartless, who resigned Monday, said in her resignation letter to league leadership that she’s “always felt our membership was divided, and I truly didn’t feel like I was on either side. I was asked to serve on the executive board. I agreed with the thought that I could bring the two sides together … I was wrong … I am not sure if it’s one ‘side’ trying to make another ‘side’ look bad or what, but this just isn’t something I want to be a part of any more. Instead of having a board that works and stands together, we have a board that works against each other and talks about each other behind their backs,” Hartless said.
“This organization has the potential to do great things for the youth of our community,” Hartless said. “I truly hope this board is able to get past their personal issues with each other and truly work together.”
Bryant didn’t respond to a request for comment regarding the June 22 meeting.
“I’ve gotten phone calls on it,” Bryan said June 22 regarding the allegation of alcohol use at the park. “I’m just concerned that there’s people down there, I don’t know if they’re drinking down there or maybe having one or two before they come down there … We’re among children … The person said that they smelled the alcohol.”
District Five Supervisor Harry Bryant said during the meeting he hadn’t seen alcohol at the park. “My biggest complaint has been with the concession stand being dirty,” he said.
Denise Bryant said it was “quite concerning that we get multiple issues listed when we’ve been given in our permit responsibility to handle issues as they come up with a time frame on it. We have 14 days to settle any issues that are brought to our attention. Well, when the first thing is alcohol at the park and/or coaches who have been drinking alcohol while coaching, and we’ve received this complaint after our season is pretty much complete, that’s quite concerning. Because, if someone’s picking up the phone … and making these reports to whoever, why wasn’t it addressed to the people who are at the park at that time?”