Dove and others earn kudos for strong rec decisions

The benign neglect Terrebonne Parish Recreation enjoyed from the parish government over decades has come to an end. Under the administration of Parish President Gordon Dove new rules have been formulated and new procedures developed.

Changes have been necessary for decades.

To Dove’s credit, he and his staff stepped to the plate once circumstances made the status quo impossible to maintain, and sook action.

Change never comes easy. In a small community like this one personalities often trump principle. But there is strong evidence that Dove was not going to let any of that affect the need for a new way of looking at existing problems and seeking solutions. There is little doubt that some will be disappointed. Sterling Washington, who resigned as TPR director, has had strong support over the years. His departure means the parish will need a good and experienced person to at the very least meet the standards leading to positive perceptions of his stewardship. Something more will be needed for the department to move in directions that reflect the community needs if TPR is to properly advance into the future. Toward this end, Dove is wisely seeking the aid of a committee currently in the assembly process. One of Dove’s predecessor’s strong points was delegation of authority. Dove’s hands-on history, while helpful for some parish projects and areas of responsibility, has also in the past poorly affected perceptions of his leadership style. By acknowledging that he doesn’t have all of the experience in this specific field that would be needed for a one-man salvage of TPR, Dove enters a new phase of governance that must be applauded.

There are some who will no doubt use the shorter-term issues that came to light — prominent among them a man with a questionable criminal history’s presence with Washington at a children’s game — in concert with problems involving appointed recreation boards that came to light this year — for political gain. We hope this will not be the case. We would remind them that it was Dove and his people who brought solutions for pre-existing problems to the table. If political hay is to be made perhaps it should be harvested from other fields. Likewise, any public displeasure with the immediate steps taken by Dove should not be weaponized politically. This should be scored as a win for the administration period.

Neither should Parish President Dove lean too heavily on the significance of problem-solving concerning recreation overall as a basis for building a mandate. While Dove has been instrumental in solutions, it was members of the Parish Council and most importantly members of the public, parents of children engaged in recreation activities in particular, who helped shine light directly on those problems. Prescience played no role It was not Dove who proactively discovered them, so prescience cannot be claimed.

Those we elect to manage our public resources are required to find solutions. They cannot always be aware of the underlying problems unless and until they were told. This year, the climate was right for public outcry, which set the stage for further outcry when problems were indicated. It is therefore the public that should be commended more than any one individual. But it should be also noted that for many years issues with TPR and the districts were not brought to anyone’s attention. Parents and other users of TPR programs or facilities of various recreation districts have in the past been guilty of silence and apathy themselves.

So ultimately it is Dove and the public — along with the Terrebonne Parish Chamber of Commerce, whose leadership encouraged discussion of recreation district issues, who ultimately deserve what congratulations they may receive.

Parish President Dove’s recipe released last week is evidence in itself of a job well done. That key issues came to his attention and that of the Parish Council is to the credit of individual citizens who took their responsibilities seriously and were willing to speak out.

In the long run it is the squeaky wheel that gets the grease. And there was certainly enough squeaking to go around.

Our comfort is the knowledge that future generations will benefit from decisions made today, and that the parish’s recreation department will move forward more responsively to serve those depending on its services.