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County defends Akers and recreation department

By MELINDA WILLIAMS
melinda@southwesttimes.com

Pulaski County Administrator Peter Huber and the board of supervisors threw their support behind the county recreation park and its director, Anthony Akers, Monday night.
The public statement of support at the board’s monthly meeting came as a result of months of Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests and complaints about the department primarily voiced to the board by Pulaski County resident Brenda Blackburn. Blackburn unsuccessfully attempted to unseat supervisors Chairman Joe Sheffey in 2011.
Huber initiated the discussion near the end of Monday night’s meeting by reading a prepared statement. In the statement, he pointed out that the recreation department has been the subject of 24 FOIA requests in the past 18 months and that state police were involved, but no problems were found.
Before reading his statement, Huber told the board and others present at the meeting “There have been a number of questions that have come up and it’s time to set the record straight as to my feelings about the Pulaski County Recreation Department.”
Blackburn left the meeting early and was not present to hear the statements made by Huber and members of the board.
Following is the full statement made by Huber:
“I am pleased to address concerns brought up at previous board meetings concerning the operation of Randolph Park and the job that Anthony Akers and staff have, and are, doing in serving the citizens of Pulaski County.
“We welcome Freedom of Information Act requests and the recreation department has been the subject of 24 freedom of information act requests over the past 18 months.  These requests along with the involvement of the State police have turned up no problems whatsoever in the department.  Indeed, the county rec and other departments have been audited by an outside auditor every year with no problems found.
“County employees, being human, are going to make mistakes and we regularly implement suggestions and recommendations made by the auditor.  Indeed, the county has misplaced or disposed of one of two Randolph Park pool pass receipt books from the end of the 2012 pool season.  The county staff plans to continue to look for the receipt book, but even without it, we are confident in the sound financial operations of the rec department based on all previous years as well as the current season.
“Anyone who provides this many youth with one of their first employment opportunities is going to experience some mistakes.  I have a general idea how difficult it is to work with youth and satisfy as many parents, youth and citizens as Anthony does.  I would like to publicly commend him for doing an excellent job. His love for the youth of this county, his integrity, his sincerity, his dedication and above all, his ethics are beyond compare.
“I have known Anthony Akers for the past 17 years.  When Anthony came to work for Pulaski County, Central Gym was being used as a storage area for the burned contents of the courthouse fire.   Joe Morgan, previous county administrator, turned Anthony loose to do something with the mess.  Anthony proceeded to clean up the building, rehabilitate the floor, and contracted out the addition to the building.  He and other staff members, as well as volunteers then did the same thing with the construction of Randolph Park, DeHaven Park, and some of our small community parks.
“I used to carry one of those Chinese Fortune Cookie papers that said ‘write your name on hearts not on buildings.’  Anthony must have one of those, too, because, the work he has done on these facilities is the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what he had accomplished and continues to accomplish in working with the youth of Pulaski County.
“Today, Anthony is directly responsible for the establishment and operation of after-school programs now offered in each of our five elementary schools in the county, making sure 163 children per day have a place to go after school and before their parents get home.  Anthony organizes the nine-week summer camp providing very affordable daycare to 213 youth with summer activities while also managing park and pool activities at Randolph Park.
“Anthony has made a career of making positive changes in the lives of children and families.  The programs he operates increase the quality of life for all of us and I am very proud of all he has (accomplished) and continues to accomplish.  Anthony Akers and the Pulaski County Recreation Department have my full support and confidence.”
Sheffey agreed with Huber’s statement, adding, “When the property for Randolph Park was given to the county it was just a big area of land, but if you look at Randolph Park today, that’s a jewel of Pulaski County. He said it was the desire of Evelyn Alexander (who donated the land) that the park serve all ages and provide swimming for those in Pulaski and surrounding communities.”
He pointed out elected officials from other jurisdictions often comment on the park and state that they wish they had one like it.
Since Anthony took over the department the recreation leagues have “done extremely well,” with more children participating in more activities, according to Sheffey.
“I feel Anthony has done a remarkable job and I give him my full support,” Sheffey concluded.
Draper District Supervisor Dean Pratt and Robinson District Supervisor Charles Bopp said they think the county is lucky to have Akers.
“I don’t care who you are or what you do, there’s always going to be somebody who’s going to have criticism,” said Bopp. “Anthony, in my opinion, has done excellent … I hope Anthony stays with us for a long time.”
Ingles Supervisor Ranny O’Dell agreed with Huber and the other supervisors’ comments.
Andy McCready of Massie District added, “I’ve known Anthony for quite a long time. He is an outstanding individual. He has put this county and county rec front and center. He has built that department up.
“I have the utmost confidence in Anthony Akers. I am proud to call him a friend. I am proud to have him as an employee of this county,” he added.
McCready said the board always wants citizens to be informed “but being informed and being harassing can get to be a problem. … I think the efforts of some folks, for whatever agenda they have, is particularly disgusting.
“I will continue to support Anthony and I hope our recreation department continues to grow as much over the next 10 to 20 years as it has grown over the last 17 years that Anthony has been with us.”
Referring to the fact Blackburn left before the meeting concluded, McCready said, “I’m sorry to see that not all of our citizens decided to stay so they can hear this.”

Comments

comments

59 Responses to County defends Akers and recreation department

  1. Randy Webb

    September 26, 2013 at 10:53 am

    As everyone previously stated, consider the source of the accusations. She’s a nut. Her son coaches for rec and grandson plays for rec. Is she wanting her son to be the heir apparent if Anthony gets booted? Not going to happen. This parent along with hundreds of others will see to it that it doesn’t. Anthony does a perfect job, and you’ll find none better. He knows just about every kid in the programs by first name. Hopefully she is shut up for good, but I doubt it.

  2. PCHS ALUM

    September 26, 2013 at 10:59 am

    Anthony Akers has done and outstanding job in this community. He has helped many children and families. There is nothing for children or teens in Pulaski County to do that is why so many people are in trouble and on drugs. But the few things the county does have Central Gym, Randolph Park, Rec Leagues, are being ran very well. Instead of working about petty stuff when a program is running great. Worry about the things in the county that needs to be changed or stopped. Worry about that Methadone clinic coming, worry about Angie Harrell and the moneys that was taking from the cheering squads, worry about the safey of our children in schools. Anthony keep up the good work and know that you are one person that this county will stick behind. Please know that what you have done for this community has not gone unnoticed.

  3. Standing up for Anthony!

    September 26, 2013 at 11:20 am

    As a parent of children that actively participate in Rec sports, the after school program, and the summer camp program I am consistently impressed by Anthony’s professionalism and genuine acts of kindness. He has served this county in countless ways for years and is by far one of the most good hearted people I have ever had the pleasure of meeting.
    The concerning issue as a PC citizen is the great lengths that the complainant has gone to for years to destroy some of the finer people in this community. I applaud Mr. Huber and the Board of Supervisors to standing up to her constant bullying tactics!

  4. CC

    September 26, 2013 at 11:35 am

    Sure would be interesting to know her motivation. Some people seem to exist to cause problems for others. If she is firm in her convictions she will communicate them in a respectful way.

  5. David Mauck

    September 26, 2013 at 12:41 pm

    Anthony Akers is one of the best things that’s happened to Pulaski County in a long time. He is part of a group or better yet, a team that cares about our youth programs in the county. Having worked with Anthony for a good number of years, I know that he runs a tight ship and does far more for the county than the duties listed on his job description. As for what he earns in salary, well I don’t think the county could afford paying him by the hour. I know I’ve not said this enough, but I want to thank Anthony and the rest of his team for all the work they do for our youngsters.

  6. Janet Martin

    September 26, 2013 at 1:19 pm

    Anthony is a very professional business person who
    loves this community and the young people whom he
    serves. His moral and ethical character is beyond reproach and I commend the Board of Supervisors for supporting him.

  7. Janet Martin

    September 26, 2013 at 1:19 pm

    Anthony is a very professional business person who
    loves this community and the young people whom he
    serves. His moral and ethical character is beyond reproach and I commend the Board of Supervisors for supporting him.

  8. Joseph T

    September 26, 2013 at 1:35 pm

    If you know this individual, you know when she doesn’t get her way, she sues. Does this mean that her son will no longer be able to coach for the Rec. Dept? If so, it’s about time. Saw him arguing with the refs and yelling at the kids. It also didn’t help that his son was the main focus of the team.
    Anthony has done so much for this community. A local fellow who decided to try and help his hometown out. I am a better person for knowing him, and I applaud him for his dedication.

  9. Jill Love

    September 26, 2013 at 2:23 pm

    I have known Anthony for many years. He is a wonderful, caring Pulaski County Employee who I am more than proud to call a personal friend. You will not find anyone better to fill his shoes! God Bless You Anthony for everything you do for our children, County and the Rec Department among all of other roles you play that are not mentioned or acknowledged. You are an excellent role model.

  10. Drema O'Dell

    September 26, 2013 at 2:55 pm

    I have known Anthony and most of his family, for decades. These deep Pulaski roots are only a part of why Anthony is so sincere in his work for our county. He has a fine character, mature dedication to work ethics, but most of all, he has the GIFT of caring for others. Of course his staff deserves praise for the work they also do!!!!!!! I am happy this “complaint” tirade has brought out the respect that people truly have for men like Anthony and others. In our thanks to Anthony,let’s not stoop to calling names and passing other judgements to make our points. He can stand on his own reputation.

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