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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. Shawn Taylor

    September 26, 2013 at 3:27 pm

    I must say that I am thrilled to see the overwhelming support of Anthony in these comments. Anthony has always been one of the really good guys & the perfect role model for what we should want our youth to become. As for the other party involved in this attempted smear campaign, I’d suggest people consider the source & dismiss any validity whatsoever. Anthony keep up the great work!

  2. A good person

    September 26, 2013 at 4:09 pm

    I have known Anthony Akers for many years and what “concerned” said about him is nuts. This is a person who has told everyone who will listen what her beef is with Anthony. It holds no water at all. And yet, professes Christianity as she is talking about Anthony. You will never find a better person than Anthony Akers and his children are the most polite children that I have ever met. He never has any time to himself and as far as being overpaid, do you think he only works 40 hours a week???? No, try double that. So overpaid, I think NOT. I think we need to be grateful to have him in our county. He must love his job and the county to put in so much time and effort for no more money than he makes and to have people harrassing him like this. How many other people will tolerate this kind of treatment? I also know for a fact that he went around on his own time during a snow storm to help the older people shovel their driveways…and, by the way, did not want anyone to know that it was him who had taken his time to help others. Thank you Board of Supervisors for taking up for him. Hopefully, we can more people like him working for us.

  3. Tyler Johnson

    September 26, 2013 at 5:29 pm

    I’ve known Mr. Akers since I was a young boy playing basketball and baseball in the rec league and going to Randolph Park multiple times during the summer. I can truly say that Anthony is one of the most kind hearted, trustworthy, and humble person I’ve ever met. I’m honestly shocked that Blackburn would try to boot him. That would be a huge mistake for the county! Mr. Akers has already done so much! He has my full support!

  4. Gary Quesenberry

    September 26, 2013 at 7:21 pm

    Anthony as someone who has known your mom and dad almost all my life and watch you grow up in my back yard playing ball. Go I am so proud of you and the work you do! It is so good to have home grown boys become men and do so well keep up the good work we are so lucky to have you in the county. Please don’t let one loud mouth stop you from the hard work you do. (THANKS) I have also known the other side for 40 years (drama mouth nosey trouble) you have my full support. GO DREW111

  5. Brandon Quesnberry (Brendas Nephew)

    September 26, 2013 at 8:27 pm

    Take this from someone who has listened to her mouth for 38 years. I grew up with Anthony “Drew” Akers and his mother Ruth and even went to church with them. Even as young as 8 years old I can remember looking up to him as a standard of measure in my own life. He is an inspirational leader and sets the bar high. You could not ask for a more sincere, caring, loving, dedicated and devout Christian man to represent the youth of this county!! May GOD bless him, his family, this county, and the youth in this county and protect us from the evil comments of Brenda Blackburn. To this day Anthony and I reminisce about our childhood and joke about a bike he once owned that I still want! (lol) I have listen to everything from my own mother and uncle being called liars and thieves to calling my wife trash behind my back to a public figure known by all. Before worries about Anthony or this county she need not look NO further than her own back yard. Your a great man Drew and I commend you as well as this county for believing in such a strong inspiration to us all!

  6. Arthur

    September 26, 2013 at 9:30 pm

    I too have known Anthony and believe that he does a wonderful job with the rec department. But what is truly amazing to me is the patience and restraint that Anthony, Pete Huber, members of the board of supervisors and other county officials have when dealing with this gang of Tea Party Nuts that invade our local government meetings, spouting their insane beliefs. They are nothing more than a pathetic joke, claiming to be Christians. What a despicable gang, lead by their dingbat BB from Dublin and the State Trooper preacher. What’s even more notable is that these creatures believe that they have the support of county citizens, when in fact they would be lucky to have more than 10% agree with them.

    • concerned citizen

      September 30, 2013 at 8:37 pm

      Well said Arthur !

  7. Rochelle Quesenberry

    September 26, 2013 at 9:44 pm

    Anyone who has lived in this county for any length of time knows Brenda and knows Anthony. Everyone knows what a wonderful person Anthony is and his motives are not of self-fulfillment. He brought this county something that was desperately needed and still needs, love. I’ve known him, or he has known me since I was 5 years old. There is no one in this county with more integrity, and ethics than Anthony Akers. He is one of the greatest people I know and I as many other people in this county, love him. He treats every kid as his own no matter what. He has brought a positive outlook for this county when most people want to do nothing but throw their lives away. He has given these broken kids a way out. Thank you Anthony for all you do!

  8. Shara Linkous

    September 27, 2013 at 10:42 am

    My kids have been participating in Rec. sports for the last 6 years, summer camp for the last 3 years, and the after-school program for the last 6 years, not to mention Anthony himself was my daughter’s softball coach for a season. I have never met a more professional man with such commitment to the children of this county. He is literally everywhere and involved in everything, and I’ve often wondered how the man finds time to sleep and see his family. I personally feel he SHOULD be paid by the hour because he would make what he deserves considering the number of hours he puts in. This county is very fortunate to have Anthony.

  9. Thankful

    September 27, 2013 at 4:00 pm

    I would just like to say I am thankful for Anthony Akers. If it weren’t for the after school program and summer camp I don’t know where I would send my child. Anytime I had a problem I was able to contact Anthony and it was resolved quickly. We have also been a part of rec. sports and until this past year never had any problems with coaches. However I did voice my concern about this coach an it was noted. All of the coachs I have dealt with are just as nice as Anthony. I feel like we are all blessed to have him in the position that he is in.

  10. concerned

    September 27, 2013 at 9:26 pm

    All I can say is good luck to all of you Anthony Akers worshippers and no I am not a friend of Mrs. Blackburns or even know her personally. Eventually you people will see for yourselfs what he is all about. Again good luck.

    • Lola

      September 30, 2013 at 6:54 pm

      …so do you know her or not? Here you say you don’t bu in other posts you claim to know what a good person she is. Ms. Blackburn, quit playing on the computer, you are confusing yourself.

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