Manager’s Toolbox Sparks Debate

On the afternoon of November 21st, e-mail landed with a thud in my Inbox. The message, from Steve Russell, one of our loyal readers out West, gently harangued us for some of the language and logic used in “The Breaking (Even) Point” (November 2006 issue) by Kim Uhlik.

This latest installment of his ongoing Manager’s Toolbox series dealt with the idea of working to match an organization’s philosophy to financial reality, and Russell felt the argument was illogical and biased. After re-reading the article, I couldn’t find the problem, so I forwarded Russell’s comments to the author, who quickly and thoughtfully responded point by point.

In the end, it was determined that writing style and word usage were the problem and not logic. It was an interesting process to see in action--a reader writing in, a writer responding and an intelligent discussion taking place. More interestingly, or at least more telling of current reality, nobody actually spoke--the entire exchange of ideas took place via e-mail.

Below, we’ve reprinted Russell’s final word on the subject. I thank him for taking the time to read and comment and look forward to hearing from him and you in the future.


Rodney J. Auth


Rodney, Kim:

Thanks for responding to my criticisms of the article. I am always interested in means, methods and theories to improve public recreation administration. And, I believe that financial management is the highest priority for our professional development. That is why I am particularly, perhaps excessively, attentive to articles on that theme.

Kim, I appreciate your explanation and the intent of your article. Although I might not term waivers and grants as socialistic, more in the line of public service and, even marketing (as stores use giveaways, free samples, discounts, etc., to increase awareness, use, etc.). Nonetheless, your general theme and information are valuable in a profession that is often lacking in financial education and knowledge.

Please keep the articles coming, I will continue to read and comment, both positively and negatively, on the content!

Steve Russell


Western Eagle County Recreation District

Good Lord--The Letters Just Keep Comin’!


I read your article "Good Lord" in the November issue (page 48) of Parks & Rec Business. I just wanted to

say thanks for acknowledging God, prayer, truth and character as well as the possibilities of taking a stand on issues that are important to us. I was encouraged and blessed as I read your article.

Thank you,

Dan Peyton

Supervisor of Buildings and Grounds

Ravenna City Schools

Good Morning Mr. Ciancutti,

I just wanted to say thank you for your very insightful articles in the Parks & Rec Business magazine. I always enjoy them. I have to tell you that in this day and age, I appreciate a person standing up in the secular world and taking a stand for God as you did in November’s article.

I work in a rural Oregon city of merely 8,000 and am this small burb’s first parks and recreation coordinator. We are still somehow able to say a prayer before each of our council meetings, and I am always floored when it happens without someone standing up and protesting this at a public meeting. I always thank God under my breath that I live in a place like this. It is refreshing to see that a parks department as large as Cleveland’s has a manager at its helm bold enough to share his faith too. Bless you…it keeps all us little towns inspired to do the same. Good Lord, how would the world deal with that?

Warm Regards,


Sherry Bailey

Eagle Point Parks and Recreation Coordinator


Congratulations to Nicco for his accomplishments. As a former Parks and Recreation Administrator and current Health and Wellness Administrator for a local government in Albuquerque, N.M., I am in the business of motivating people and have enjoyed your articles in Parks & Rec Business--articles that identify what the true finish line should be for everyone: To give of yourself.

Attached is a true story that happened to me a little over three years ago--it may be fitting for “A Step Ahead” if you ever get writer’s block.


M. Andrew Garrison, M.S., M.A., B.S.

PRB Kudos

Hi Rodney,

I wanted to take a moment to compliment you and your staff on a great-looking December 2006 issue! Compliments to whoever designed the front cover ... very eye catching. Haven't read it from cover to cover (just got it yesterday), but did read the online grant article ... and in just three days we will activate our new online "RecNet" system so everyone can register online.

Anyway, kudos to all.

Randy Gaddo

Director of Parks, Recreation & Library Services

Peachtree City, Ga.

Publisher’s Note:

This last submission is entirely gratuitous and self-supporting since our good friend Randy Gaddo also writes for the magazine. But we figured, hey, we took a chance with an oddball cover, and nobody held a gun to his head asking for a compliment, so we thought we’d pass it along.


Rodney J. Auth