Austin Park’s Board welcomes new members

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(ABC 6 News) – Austin Parks and Recreation Department is searching for a new director after Dave Merrill resigned last month.

In the meantime, two new board members were appointed to the park board during Tuesday’s city council meeting. Those positions needed to be filled due to the abrupt resignations of two longtime board members, who cite the reason for their departure as being related to ongoing disputes between the city charter, and the parks charter.

Those concerns were also raised by Merrill, who told ABC 6 News that competing ideas over the function of each charter had led to a complicated and often unproductive relationship between the Parks and Recreation Department and City Administrator Craig Clark.

Those in attendance at Wednesday’s park board meeting agreed that issues that ultimately led Merrill to resign, should be avoided whenever possible.

At Wednesday’s meeting members discussed the frustrations many are feeling and agreed they need more definitive answers on what’s expected of them.

New board member Michael Bambrick is still getting settled into his new position, and said joining the board in the wake of the controversy that has swirled inside the walls of Austin’s city hall was both a concern, as well as an opportunity.

“It’s a weird time to join, but at the same time it’s also kind of an exciting time to join because I think there is an appetite for change and for good things moving forward,” said Bambrick.

Bambrick’s goals for his new role are to advocate for youth sports and make sure the money being spent by the board is going to the right places.

The board is currently reviewing applicants for a new director and will continue to work to make expectations more clear for everyone.