By Alton Mitchell
A concerned citizen appeared before LaFayette’s city council meeting on Monday evening, the resident came with a long list of questions for council members in regards to concerns with local youth sports and what role the city government plays in organized sports for youth as well as the potential to grow youth sports in the city of LaFayette.
LaFayette resident Yolanda Ratchford addressed council members about what she described as an, “ongoing controversy concerning accountability of the LaFayette Recreation Board.” Ms. Ratchford cited incidents of accountability that concerned issues such as; access to financial records, statements, and missing equipment.
Ms. Ratchford threw a long list of questions towards council members that included inquires such as: who makes up the LaFayette Recreation Board, how will they be made accountable, and who can provide information to citizens about the ongoing of the Recreation Board? Council members used the time provided to Ms. Ratchford and listened with enthusiasm to the questions she presented.
LaFayette Mayor Barry Moody explained to Ms. Ratchford that the council would not be able to provide answers to many of the questions at the meeting, but would take the concerns to the Recreation Committee.
More questions were raised by Ratchford who became concerned about funds that were recently paid for baseball uniforms for LaFayette’s youth program. Ratchford requested to know who those funds were being paid to. It was learned through council members that LaFayette’s youth baseball program is not sponsored by this city, but rather by an individual who has devoted a lot of his time to getting the youth programs going in the city.
Councilman Michael Ellis also advised Ms. Ratchford that at the present time the city of LaFayette does not have a Parks and Recreation Director. Councilman Ellis stated to Ms. Ratchford that he and members of council will look for ways to work that position into the budget and get someone in that position who could help with establishing youth programs through the city.
In addition to a request for accountability by the LaFayette Recreation Committee Ms. Ratchford also requested that down the line the city should look at options to add additional sports to the offerings for LaFayette’s youth. “Citizens are interested in sports beyond baseball and football or cheerleading for girls”, Ratchford stated before recommending additional sports in the city such as youth soccer.
Council members did advised Ratchford and those in attendance at the meeting that they will publicize information about a board meeting for the LaFayette Recreation Committee. Members of the council also advised her that they would get her information about the board members from the city clerk. Before departing from in front of council members Ms. Ratchford did restate her concerns with accountability being the biggest issue.