Commissioners Present: Anne O’Connell (Chair), Andrea Johnson (Vice-Chair), Carl Blanchard, John Kissida, Wyn Morton, Jeff Odell, and David Valcourt
Others Present: Peter Lombardi, Town Administrator, Mark O’Brien (Director of Operations), Colin Walsh, Golf Course Superintendent, Jay Packett (Asst. Oper. Mgr.), Bill Meehan (Finance Committee liaison), Bill O’Brien (CCMGA), Sarah Robinson (19-Hole Women’s Assn.) and Donna Potts (9-HoleWomen’s Assn.).
THIS MEETING WAS HELD REMOTELY WITH AUDIO AND VIDEO RECORDED. The meeting may be viewed at: http://video.brewster-ma.gov/CablecastPublicSite/show/4915?channel=1
Anne O’Connell called the meeting to order at 4:00 pm after reading remote meeting guidelines and procedures.
Introduction of new Course Superintendent:
- Anne O’Connell welcomes the new course superintendent, Colin Walsh.
Discussion on Search Process:
- Mark O’Brien announced his retirement from the Town of Brewster as the Director of Operations at The Captains as of mid-January 2021. He expressed his gratitude as being part of the team managing the facility and thanked all of the Golf Commissioners, Selectboard members, Finance Committee members and all of the Town of Brewster Staff past and present that he has had the privilege to work with and who have supported him over his twenty-eight years with the Town. He thanked the Captains Golf Course staff who worked with dedication and enthusiasm to provide a great experience to all The Captains members and visitors. He gave a special thank-you to the members of The Captains and will cherish their friendships and his memories.
- A letter will go out to the members regarding Mark’s retirement today or tomorrow. Anne O’Connell thanked Mark O’Brien for all his work over the years.
- The meeting was turned over to Peter Lombardi who thanked Mark O’Brien for his work over the years and spoke in general about the proposed plan for hiring a new Golf Director. The Selectboard according to the Town by-laws has appointing authority over a select handful of town staff. One of these is the Director of Operations of The Captains Golf Course. The Selectboard in working through the development of the charter with the Charter Committee has expressed their interest in transitioning this position into the Personnel By-Law and being hired and overseen by the Town Administrator which is the way it has been since Mark was hired in terms of general daily operations. The process which he will lay out will be discussed with the Selectboard and will need to have their support. The general approach is to take a somewhat similar approach as in the hiring of Colin Walsh, understanding that it’s a really important position. A screening committee will be constituted of seven to nine members: representatives from the Golf Commssion, representatives from each of the associations and several department heads who work most directly with this position, which may include representation through the Selectboard with their liaison. This group will be tasked with reviewing the initial applicants, selecting a pool of “semi-finalists,” conducting interviews with these “semi-finalists” and recommending two or three. Susan Broderick will staff the screening committee as she has most recently with Colin Walsh.. Before the position is posted, the consulting team will work with Mark O’Brien to make sure the job description is current and updated. Peter Lombardi will interview the finalists as will key golf department staff who will have the opportunity to meet with the finalists and provide their feedback to Peter Lombardi who will then recommend a finalist to the board who may elect to interview the finalist. This would secure the candidates’ confidentiality before the job offer is made. The position should be posted by the beginning of October, viewing applications by the end of October; conducting the initial interviews in early or mid-November and selecting the finalist in late November; conducting the final internal interviews and then in early December presenting a finalist to the Selectboard, thus having enough time to offer the position to the preferred candidate, wrap up the paper work and allow them to give some notice to their current employer, having a couple of weeks of overlap with Mark O’Brien in the beginning of the next calendar year before he retires in the middle of the month. Questions followed.
- Director’s report:
Mark O’Brien turned the report over to Jay Packett. Compared to 2019, the August numbers are up $125,000 which is a 22 per cent increase. July was great as well. September through the 15th is up as compared to 2019. Driving range fees are up from 2019. Revenues are up, pro shop sales are down but are better than expected. Golf clubs are not being rented. Revenues for the calendar year are up from 2019 despite the golf course being closed for several months. Memberships are up. Eleven staff members are gone; several new employees have been hired. Kudos to the grounds crew for a great job.
- Jay Packett thanked Mark O’Brien for his friendship and support over the last twenty years.
- In answer to Carl Blanchard’s question, the budget reports will again be available after the end of September.
- Discussion followed regarding the pro shop: customers would rather not be inside the building. Jay is considering some outdoor events–sidewalk sales, etc.
- Colin Walsh has been working with the crew and reports everything is going very smoothly. The pump is installed. Fall projects are underway. The crew is doing a great job in spite of being short-staffed.
Operations Questions and Concerns:
- Bill O’Brien reported members of the Men’s Association are concerned as to how the tee times are allocated as they are feeling they are being cut out as there are a large number of guest times on the tee sheet. Discussion followed. Bill O’Brien will share the tee time information from Mark O’Brien with the membership of the CCMGA.
- Anne O’Connell asked Mark O’Brien for an update on Freeman’s Grille. There have been some issues with the gas lines. National Grid came in and located a leak in the line that connects to the fire system. It was repaired. There was another leak coming from the same sport which was again repaired. Several days later there was an odor; the leak came from the same spot and was repaired. The odor remained. National Grid and the plumber pressure-tested all the lines. The HVA people came in and found no leaks. There was an issue with the grill; that was repaired. National Grid identified two leaks in the basement; McDonnell Mechanical repaired these. All other lines have been tested; it appears that this situation has been taken care of. The restaurant was closed for several days due to these issues but should be operational tomorrow.
National Golf Foundation Proposal Review:
- This project needs to go out to bid and get quotes from two other vendors. This project was initiated last February. Mark O’Brien asked the National Golf Foundation to provide the golf course with a review of the operations as outlined in the proposal. Mark O’Brien wants the golf commission to let him know if there are any other areas not included in the proposal. He is looking for them to review this proposal, capital needs going forward and the viability to be fiscally solvent and successful and the feasibility of turning into an enterprise fund. Discussion followed. Mark O’Brien asked the golf commissioners to send him all of their concerns regarding this project so they may be included in the request for the quotes. There will be an opportunity for the vendors to meet with the golf commission.
- Mark O’Brien is looking for an evaluation of the current system, the expected life of the current system, when we should be foreseeing replacement, when we are looking at a replacement system, what the cost would be and whether or not we would want to do this as a phased-in project or whether it would be more cost-effective to do it all at once. Would they recommend a third well? He is looking for names of some companies to do this study before the end of the year. Discussion followed.
Maintenance Building Study:
- Mark O’Brien would like someone to come in and identify the shortcomings in the building, if they can be addressed in the current facility with upgrades, the need for more space or a new building and cost updates. He would put together the information and put it out for quotes. He will be looking for input from the commission. Discussion followed.
Refund Policy Review:
- Andrea sent out a draft on a suggestion to make it more simple: you can ask for a refund if that application is made before June 30; you can ask for a credit if you ask within forty-five (this would be up for discussion) days from the date of your application; you can ask for a credit to be applied to your next year’s AFP that would be the balance after your rounds have been deducted. All such refunds or credits would be made at the discretion of the golf committee (which is not necessary and is up for discussion). Discussion followed.
A motion was made by Jeff Odell to approve the requests from Joseph Cardito and Andy Aleski for credits against next year’s greens fees the net of the rounds previously played. Motion passed 7-0
Anne O’Connell appointed Carl Blanchard and Andrea Johnson to work on the policy and to put out another draft with the intention of the commission.
Questions and comments from Associations and Liaisons:
Update on Solar Project:
- To be reviewed by the Planning Board. The company doing the work has proposed a new redesign. This matter should be at the meeting on Wednesday night.
Approval of Minutes:
- Jeff Odell moved approval of the minutes of July 27, 2020, seconded by Carl Blanchard. Motion passed 7-0.
- Jeff Odell moved approval of the minutes of August 11, 2020, seconded by David Valcourt. Motion passed 7-0.
Topics the Chair did not reasonably anticipate:
Future agenda items and meetings:
- October 6, October 20, 4:00 pm-refund policy
A motion to adjourn was made by JEFF ODELL, seconded by JOHN KISSIDA, and passed 7-0. Meeting was adjourned at 6:00 pm.
Dorothy Vesperman, Department Assistant