Sunday, September 13, 2009
If you have lived here for more than a few years, you have probably encountered two of Steamboat's finest. Hank and Wendy Franks are longtime residents. Hank is a longtime, highly respected golf pro, and he and Wendy took on the challenge of operating the concession at Haymaker Golf Course when it first opened in 1997. During the past 12 years, the course has prospered. The condition has improved, the number of rounds of play has increased, a new clubhouse has been built, and we have a city-owned facility that is big-time for a town this size.
At 58, Hank, who has never been questioned or reviewed by the Golf Management Committee, had to submit a bid to maintain his position. Fair enough, as the city was looking to save money wherever possible. However, when the bids came in, there was no discernible monetary difference, so the committee, in its wisdom, decided to take the course in a "new direction" and award the concession to two other people. They're no doubt qualified - if we did not already have someone with 12 years experience doing a very good job.
The City Council once again put themselves in a position of abject stupidity and lumped the Haymaker Golf Course into the requests for bids along with many or all other operations. Then to complicate matters, they left the decision up to the Golf Management Committee to decide who gets the business. Suddenly, the decision seemingly is out of the council's hands because they directed the committee to obtain bids and to decide who is selected. The council did manage to vote 6-1 in favor of supporting the committee, which offered no reason for terminating Hank and Wendy's contract other than a "new direction."
As a longtime golfer I am intrigued by a new direction for a golf course. I suppose there are some hidden meanings to this concept, but they are not apparent. What I can see is two hard-working, longtime residents who have devoted their lives to making Haymaker Golf Course a wonderful amenity for Steamboat being told, "You have our gratitude." But you no longer have a job.
I dislike pointing out that this is another nail in the coffin of Steamboat. But it is just another of the decisions by our council that shows they have little to no understanding of business and life. Loyalty, compassion, empathy, fairness and a long list of adjectives describe what the council lacks. They take away a person's livelihood with a five-minute discussion with only one person, Steve Ivancie, understanding they were trying to fix something that wasn't broken.
This place is not the place I came to in 1977. It has been on a slide ever since then, but we really hit bottom Tuesday night.
Darrell L. Jansa