Bowlin no longer recreation director

Published 12:45 am Sunday, March 14, 2010

VIDALIA — Mike Bowlin, the former director for the board of Recreation District No. 3, only had two day’s notification that he was being let go.

“The board gave me a letter on Feb. 26 that said my last day was Feb. 28,” Bowlin said.

And after three years of service as recreation director, Bowlin said he’s not totally sure why he was let go.

“In the letter, they said they studied (my situation) and said the cons outweighed the pros,” Bowlin said.

Now Bowlin, who started the Miss-Lou Youth football, basketball and soccer Leagues, will be running the leagues without an official title.

“I ran all three, and they were pressuring me to oversee them instead of running them. I told them that you couldn’t just pull anyone off the street to run a league. I think that was the point of contention, but I don’t know for sure, because I can’t get anyone to talk to me.

“The good thing through all this is that I’ve had about 20 to 25 people call me and of fer their support, saying they shouldn’t have let me go. That means a lot.”

Whatever the board’s reasoning for cutting ties, Bowlin said he’s curious what standard the board was using to measure job performance.

“The recreation board is appointed, they don’t get paid and are supposed to meet once a month for an hour,” Bowlin said.

“I can count on one hand how many times all of them were at a meeting in my three year. Sometimes, they didn’t meet at all, so I wonder what the evaluation standard used on me was.”

Being out of the director’s office, Bowlin said he feels less tied down in trying to run each of the leagues.

“I don’t feel as restricted now,” he said. “They were trying to put all kinds of restrictions on me (running the leagues). I think they felt I had too much power, and I can see what they’re saying.”

Edward Bruce, a member of the board of Recreation District No. 3, said although he didn’t want to comment on the reasoning of Bowlin’s termination, it was more than Bowlin simply being let go.

“We eliminated the position of recreation director,” Bruce said.

Attempts to reach Recreation District No. 3 President Marc Archer were unsuccessful.

Bowlin said he’s more than happy to continue working with Miss-Lou youth and developing their athletic abilities.

“My father, Clarence Bowlin, ran the Dixie Youth program in Natchez for 50 years, and now he’s the national director for Dixie Youth. He’s the reason I’m doing this,” Bowlin said.

“I’m also doing it for the kids as well. These leagues help them grow into responsible young adults that contribute to the society and economy.”

And if anyone wants proof of the leagues’ success in doing do, Bowlin said to look no further than the 2009-10 LHSAA Class 3A basketball champions, the Vidalia Vikings.

“All the kids in Vidalia’s basketball team went through our program,” Bowlin said. “We’re proud of them bringing a championship back to the community.”