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YMCA terminates Natchez community swimming pool management contract

NATCHEZ — Less than a week before the Natchez Community swimming pool is scheduled to open, the Metropolitan YMCAs of Mississippi terminated the organization’s contract to manage the pool.

The cancelation notice came Thursday night after Adams County Board of Supervisors and the Natchez-Adams County Recreation Commission failed to meet a renewal deadline.

The recreation commission held a special meeting Friday afternoon and voted to appoint Faye Minor as interim director of the pool as commission members work to renegotiate a management agreement with the YMCA.

Commission Chairman Jimmy Ware said even if the commission agreed Friday night to renew the contract with the YMCA, it would take six weeks before the contract could be in effect and then commission member John Ward Junkin moved to hire Minor on an interim basis as the commission works to renegotiate the YMCA contact. Junkin’s motion passed unanimously.

Minor had been the YMCA of Natchez program/ sports director until the contract was terminated Thursday and is a former head of the Boys and Girls Club of Natchez.

The move, commission members said, is an effort to meet Thursday’s pool opening date that will be an adult evening swim.

The commission agreed to have Minor work to rehire pool employees, such as lifeguards, as county employees after their employment with the YMCA was terminated. Minor also will work to arrange for pool maintenance.

The commission will meet again at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday for a progress check to ensure everything is in order for Thursday’s opening. If not they will delay the opening, commission members said.

“(The YMCA) contract expired a couple of months back,” said Scott Slover, attorney for the board of supervisors, “and we’ve been in discussion with them about essentially renewing it and the rec commission hasn’t had a chance to meet and discuss it.”

Slover said the YMCA terminated the contract after the commission had failed to make quorums for meetings to discuss renewing the YMCA contract of approximately $100,000 per year failed in April and May due to a lack of quorums.

Slover said he met earlier Friday with Jara Miller, president and CEO of the Metropolitan YMCAs of Mississippi, which held the contract.

“They still have a very big interest in being in Natchez and having programs with Natchez,” Slover said. “I think both parties agree that the contract that was in place probably lacked specificity as to what each person’s obligations were, particularly what we wanted out of the Y and what they were supposed to do and what they are capable of doing.”

Slover said the YMCA terminated the pool management portion of the contract because “they don’t have a written binding contract with the rec commission as of right now so out of an abundance of caution they have pulled out…”

The YMCA will continue to run youth and adult sports programs in the Natchez-Adams County area, Slover said.

“Just because the Y may or may not be involved in the pool,” Miller said Friday afternoon, “we are still a part of the Natchez community. We are doing a summer feeding program and partnering with the sheriff’s department for that, and we want to look at expanding our programs, so we are moving forward and we are hopeful.”

Miller said the YMCA would still be interested in managing the pool if the county makes an acceptable proposal.

“We are hopeful,” Miller said. “Scott said they are having a rec commission meeting (Friday night) and the board of supervisors are meeting Monday, and I think the city meeting is Tuesday, so we are hoping they can get everything resolved.”

Miller also said the YMCA was proud to be a part of helping Natchez get the community swimming pool open in the past year.

“We have been honored to be a part of bringing the pool to the Natchez community and bringing our programs to develop youths and to serve the community,” Miller said. “We are looking forward to building on what we’ve got going on now and expanding in the future.”

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