Cosumnes CSD Strips EGYSA of Authority, Brings Elk Grove Athletic Field Allocation In-House,

At their regular meeting last night, the Cosumnes Community Services District (CCSD) decided to change the procedure of how athletic fi...

At their regular meeting last night, the Cosumnes Community Services District (CCSD) decided to change the procedure of how athletic fields are allocated to various youth athletic leagues in Elk Grove. By a 4-0 vote, the CCSD Board of Directors (Director Gil Albiani was absent) voted to bring the procedure in-house by hiring two additional staff members.

Before this change, which will start implementation this September, the task of how the district's 97 fields were allocated were performed by the Elk Grove Youth Sports Association. Although the EGYSA has had board members from the various youth athletic leagues, several area leagues complained that preferential treatment was given to the Elk Grove Soccer, particularly in premium field assignments.

CCSD Superintendent of Recreation Patrick Larkin explained during his presentation that when the new procedure is brought in-house, allocations will be determined by several factors, including the number of participants each league has, and the order of selecting fields for use will be done on a serpentine draft basis. Emphasis will also be on recreational players over competitive players in the process.

To bring the procedure in-house, the District will hire two full-time employees at salaries of approximately $87,000 and $77,000. Along with allocating the fields, the new staff members will be responsible for enforcement compliance and resolving disputes.

During public comment, three members of Elk Grove Soccer spoke in opposition to the new procedure. Elk Grove Soccer President Debra Carlton said the change was unnecessary and expensive.

"Your current proposal will hurt thousands of families that you have served," she said.

Also speaking was William Newsom. A 2nd Vice President of the club, Newsom, suggested the fields be allocated based on what group can pay the highest bid price.

"The best offer wins," he said.

Absent from public comments was Elk Grove Soccer's CEO, Andrew Donnery. As one of the few full-time professional staff members of Elk Grove-based youth athletic leagues, Donnery made electoral threats during the September 23, 2015, Elk Grove City Council meeting.

Donnery told the City Council member that if the $100-million soccer stadium and field were not built to his satisfaction, they would feel the wrath of voters. (See video below; Donnery's comments start at 1:46 mark).

During their deliberations, Director Rod Brewer said he supports bringing the process back to the district, saying it would be more equitable.

"This process, I believe, creates a more fair process," Brewer said. "We are going to do it in a very fair way."

CCSD President Michelle Orrock added that the process would likely be modified as it progresses and asked for patience.

"We know there will be tweaks over the next 18 months to two years," she said. "Please be patient with us."

After the meeting, Kyle Crist, President of IR Academy Soccer said he was pleased with the changes.

"I am very happy - control of the community CCSD fields is finally out of the hands of a private group, now to be allocated using a fair and equitable process," Crist said.



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