By JOHN PURCELL
Recorder News Staff
Matthew Ossenfort resigned from the Amsterdam Municipal Golf Commission last week, citing a lack of time to commit to the volunteer board.
Ossenfort said Monday afternoon his decision to resign from the Amsterdam Municipal Golf Commission, which he served as chairman, was spurred by the demands as county executive and his want to focus more attention on his family.
“I really enjoyed the experience and thankful for the opportunity,” Ossenfort said. “I have a young daughter and I’ve found myself having to sacrifice personal time and, quite frankly, sometimes work stuff for golf commission.”
Ossenfort, is nearing the end of his first four-year term as Montgomery County’s executive and he is running unopposed this year in his re-election bid. He and his wife, Melissa, have a daughter, Kaelee, who is almost 2 years old.
Amsterdam Mayor Michael Villa said he understood Ossenfort’s reasoning for stepping down from the commission and he thanked him for his service to the golf course.
“He needs to concentrate on what’s going on in the county instead of facing the issues at the golf course,” Villa said. “He did a great job. We’re going to miss him, but I certainly can understand it because if I was in his position, I would probably be considering the same thing.”
Ossenfort said the golf commission would be better served by someone who could devote more time to the responsibility.
“They certainly need to have someone there who can dedicate the proper amount of time and I just can’t do it,” Ossenfort said. “There’s a lot of issues that need to be addressed there that are going to be coming up over the next couple of years … the golf professional contract, the concessionaire contract, the improvements to not only the course but the clubhouse.”
Ossenfort said managing the day-to-day issues at the golf course in a volunteer capacity was the aspect he found most challenging.
“I certainly think the commission is there for big picture issues and budget issues,” he said. “I think we made some good progress on the rates and I think we made some good progress transitioning into the new administration.”
Ossenfort said the Golf Commission was somewhat contentious in prior years, but he believes current members created a more positive and collaborative environment.
Golf Commission Vice Chairman Matthew Beck will step up to lead the board at least during its meeting next month. Beck said Ossenfort devoted a lot of time and energy to the commission and improving the course, from spearheading the capital improvement fundraiser last year to addressing smaller day-to-day issues.
“He and I have a personal connection so I’m really going to miss working with him,” Beck said. “He doesn’t want to not give his all to any aspect of anything he does, so for him I totally see where he was coming from on making his decision. But I also know that if we need him, he’d be the first one to be right there.”
Beck believes the golf course is moving in the right direction and issues the commission can control, unlike the weather, have been handled well.
Villa said he has a person in mind to fill Ossenfort’s vacancy, but he’s waiting to confirm whether a Golf Commission member must live within the city before making the appointment. He said his prospective appointee lives just outside the city limits and there doesn’t appear to be a residency requirement.
“He’s just across the city line, but he’s an avid golfer and cares greatly about the golf course. He would be a great addition, but we’ll see,” Villa said.