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Amsterdam, NY ,

Council's course of action City golf panel operating Muni

Wednesday, July 23, 2014 - Updated: 10:17 AM


The Amsterdam Common Council passed a resolution Tuesday officially giving the city's Golf Commission consent to run the Amsterdam Municipal Golf Course for the season.

"Maybe the best answer [for the golf course] is that the five of you [on the Common Council] say that the Golf Commission will run the golf course for the remainder of the fiscal year," commission member Bob Karutis said. "Then whatever choices you want to make next year, make them; but do something now."

After recent arguments regarding who has the power to manage the golf course, commission chairwoman Michele Russo said she brought the question to the Common Council as to who has the power to run the facility -- the golf commission or the aldermen.

Corporation Counsel Gerard DeCusatis answered questions from Russo. The most important being: "Where does the authority rest to make decisions and manage the operation of the course?"

DeCusatis said under the city charter the answer isn't clear -- it's a toss-up between the recreation commission, the mayor, the council and the Golf Comm-ission.

DeCusatis said the Golf Commission "appears" to have the authority unless its authority is challenged.

"It's odd to me to have five volunteers run a city department; they're not elected, they're appointed, and they're fantastic," Mayor Ann Thane said. "With that said, I still think the commission should be advisory. I feel a city department should be run by the city, but my question to the commission is, what do you want? What do you think would be best for the golf course?"

Commission members said they need a golf course manager to organize and regulate the facility and they needed to know where they stand.

"My opinion is that the golf course is lacking management and oversight, they need one person to direct everyone up there," Karutis said. "So, there should be a city employee, a golf course manager, or assistant to the recreation department, whatever you want to call it, to run the place and be responsible."

Karutis said there was always someone to report to at the course, now there's no one in charge, and leadership is needed.

"The golf course ran really well for a long period of time under the direction of the Golf Commission, and the question is, what went wrong?" Karutis said. "What went wrong is it's become exceptionally more challenging to run a business that's declining."

Russo said the Muni membership has gradually declined over the years and in order to help improve the facility power was necessary.

Thane agreed with the commission.

"You need someone to report to. It's like a body without a head," she said.

Russo said a golf course manager was proposed with the prior Golf Commission.

"There would be oversight, people would get things done, the golf course manager would be a city employee, so they would have the authority to instruct the greens keepers and the people in the shop and the cashier's office," Russo said.

After the commission unanimously voted to give the Golf Commission the authority to regulate the course, Russo was named golf course manager. The commission will be in charge of the golf course until Dec. 31.


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