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Interim rink director named

October 15, 1997

By JULIE E. GREENE

Staff Writer

An interim manager for the $2.3 million Hagerstown Ice & Sports Complex was chosen this week as officials prepare a farewell for Executive Director Walter Dill today.

Dill announced Sept. 16 he would resign today, saying he did not "need to get beat up" by his critics. The embattled director spearheaded the drive to build the ice rink at the Hagerstown Fairgrounds, but faced criticism and an ouster attempt in August by members of the Washington County Sports Foundation's board of directors.

In appreciation for Dill's efforts, the board will honor him tonight at 6:30 by naming the road to the rink Walter Dill Drive, said Hagerstown Councilman William M. Breichner, the new chairman of the nonprofit foundation's board.

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Matt McIntosh resigned as board chairman Aug. 25 after his bid to oust Dill failed. McIntosh had said Dill's "my way or the highway" management style turned off many parents and employees.

Board members named Michael Griffith, a former foundation employee, to be interim manager during a board meeting on Sunday night, Breichner said.

Griffith, of Hancock, left the rink as daytime manager because Dill told the board there wasn't enough money to pay him, Breichner said.

Dill's wife, Debbie Dill, took over as daytime manager. She too will leave the rink today, officials said.

Martin said Griffith was an assistant at an ice rink in Columbia, Md., for four years and is a youth pastor at a local church.

Advertising for a new executive director has begun, although a deadline has not been set, city officials said. The salary has been advertised to be in the high $30,000s, officials said.

Breichner has said board members want to fill the post by Dec. 15.

Given the city's investment in the rink and the operation's infancy, the city is providing advisory services from several staff members while the board searches for a new executive director, Zimmerman said.

City taxpayers have $1.2 million invested in the rink, which opened Aug. 15. The foundation is to repay the money through rent.

Fire Chief Gary Hawbaker will be the city's liaison to the foundation, said City Administrator Bruce Zimmerman.

Hawbaker has experience with facilities, operations and youth programs, Zimmerman said. Those skills should blend well to help the foundation's board, he said.

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