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Breichner wants rink officials to 'reach out'

April 27, 2005|BY GREGORY T. SIMMONS

HAGERSTOWN

In a rare move, Mayor William M. Breichner read a public statement Tuesday calling on officials in charge of operations at the city-owned ice rink to take time to address concerns of parents who are upset over a recent dismissal of two ice skating coaches.

"Reach out to ... the parents of figure skaters and other citizens so that they have a better understanding" of the decision, Breichner said Tuesday, shortly before the mayor and City Council's monthly voting session.

The mayor's request, which was supported by the City Council, was the latest in a series of events surrounding the dismissal of the coaches at the Hagerstown Ice & Sports Complex.

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The facility, while owned by the city, is leased to the Washington County Sports Foundation, a nonprofit group.

In late March, one skating coach was dismissed and a second was told her contract would not be renewed when it expired in April. Parents, upset about the officials' decision, spoke out at March public meeting in City Hall, rallied in front of the rink earlier this month and came again to City Hall on Tuesday to speak in protest of the decision.

In his announcement, Breichner said he and the council had met privately with sports foundation officials about the matter, and the sports foundation officials had given an explanation to city officials for the personnel changes.

Later in the meeting, while a parent was speaking about the dispute, Councilman Lewis C. Metzner again encouraged parents to meet with the board.

"A lot of the things you bring up, we've heard" in the explanation from the sports foundation officials, Metzner said.

The councilman also said that anyone calling for the city to take over the rink's operation - which is subsidized by city taxpayers - should think about one possibility.

Metzner said if the city were to take total control of the rink, "it will be an indoor soccer facility."

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