Questions raised about Barber Park concessions

Following up on a pledge to concerned citizens, Grady County Commissioner Billy Poitevint brought up issues concerning the operation of Barber Park and the park’s concessions during Tuesday night’s commission meeting.
“I got dumped on pretty heavy back in the summer about the conflict of interest and I was told we need to do something different. I promised I would bring it up in January and I was reminded last week that it is January,” Commissioner Poitevint said.
Grady County Recreation Department Director Becky Bracewell operates the concessions at the park and has done so since prior to being named a county department head.
“People want changes. Maybe it’s time to put it out for bids,” Poitevint said.
The District 2 commissioner also voiced his support to host more tournaments at Barber Park.
He said that a lot of the rules and regulations that allegedly were part of the gift agreement from the Barber family does not govern a large portion of the park.
“A lot you hear about what you can and cannot do out there just isn’t so,” Poitevint said.
Commissioner Poitevint said that hosting more tournaments would be an economic boon for the county.
According to Poitevint, Brooks County collects over $200,000 annually from hosting tournaments.
“These other counties around here have tournaments to generate money that can be put back into the program. That is what I want to see done here. Right now it is all funded by the taxpayers and about a third who are out there don’t pay to participate even though we have registration fees,” Poitevint said.
Vice Chairman LaFaye Copeland said she was unaware the Barber Park concessions were being leased to the county recreation department director.
She also questioned how could the county lease anything to anybody without a written agreement.
“There’s no written agreement. I couldn’t find a lease and I’ve been working on this for two years,” Poitevint said.
Commissioner Charles Norton said the decision to lease the concessions to Ms. Bracewell was probably done over a decade ago.
“It was costing us ten times what little we made to operate it,” Norton said.
“We still need an agreement in writing,” Vice Chairman Copeland said.
Commission Chairman T.D. David requested Commissioner Poitevint serve as a committee of one to meet with County Administrator Carlos Tobar and Recreation Department Director Bracewell to investigate whether the current arrangement can continue and to bring back any recommended changes to the full board at a later meeting.
“We just need to look into this alleged conflict and get with Becky (Bracewell) and resolve whatever issues there may be,” Chairman David said.

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