Time for renewal

A reported by MNP says the former DFFH board was exceeding their spending limits. Submitted

Directors sought for DFFH board

The City of Moose Jaw is looking for directors to govern the downtown facility and soccer/field house board (DFFH).

The new board will oversee the management and operation of Mosaic Place and the Moose Jaw Field House – Yara Centre. It would be comprised of eight members and will include three representatives from city council, four public citizens and Ted Schaeffer, director of parks & recreation.

“We need a focused core now that can look at these facilities, read the recommendations of the MNP report and chart a course for the future,” said Mayor Fraser Tolmie at Monday’s council meeting.

An interim board of three councillors has been in place since Aug. 2016.

MNP was hired to conduct an assessment of operations at Mosaic Place and Yara Centre to find out what led to deficits and how the DFFH could improve operations. They provided an in-depth financial analysis, looked at governance, management and operations, and alternative business models.

A major issue was the loss of money on a number of events with low-ticket sales, combined with the weak Canadian dollar. Management wasn’t performing well and tensions arose in the relationship between the board and the city. According to the MNP report, board members were exceeding the approved spending limits and left too much of the financial oversight responsibilities to the CEO, Scott Clark. Financial management, however, did start improving.

The report also said the eight-member board and CEO did not understand their role and weren’t held accountable which tarnished relationships.The CEO appeared to have withheld data and information from the board. MNP also stated he may have been given too much responsibility for developing policies. The business model was also not working and the facilities needed a long-term strategic plan.

Clark resigned in Aug. 2016 to work with the Revolution Place Arena and Conference Centre in Grand Prairie, Alta.

The board started losing money each year beginning in 2012. They were losing approximately $326,000 per year over a three-year period. At the time of Clark’s departure, the city was busy with the municipal election and no progress was made on fixing the board.

“The newly elected council inherited both the situation and the report. It is only appropriate at this time, prior to the budget, council should discuss the next steps forward to making these facilities viable for the long term,” Tolmie said.

Coun. Scott McMann proposed an amendment to extend the deadline to have the new board in place on April 1, 2018. He said they need more time to fill the roles. No deadline has been announced for applicants.

Coun. Dawn Luhning was in support of his revision.

“I want to extend the time that’s been put in there not only for the board, but also to Mr. Schaeffer who everyday is putting in a lot of time there at those facilities,” Luhning said.