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News and Views from the Superintendent
No. 71. February 17, 2006
Gregory J. Nickels, Mayor
Kenneth R. Bounds, Superintendent
A periodic electronic newsletter about Parks and Recreation news, programs, projects and events from Seattle Parks and Recreation Superintendent Ken Bounds
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For the past 30 years, one of the most important and valuable partnerships we've had as a parks and recreation agency is with the Associated Recreation Council (ARC) and its 38 member advisory councils.

Pool Kids
Advisory councils support many recreation programs and classes.

A process to modernize that partnership is under way, but first let me provide a little background. ARC is an independent nonprofit corporation that serves Seattle Parks and Recreation patrons with its fiscal management, advisory council support, community-focused leadership, and policy direction. The member advisory councils are groups of volunteers who help us plan and carry out recreation programs at a facility, like a community center, or around an interest, like tennis or rowing. The ARC system generates $10 million in revenue each year and employs more than 1,300 program instructors per year. Parks staff work with the councils to develop and implement programs.

In October 2003, I asked the ARC Board of Directors to begin a process to review and update the partnership. My challenge to the partnership was to honor the legacy of our good work together while encouraging the ARC board to shape the advisory council system into a more efficient organization built to operate as one partner with the department rather than 38.

Much work has been done. We developed a strategic plan and are starting to implement it. Starting last year, a steering committee worked to develop a mission, vision and values as a foundation for redefining partner roles and responsibilities and for establishing goals and strategies for the future. We are working together to update our partnership Memorandum of Agreement based on this work. In the future, the ARC accounting office will implement a budget process that reflects the plans of each council and measures their results.

The ARC Board has revised the ARC fee structure to in order to fund needed staff in human resources, field supervision and child care. The ARC board is comprised of a set of elected members representing segments of the advisory council system plus five at-large positions. This year, the board will review and redefine its governance structure, and will retain the current board membership until this new governance structure is implemented.

Parks, ARC and the advisory councils have worked hard to get to this point. There is more to be done. As we work together to modernize this partnership, we also have renewed our commitment to sustaining the healthy legacy built on citizen engagement in recreation and life-long learning programs. That is the bottom line.

If you're interested in more details about the modernization process and the strategic plan, please visit the web page

I'll be in touch soon.

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