Parks & Rec shake-up: Cowling says he left on ‘good terms,’ is weighing job options.

Parks & Rec shake-up: Cowling says he left on ‘good terms,’ is weighing job options.

Kevin Cowling from www.clarksvilleonline.com
Kevin Cowling from www.clarksvilleonline.com

THE LATEST

We contacted Kevin Cowling via Facebook on Thursday after hearing some updates on what’s next for him. One tip was that he had already landed a new job. What he had to say:

“In all honesty, we separated on good terms. I’ve given them my 30 days per my contract and I haven’t (landed a new job) but will be interviewing next week and have been offered a job with another company but am waiting to see what comes of everything before I make a final decision.”

Todd Wofford continues as interim director of Rome Floyd Parks and Rec.

WEDNESDAY

Floyd County media release: No law enforcement involved in parks and rec investigation despite ‘insinuation.’ “On Monday, Feb. 4, 2019, Rome-Floyd Parks and Recreation Director Kevin Cowling delivered his resignation letter to Floyd County Manager Jamie McCord, per the terms of his contract.  Later that afternoon, two employees, protected by the Floyd County Civil Service System, were placed on administrative leave pending an internal investigation.  Despite insinuation, no law enforcement agencies have been involved.  Due to the status as an active internal investigation involving personnel, no mention of this action was included in any media release announcing Cowling’s resignation.  At the conclusion of this investigation and the conclusion of any potential action involving the Floyd County Personnel Board, information will be made public. During this time, all daily operations at Rome-Floyd Parks and Recreation will remain on their normal schedule.  This includes registration signups, special events, camps, and event rentals.  Interim Director Todd Wofford and his staff will continue to maintain the parks and provide recreation services to all of Rome and Floyd County.”

City of Rome responds to Open Records Request; email shows investigation had been under way since Jan. 25: On Tuesday, Hometown Headlines filed an Open Records Request with both city and county governments concerns the shake up under way with the parks and rec department. The county’s response included the information about the ongoing investigation as well as the placement of two administrators on administrative leave. The city’s response, which arrived on Wednesday, included just two items: A Jan. 25 email written by City Manager Sammy Rich alerting city commissioners to a “personnel investigation over at Parks & Recreation” and a second email dated Feb. 4 that states as follows: “I wanted to let everyone know that Kevin Cowling has submitted his resignation.   The county will send out a press release shortly, but I wanted to give you all a heads up first.  Kevin is leaving to pursue other opportunities and we will have Todd Wofford step in as interim during this transition period.”


TUESDAY

Two more parks and rec administrators on leave: In addition to Director Kevin Cowling’s sudden resignation, two other Rome Floyd Parks and Recreation employees are on administrative leave pending the completion of an ongoing investigation, according to an initial response to an Open Records Request filed by Hometown Headlines.

  • We’ll have additional information from the county upon completion of the investigation, says County Attorney Wade Hoyt. Hometown is continuing its own checks as well.
  • There is no criminal investigation at this point which is why Hometown is not identifying the two other employees currently on administrative leave.

Cowling is no longer at 1 Shorter Ave.

Todd Wofford continues as interim director of parks and rec.

Registration for all parks and rec events, including springs sports, continues as normal.

Another controversy for county government: News of the administrative leave placed on two other parks and rec employees as well as the ongoing investigation into the agency is another blow for the credibility of county government. Monday’s announcement on Cowling’s exit (see below) contained no references to the other employees or investigation. It took an Open Records Request from Hometown Headlines to bring it to light. The move follows the County Commission’s bizarre handling in passing a motion to remove economic development from the Rome Floyd Chamber into a separate entity. There was no agenda item on the proposal; instead, it was added by a unanimous commission vote and then approved 5-0 without discussion. A similar bid before the Rome City Commission failed as commissioners demanded specifics.


MONDAY’S UPDATE

Media release: Floyd County and Rome Georgia announced today that Rome-Floyd Parks and Recreation Director Kevin Cowling has submitted his resignation. Cowling was named director in 2015. “I will forever appreciate the opportunity,” said Cowling. “My wife and I are fortunate enough that I will be able to pursue other options professionally and I feel if we don’t take the chance now, it will be something we regret greatly in the future.”

Floyd County Manager Jamie McCord and City of Rome Manager Sammy Rich have named longtime Parks & Recreation employee Todd Wofford as the interim director for the department during this transition. Wofford has dedicated the past 31 years to parks and recreation after beginning as a part time basketball referee in 1988. He began his fulltime career as Director of Recreation for the City of Adairsville in 1992.

Wofford was originally hired by the Rome-Floyd Parks and Recreation Authority in 1994 as the Assistant Athletic Director and remained in that position until 2005 when he was promoted to the position of Parks Superintendent and Project Manager.

Over the next several months, McCord and Rich will begin a search for a new director. “We wish all the best to Kevin in his future endeavors and thank him his for service during the transition from an authority to a county department,” said McCord. Rich added, “I’d like to thank Kevin for his service to Rome and Floyd County over the past three years.”

FROM COWLING’S HIRING IN AUGUST 2015

Media release: Floyd County Manager Jamie McCord and Rome City Manager Sammy Rich announce that Kevin Cowling has accepted the position of Rome / Floyd Parks & Recreation Director.

The employment agreement will go before the Floyd County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday, August 11, for approval. Once approved, Kevin’s first day on the job will be August 17, 2015.

Kevin comes to Rome and Floyd County from Clarksville, Tenn., with 15 years of experience in Parks & Recreation. He has a B.S. in Health Physical Education & Recreation with a minor in Business Administration from the University of North Alabama and is a Certified Parks & Recreation Professional.

Kevin is a member of the National Recreation & Parks Association (NRPA) and Tennessee Recreation & Parks Association (TRPA) and currently serves as a Network Administrators Board member of NRPA along with past committees and boards of the Tennessee Chapter.

Kevin has a proven track-record of success in the parks and recreation field beginning in 2000 as an Athletic Director for Pell City, Ala., Parks & Recreation Department. In 2006, he relocated to Clarksville, which included accepting a position as Manager of Operations & Planning for the Clarksville Parks & Recreation Department. He currently administers $3.6 million in divisional budgets with oversight of multiple recreation projects and 130-plus employees.

Said McCord: “Kevin comes with great experience and leadership skills that will continue to keep our community moving forward in recreational opportunities.”

Said Rich:  “Kevin not only has the necessary credentials to lead recreation  but he is a genuinely nice guy that will be a very good fit for our community as we start a new chapter in parks & recreation for our community.”

Cowling added: “I am very excited to be joining the team at the Parks & Recreation Department. Rome-Floyd County has so much to offer not just in recreation but for families and quality of life in general. My family and I are very much looking forward to making
Rome-Floyd County our home for many years to come.”

Share Button

Sorry, comments are closed for this post.