Transfer of chief brings protests


Published: Wednesday, January 16, 2008 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 16, 2008 at 12:00 a.m.

An outpouring of protest has come from the community over news that, after 17 years as the supervisor of athletic programs in Gainesville, Brian Shea will be transferred to a different department.

"To move somebody like that after so long, after being such a community leader, would be a mistake," said Jamie Beck, metro sports director for the North Central Florida YMCA.

According to Bob Woods, spokesman for the City of Gainesville, Shea will be transferred from his position overseeing youth athletics programs to supervisor of the Westside Recreation Center, where his responsibilities will include addressing programing and possible expansions of the Fort Clarke, Westwood and Kanapaha Teen Zone programs.

Shea, whose office is currently in the Martin Luther King Jr. Multipurpose Center in east Gainesville, declined to comment on the issue.

"There is no definite start date for Brian Shea," Woods said. "Our best estimate at this point is that the transfer will take place within the next 3 to 4 weeks."

Beck was one of at least 25 people who e-mailed the city in protest to the transfer.

"Why move him?" Beck asked. "He consistently does things very well."

The issue came up at the Gainesville City Commission meeting Tuesday night when, during a time for public comment, someone asked that Shea not be transferred from his position overseeing youth athletic programs.

That plea was met by a request from Commissioner Rick Bryant to hear a presentation from the Parks and Recreation Department about the reorganization that led to Shea's transfer.

Bryant admitted that it was not the role of the commission to meddle with staffing, but added that he wished the commission had been previously informed about the changes.

The commission voted unanimously to request a presentation to keep them abreast of changes.

"The reorganization itself was really part of an effort to address budgetary issues" Woods said. "The city manager essentially asked each of the department heads to look at their departments and see how they could reorganize them to work more efficiently with fewer resources."

Shea is taking over a position that was previously held by Recreation Supervisor Jeff Moffitt.

Moffitt was reassigned to the position of aquatics supervisor, which has been vacant for a long time and the city has been unable to fill, Woods said.

"He cares for those kids so much and he works so hard for them," Beck said of Shea. "I know the community is standing behind him, and I think that's great. It just shows how much of a community connection he has."

Among those to e-mail the city with concerns about the transfer were Christine Donovan, the wife of University of Florida head basketball coach Billy Donovan, and UF assistant basketball coach Larry Shyatt.

Megan Rolland can be reached at 338-3104 or megan.rolland@ gvillesun.com.

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