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Have a Question for Kyla Brown?

Kyla Brown, The Park Districts general Manager, provides a platform for staff to share information and ask questions. Visit the Ask the GM

Recent Q&A Responses

I just read your latest email [referring to COVID-19 Update #12 I believe] that stated we will be providing face masks to guest(s) if they do not have one. Why would we be giving away are VERY limited supplies that we use for (our) staff and volunteers? As it becomes harder to get PPE, such as gloves and masks, and now we have to give them out. The rule should be to protect the staff first. I do not want to make a big argument with my supervisors because we are all doing are best to get supplies such as gloves and masks that are not really coming. What are you going to do about us running out of PPE when we keep requesting it and nothing is coming in. 

I appreciate you reaching out about masks. Our goal is to help protect employees, volunteers AND guests, and help prevent the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19).

As I included in my Update #12 (dated 6/17), it was issued as a County-wide directive to all departments and employees that work for the County – including Parks – to provide disposable masks to guests if they forgot or did not bring their own. The goal of the directive is not to refuse service or turn away customers if they did not come prepared to do business with a mask on. As a government agency and public service provider, our goal is to help. This includes providing disposable masks when needed.

We have also taken steps to provide adequate supplies for staff and volunteers. I (and Chief McLain) personally delivered cloth bandanas before the County required it for use by employees and volunteers. The County EOC provided 2 masks per employee, which were delivered the same week as message #12 was delivered. We ordered extra gloves and disinfectants. I have repeatedly asked supervisors to communicate their needs for supplies so that we can ensure there is adequate supply for the essential services we continue to provide through this pandemic. If you are not getting the supplies you need and those needs have not been addressed by your supervisor, I welcome you to email your Chief, our Assistant Director or me directly and we will address your needs. If you continue to have concerns about your safety, please do the same. I cannot express enough that your safety is a priority. 

(Regarding) the premier developed sites…what qualifies these as first of all, premier, secondly, developed. These are not developed any more than the rest of the sites in the park. Shouldn’t we provide some little extra something?  (No idea what that could be). Or rename them “Top Requested”, as opposed to “Premier Developed”?

“Developed” sites is a term we have always used to define a site that is more than a primitive spot to pitch your tent or park your rig. If the site has been graded, leveled, has water and/or electricity and/or sewer hook-ups, it is considered “developed.”

In terms of “premier,” we modeled the term after the private sector (and some public sector) parks that differentiate “premier,” “premium,” “deluxe,” etc. to identify those sites that are in high demand. Often, the view, proximity to amenities  such as play areas, open grass areas, trails, lake, etc., helps to determine this designation. At State Park campgrounds they use the term Premium to designate sites with no additional amenities other than proximity to a resource like a beach, a view or something highly desirable.  For our parks, we looked at how often sites were booked – or top requested to use your term – as well as what amenities were nearby. We conferred with site supervisors to ensure the sites that were designated as “Premier” were the ones most sought after and booked out by customers. We chose the word “premier” because by definition it means “first in position, rank, or importance” (Merriam-Webster definition). Could we have picked a different word? Yes. We happened to like “premier.”

When you took your new position at GM, did anyone say, “it’s not like you will have to deal with a pandemic or anything?”  Just keeping it light and fun!  Just wanted to say you’re doing a great job!

NO! Ha! When people told me I had big shoes to fill, they had no idea…and neither did I. I certainly did not imagine my first 6 months to look they way they did. That said, I believe everything happens for a reason and according to “plan” because realistically, we have no control over most things. I can say these first 6+ months have tested me considerably, humbled me, and taught me so much about adapting and remaining resilient (which is a term I am sure you are all sick of hearing!). If I can make it through this, I might just well be able to survive anything thrown my way…with the help of each of you of course!  We are all in this together.

Thank you for the words of encouragement. To echo the sentiments of many great leaders before me…this, too, shall pass.