WILKES-BARRE — Both the man paid to oversee the tennis courts at Kirby Park and the Wilkes-Barre Area School Board solicitor used the same phrase Friday regarding complaints that a district tennis team was locked out of using the courts: “a bunch of nothing.”
Maybe, but it also seems to be an example of what happens when there’s nothing in writing.
At Thursday’s board meeting, member Denise Thomas expressed outrage upon hearing the team arrived at the courts to find them padlocked, and that the athletic director was told the district had to pay $50 to use them. She noted the district already pays the city $17,200 annually for use of various city athletic facilities.
When contacted Friday, Bill Eydler — the man paid by Wilkes-Barre to maintain and manage the courts — insisted Thomas had apparently been given incomplete information about what happened.
Eydler said if the gates were locked, it was either an oversight by someone who should have unlocked them, or that the team may have tried only one gate while a different one was open. He said he did suggest to the athletic director that the district consider a “donation” of $50 for team access, but did not demand it. Both Eydler and district solicitor Ray Wendolowski said they believed it was apparently a case of miscommunication and that they expect it will be worked out without the litigation briefly discussed at the board meeting Thursday.
The real culprit may be a lack of written agreements.
The district pays Wilkes-Barre $17,200 annually for use of various facilities, but both Wendolowski and City Administrator Ted Wampole said they knew of nothing in writing regarding the payment or what it covers.
Similarly, Wampole and Eydler said the city has no written agreement with Eydler, yet has paid him for many years to manage and maintain the tennis courts. Eydler collects fees for court use that he said are turned over to the city. Wampole said the city pays Eydler $450 a month this year, substantially less than was paid by previous administrations. He did not immediately know what the city previously paid.
And when asked, Eydler said he did not know what the district was paying for regarding facility use. He noted the courts require constant maintenance and said he often spends more on them than he gets from the city.
“When I was in college a long time ago, 1966, I took care of the clay courts before the flood,” Eydler said. “I have been running the tennis courts on and off for 50 years.
“They don’t take care of themselves,” he said. “Sometimes I put more money into repairs personally than I make.”
Reach Mark Guydish at 570-991-6112 or on Twitter @TLMarkGuydish