Almost a month after residents learned that the Tewksbury Youth Center had been closed indefinitely and that Parks and Recreation Director Roy Patterson had been placed on paid administrative leave, there is still no end in sight to an investigation being conducted into possible financial mismanagement.
On Friday, a spokesperson for District Attorney Gerry Leone's office said there is "no timetable" set for the completion of the investigation.
Similarly, Town Manager Richard Montuori has stated that there is no timetable for the re-opening of the Youth Center. Last week, the town took down the Parks and Recreation page on the town Web site and replaced it with a message that stated that the entire Recreation Department has been closed indefinitely. In addition, Montuori stated that no decision has been made regarding the future of upcoming Recreation Department programs, including the popular Father-Daughter Valentine's Dance.
This information generated strong reaction from Tewksbury Patch readers, many of whom felt it was unfair for children to lose out as their result of the investigation. Here is a sampling of the posted comments .
"It appears those who are suffering the most from the "indefinite" closure of the Rec. Dept are the families that have utilized it. It is a disgrace that the Father/Daughter Dance is cancelled, 4-14 year old girls will be disappointed and the Rec. Dept. Director is sitting at home getting paid. Paid by the Town that cancelled all of the activities for the very families that pay the taxes and kept the Rec. Dept funded through the fees." -- Jenn
"This is going to be HUGE come summer camp time!" -- lof39
"This is the time when parents who aren't working jump up and volunteer to make sure these things happen. Johnson said the town manager would do what he can with town staff. Forget town staff. It's time for the residents to step up. However, I do think that this probably has a lot to do with money, since I'm sure all the Rec funds are frozen due to the investigation (even though that's not the reason given in this article). Maybe Ginsburg could come up with a charitable idea to still have the father/daughter dance at the country club. It is the 10th annual for cripes sake. Don't throw the baby out with the bathwater." -- Melissa Gleaton
"Not only did the funding come from the taxes but the high cost of the summer program and after school programs. Where did all the money go? Is it being used to pay him to sit on his duff at home so that the rest of the town can pay the price. My child attended the summer camp since 2nd grade and is now in the high school This past year is the first time he didn't attend althought he played around in his head about being a CIT. Glad this didn't happen ... role-modeling shouldn't be coming from the rec. I would love to know what finally sparked the investigation! -- A Fan of Tewksbury Patch