Citizens express concern; appreciation for Young

PLYMOUTH — Several citizens visited the Plymouth Park Department board meeting Tuesday night to express their concern and appreciation for Gina Young, recreation director.

Young was terminated by the city of Plymouth Aug. 8 for a total of 17 violations, mostly to do with child labor laws.

Judy Delp presented findings that she had collected by speaking with Young, looking at a copy of Young’s personnel file that Young had shown her, and reviewing a news release from the city of Plymouth regarding the termination.

Delp said that she did not have a relationship with Young prior to her termination, and was interested in the matter only as a citizen.

Delp gave each of the members of the park board a handout she had prepared outlining each of the 17 violations and Young’s response to them.

Delp said that the violations were valid but she did not think that they should have resulted in Young’s termination.

“What I’m here to debate is how serious are these violations: do they measure up to termination,” said Delp.

Two individuals, Kay Wagoner and Kristy Howe, also spoke on behalf of Young.

Wagoner spoke especially of Young’s interaction with the youth she was in charge of.

“I think it takes a pretty special adult to communicate with kids in today’s world,” said Wagoner. “In my opinion the termination of Gina was an absolute mistake.”

Howe, whose son was a counselor for the park’s summer camp, said that she appreciated Young’s contributions to the program and was shocked when she heard of the recreation director’s termination.

“No one can deny the passion she brought to her job and to the position,” said Howe.

President of the board Jim Causey said that the matter was not up for discussion.

“As far as the board is concerned the situation with Gina is closed at this point,” said Causey.
Causey added that the violations in question involve federal laws, and the city could have been in a great deal of trouble if they had ignored the violations.

City attorney Nelson Chipman said that federal fines from the violations could have totaled $77,000 if they were not stopped.

Mayor Mark Senter said that after initial violations having to do with child labor happened in 2010, he asked Young to hold teenager’s time cards and personally handle them, and she did not.

Delp responded that she believes it would be very difficult for Young to be present every time an employee clocked in or out.

“This is not one of her (Young’s) strengths,” said Delp. “She has many strengths.”

Causey stated that the board would review the information presented in Delp’s handout, in addition to seeking counsel from the mayor and the city of Plymouth on the matter.