Isthmus' recent article on the "gag rule" in place at Madison's Parks Division drew an online comment from Fritz Kroncke, the division's former recreation supervisor.
Kroncke, who abruptly retired last June after 42 years with the division, wrote that Parks Superintendent Kevin Briski "threatened" him for answering questions about park conditions from Jennifer Miller of WIBA radio. He also accused Briski of playing a "shell game" with costs for the Goodman pool.
Last year, for the first time, the pool broke even, with both revenues and expenditures at about $316,000. Madison Mayor Dave Cieslewicz crowed about this in a recent blog post, crediting Briski and his staff "for making tough decisions that led to this outcome."
Tim Fruit of the city comptroller's office says there's been a reduction in costs because the pool manager position was eliminated last year; this employee's oversight function is now performed by other Parks staff, including Briski.
Kroncke, in an interview, says one Parks supervisor was "at the pool all summer - basically a full-time employee," without being counted as pool staff.
Other costs may also have shifted. For instance, the pool budget allocated $10,000 and spent $8,596 on "general equipment and repairs" in 2006, its first year. Last year it budgeted $2,000 and spent nothing in this category. And Kroncke says some pool prep, maintenance and training costs were "hidden elsewhere" in the division budget: "I don't think the numbers the mayor's bragging about are right."
Briski did not respond to requests for comment.