The learned Monday night that a sponsorship offered by Sam's Club for the youth soccer program had to be declined.
Recreation Superintendent Dottie Phillips explained that the sponsorship, which would have amounted to about $3,700, would have allowed the Sam's Club logo to appear on the back of the soccer shirts, on the trophies and banners on the fields. Sam's Club would also have provided "Soccer Mom" and "Soccer Dad" shirts for the parents.
Sam's Club was particularly interested in the soccer program because it coincided with the store's opening, Phillips said.
Last week, however, Sam's Club asked for a signed contract for the sponsorship, and that was a game-changer.
"We don't have the time we need to get things in place," Phillips said. "The deadline (for the soccer program) was today."
City policy requires contracts to go through the procurement department, the city attorney and then to the board of aldermen for a vote. The question was also raised if the sponsorship opportunity would have had to be made available to other businesses.
Parks and Recreation Director Mary Jo Dessieux said, "I am positive the city will put into place the avenues we need to accept offers like this."
Ward 1 Alderman Forrest Gossett, the Board of Aldermen liaison to the Park Board, defended the city's policies on contracts. There was "no malicious intent," he said. "We're just trying to keep us from getting in a pickle. I don't want to circumvent our processes."
"There is a lot of difference between what the city has to do when purchasing rather than (accepting) sponsorships," said Parks Board President Gloria Ehll. "I don't see how one is like the other."