EDMONTON — There people addressed the Edmonton City Council on Monday regarding the termination of Page Edwards.
Edwards was director of the city's parks and recreation department whose employment was recently terminated.
She told the Glasgow Daily Times on Tuesday that it “came out of the blue for no reason after 18 years, even though she asked for a reason.”
Edwards said she was “completely blindsided and was looking to retire from there.”
She continued that Edmonton Memorial Park was just a hayfield when she became director of parks and recreation and believes she helped the park grow into what it is now.
“I've been totally dumbfounded and devastated by it,” she said.
One of the people who spoke to the city council was Cash Fugate Jr., a coach of one of the youth sports teams that plays at the park.
“I'm here tonight for about a dozen families who are curious as to the reasoning why Page Edwards was let go and also questioning where we go from here and how we're going to do that,” Fugate said.
Mayor Doug Smith referred Fugate's question to City Attorney Sharon Howard, who said: “The city is an at-will employer and they don't really have to have a reason to hire and fire people. Part of what you may be asking is also an exception of the Kentucky Open Meetings Law and cannot be discussed. That protects Page, as well as the city.”
At the city council's May 6 meeting, Councilwoman Teresa Hamlett said she had received complaints on how teams were split, about teams being stacked, about games starting at 8:45 p.m. on school nights and about some teams not having uniforms, according to the minutes of the meeting.
Edwards, who was present for the May 6 city council meeting, addressed the complaints Hamlett referenced.
When the mayor asked Edwards if she needed some help, she told him she and her crew didn't need any help and that they had it covered, the meeting minutes said.
Fugate told the city council Monday night that he felt the complaints against Edwards were “a little unfounded.”
He also asked who would be taking over the parks and recreation department, and the mayor replied the city doesn't have anyone.
“We will more than likely stay in-house,” Smith said.
Edwards' mother, Kaye Hope, also addressed the city council.
“I come to this with a little bit different perspective, I guess, than everybody else,” she said. “For us it's been personal. It's hurt. This is our community and it's really hurt.”
Hope continued she wanted to say some things that Edwards can't say.
“She loved this park. She started in 2001 when there wasn't a park. It was in the making. She has a degree from the University of Kentucky in sports management. When she got that degree, Rick and I both thought, 'Oh gosh, what is she going to do with that,'” Hope said.
She pointed out her daughter worked hard and would be at the park on a lot of nights, and that she took a lot of complaints.
“She dealt with it on a daily basis,” Hope said. “We still don't understand, really.”
Hope called some of the city council members to talk to them about her daughter's dismissal and they told her it was because of Edwards' attitude.
“And you know, I raised her, so I can understand that,” she said, adding that as a child her daughter would have an attitude if she thought her parents were being unfair or were “ganging up on her.”
But Hope said she didn't think the coaches, the people her daughter worked with or the young people she managed thought her daughter had an attitude.
“I know (the) mayor told her, her services were no longer needed and I have to accept that,” Hope said. “I'm sorry because we felt her services were needed, but we are her parents. I'm really sorry it worked out like this. I hope the park continues to do well and I know Brian (Garrett) and the guys will work hard to see that it does.”
Angela Kerr, a parent whose children played on teams involved in sports at the park, also spoke to the city council.
Kerr shared a story of how Edwards came to her when her father-in-law died unexpectedly and helped her get her paperwork together on time so that her children could play sports at the park.
“I've talked to numerous parents since this has happened,” she said.
Kerr continued she is afraid the city is going to lose a lot of money because there are a lot of parents who are willing to take their children to other communities to play sports.
“Page put her life and soul into that (park). She made sure every kid was taken care of,” Kerr said, adding she knew Edwards would talk to teams if they were having problems and try to resolve those problems on the spot.
She also said she knew Edwards took time away from her own children's games to take care of the park.
“I really think it's unfair for all of the kids (and) the coaches to lose her,” Kerr said.