Mill Creek Park Board gives director contract extension, raise

With two-and-a-half years still left on Executive Director Aaron Young’s contract, a majority of Mill Creek MetroParks Commissioners decided to give him a three-year extension and a raise.

The vote came Monday after an executive session but was not made public until Wednesday by way of a statement from the commissioners. WKBN 27 First News was never sent a copy of the statement.

The statement about Young’s three-year contract extension — during which his salary will go from $92,000 to $112,000 a year — speaks to Mill Creek’s long-term plan.

“There’s a five-year plan that’s being initiated,” said Lee Frey, president of Mill Creek Park’s commissioners. “We wanted to give him the opportunity to finish that plan.”

Frey was one of four commissioners who voted for the extension and raise.

Tom Shipka was the lone “no” vote. He was okay with a raise through the end of Young’s contract but he did not want an extension.

“The board has just adopted a set of goals for guidance of the executive director,” Shipka said. “I wanted to observe how he performed within the framework of those goals.”

A year ago, large crowds at commissioners meetings demanded Young be fired after he abruptly terminated 13 park employees.

Bill Adams has been an outspoken critic of Aaron Young and the commissioners. He was not happy with how the decision on the extension and raise was made.

“They had this meeting — a private executive session — no prior notice that this was even on the agenda or even on the radar,” Adams said. “It’s what they call a fait accompli.”

“Now, Aaron’s worked very effectively, I think, with the board,” Frey said. “But those people are unforgiving. So what are you going to do? There is nothing that can possibly be done that will ever change their mind.”

Shipka called the contract extension premature, saying he wanted to see how Young would work with the seven new committees formed to help the commissioners make decisions.

Attempts to contact Young for comment were not successful.

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