City Government

Skating On Thin Ice

Could be we got the Mayor hotlines a little late this week and it could be due to summer vacations.
However, this entry jumped out at us and when we did some checking it looks like there is plenty of recent and–perhaps future– “personnel action” at the City’s IceWorld rink.

The facility was donated by the late J.R. Simplot and despite claims to the contrary, it has been a pain in the proverbial butt for Boise officials. There has been a history of thievery, employees of questionable character, midnight runs to Burger King on Zambonis, and now the following complaint
mined from the Hotline. No word from the city or others if this allegation is even true–it just appeared on the Hotline transcript.

IceWorld: “As a concerned citizen for the City of Boise, it is very unfair that at Idaho
IceWorld, the hockey director and the figure skater director, on city time, can be allowed
to do classes in which they make personal gain and cause the rest of the city works to
be backed up for just their benefit of personal gain during city hours. I would like
somebody to please look into this. Thank you very much.”

We admittedly haven’t checked on the recent figures, but the facility has always been on financial thin ice. It would seem that it is skidding out of control a bit most of the time and has the potential for a meltdown if not properly and efficiently managed.

Apparently we are off a bit on the tone. Jim Hall, director of parks, tells us the IceWorld has made nearly three-quarters of a million dollars in the past four years. Users were half adults in 2004 and today it is 75% youth. Visits have climbed from 350,000 to 550,000.

Instruction is done on city time as part of the recreation program. Private instruction is done on non-city time at a rate of $8 per person per half hour. That money is for “ice rental time” which goes back to the city. That training is done only during freestyle training time. In short, it is clean and while the “competitive training” is conducted by the same coaches, it is all off duty. Case closed.

Comments & Discussion

Comments are closed for this post.

  1. Something could be wrong, but this accusation seems a little vague to the casual reader. What gain do these individuals get? What are the official job descriptions? Who teaches the lessons that are offered at Idaho Ice World?

    I am sure these answers will be discussed here but this is just an unsubstantiated accusation from an anonymous source.

  2. Seems like a conflict, and if the person making the accusation works there, or has a child in classes there, one can certainly understand their desire for anonymity.

    Serendipitously enough…

    It is in this vein that The Boise Picayune has recently launched “The Boise Whistle Blower” and “The Idaho Whistle Blower”.

  3. I agree. Maybe the payment to these people is so paltry that part of their income is based upon the ability to host lessons.

    There simply is not enough information in either direction.

  4. And yet, who would really be surprised if these accusations proved true?

  5. Government should not be in the business of running an ice rink. Government is not a profit enterprise.

  6. I always wonder how much tax did the J.R. Simplot Co. avoid by donating his house and Ice World to the city of Boise. Boy, are we dumb or what? The house is unoccupied and not paying property taxes, and the Ice World is ????

    Personally I feel violated.

    EDITOR NOTE– according to the update, the city actually is making some “cool cash” on the ice.

  7. None of the coaches pay for ice time so the city makes nothing.They charge $70.00 per hour for private lessons and the city makes nothing.The figure skating director and hockey director also do this on city time so they get a regular check plus full benefits and a $70.00 an hour bonus and the city makes ZERO.

  8. What utter rubbish! Instead of seeking to poke the City in the eye once again (albeit it is easy sometimes), why are we not accentuating the positive … a facility that is a safe & fun atmoshpere for our collective precious commodity … our children. The Directors & coaches at IIW tolerate untold harrassment from people who simply act on appearances & NEVER get the facts correct…the management team presently in place is making much needed & great changes. Forget the politics if only for a moment, and start acting like the “most Livable City in the Country” … what nonsense!

  9. Harm you are right “The Directors & coaches at IIW tolerate untold harrassment from people who simply act on appearances & NEVER get the facts correct…” It is just to bad when the harrassment comes from upper management and the very people that they are there to serve. Why are their directors and coaches being put in a situation where they have to defend their jobs and support of the rink?

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