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McElroy Replaced as D.C. Aquatics Director

Brendan McElroy is being replaced as the aquatics director at the Department of Parks and Recreation, according to city officials.

Numerous community sources said Ximena Hartsock, the interim director of Parks and Recreation, fired McElroy on Wednesday. McElroy was unavailable to comment today. John Stokes, a spokesman for Park and Recreation, confirmed McElroy no longer works for the agency. But Stokes declined further comment, calling it a personnel issue.

McElroy, the former facilities director for the Baltimore Department of Recreation and Parks, joined the agency late last year. When he was hired, then Parks Director Clark E. Ray said he came "highly qualified."

"Brendan McElroy has an unparalleled devotion to youth and community, a strong commitment to the sport of swimming and quantifiable program management results," Ray said in January.

McElroy is leaving the agency two weeks after District officials opened the massive Wilson Aquatic Center in Ward 3, raising questions about the timing of his departure.

Several residents who use city pools are rallying behind McElroy. They are blaming Hartsock and Mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D) for forcing him out. Several have started email campaigns calling for McElroy to be rehired.

"I use aquatic facilities regularly, and it's only recently that I've seen changes in how pools are managed," said Guilermina Schinder, a member of a local swim team. "However, I know that having access to facilities in good condition hinges on having knowledgeable and responsible staff at the top who know the needs of DC residents as well as what needs to be done to have well-kept facilities for everyone's enjoyment."

By Anne Bartlett  |  August 21, 2009; 5:20 PM ET
Categories:  Tim Craig  
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Election day is when again?

If he was appointed by Ray, I am surprised he was fired considering Ray is running as a Fenty rubber stamp on the council.

Mendleson has my vote. Sorry Ray!!!

Your representative blew it for you with that announcement. You are Bowser in Trousers.

Posted by: concernedaboutdc | August 21, 2009 6:03 PM | Report abuse

How many people have to be fired in this regime for people to see what's going on? And to think an experienced aquatics director is being fired by a former principal who cried about the conditions in her school, then gets promoted to the Rhee transition team and then gets to be in charge of all of the Recreation Centers! Wow!

Posted by: southyrndiva | August 21, 2009 11:17 PM | Report abuse

Brendan McElroy is a lier. We are all cheering he is gone. Sean Link did all the work for him while Mcelroy took advantage of his title. Long overdue.

Posted by: henry2342 | August 22, 2009 12:39 AM | Report abuse

I dont't think is fair that people jump everytime somene gets fired. It's becoming a bad habit from Washingtonians to turn 'fired' folks into victims.

Posted by: Richelle | August 22, 2009 8:20 AM | Report abuse

In this administration, there are a lot of victims. However, in the end the hunter will be captured by the game.

Posted by: candycane1 | August 22, 2009 8:31 AM | Report abuse

If Sean Link was doing all of the work for McElroy, then he or someone should have gone to the powers that be and said something. He could have stepped forward with Whistleblower protection. Not every attorney in DC is owned by the mayor. Part of the problem that causes people to look at 'fired' people as victims is the vindictive, small and petty way District government is being run, particularly given that most people in management positions got their positions through cronyism, nepotism or other means. The sad fact is that District government is leaving itself open to people being made 'victims' because there is no one to trust at the top. Between plagiarism of school plans, thirty-seven thousand dollar parties (albeit that the money was reimbursed), fixed speeding tickets from cameras, illegally donated fire trucks (misappropriation of city equipment), trips without explanation (Philadelphia, Dubia), leaving the scene of an accident, providing two different stories on the accident, claiming client-attorney privilege on paperwork the city auditor wants and people driving a city vehicle without proper authority, where is the honesty? Leaves little room for people to think anything else. The sad part: that's a fraction of the list and we don't even know about everything going on in our nation's capital.

Posted by: southyrndiva | August 22, 2009 9:24 AM | Report abuse

I have seen very positive changes with the new administration for DC Dept. of Parks and Recreation. I'm not familiar with McElroy's work at DPR, but considering the great changes I've experienced with the DPR's services in recent months, I'm sure there is a valid reason for this decision. I wish all the best for the new administration; keep up the great work!

Posted by: dccitizen318 | August 22, 2009 9:48 AM | Report abuse

I work in the aquatics division of Parks and Rec. Let me put it this way; Brendan McElroy is a swim coach not a director. He doesn't know anything about pools and he hasn't rolled up his sleeves during the summer season at all. He likes to be behind a desk and hide from problems. He was over his head for the job and our division deserves better. The Director did the right thing.

Posted by: Poolsman | August 22, 2009 10:58 AM | Report abuse

Odd that he was fired 2 days after he began training the city's predominately AA and award-winning swim team in Wilson's pool. Witnessed lots of disgruntled folks watching them in the lanes. The timing of the firing is quite strange will need some explaining. Clarke Ray didn't foolishly hire McElroy.
His mission is to provide underepresented kids guidance and opportunities in the sport of swimming. Don't know many coaches who train athletes free of charge during their spare time.

Posted by: wls88 | August 22, 2009 10:58 AM | Report abuse

Brendan McElroy has more than 25 years of aquatics experience, executive leadership, education and training. He is a certified coach with USA Swimming. Prior to joining DPR, Mr. McElroy was a facility director with the City of Baltimore Department of Recreation and Parks where he was responsible for a broad range of recreational programs and staffing. He implemented citywide year-round programming for youth and adult sports, coordinated year-round after-school and summer camps for youth, and taught “After School Matters,” a sports management curriculum for at-risk high school students. From 1998 to 2008, Mr. McElroy was the head coach for the Baltimore City Swim Club where he coached and mentored athletes for Baltimore’s citywide competitive swim team. In 2006, he co-coached with Jim Ellis of the Philadelphia Department of Recreation Swim Team and other notable, National coaches training teen-aged, elite swimmers at Diversity Select Camp at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado. He also served on the Maryland Swimming board of directors for seven years.

Posted by: wls88 | August 22, 2009 11:36 AM | Report abuse

southryndiva: Well stated as usual. You're quite right. From what we know, the "what we don't know" will surface eventually at citizens expense.

Posted by: candycane1 | August 22, 2009 2:26 PM | Report abuse

There is no "whistleblower" protection in DC. The Inspector General is a yes man for the Mayor. What whistleblowers get is fired, and then the "right" to file a law suit. Which means the right to hire attorneys (unless they are among the lucky few who can get pro bono help). Then the city stalls, drags its feet, refuses to produce documents, refuses to produce witnesses, and so on. So years later a whistleblower may get some payback, but most true whistleblowers are dedicated workers who want nothing but the opportunity to work. No amount of money can make these people whole. If you care about keeping your job in thes administration you will not "blow the whistle".

Posted by: tm7333 | August 22, 2009 3:22 PM | Report abuse

Southernydiva and candycane, I hate to make this personal, but you two are either just plain simple or chronic conspiracy theorists...

Does it occur to you at all that maybe this is a case where someone failed to do their job and the appropriate action is being taken? You are so quick to jump to conclusions that you fail to imagine that someone could have actually been fired with cause.

This is a reflection of why DC government has been such a mess for so long. People seem to think that once you secure a job you can't lose it, even if you are doing a terrible job. In what world is it alright for someone to not be held accountable for their actions when they are not delivering on their responsibilities?

DPR has been so bad for so long that I welcome the new direction and hope to see improved results, even if it means some personnel will need to go. That's life...

Posted by: GetOuttaHere | August 22, 2009 5:03 PM | Report abuse

Hey Henry 2342: If you can not prove or can not tell us what Brendan lied about, then you are the one who is a liar. You can not even spell "liar" correct. I know both Brendan and Sean well. They are both good people. Sean worked under Brendan. So Sean had to work well for Brendan. If your employee does a good job, you get good name and you reward your employee with something. That is how it works. You don't even know that and you wanted to write here. Brendan was fired without any reason. His director just wanted to install her cronies in his place. He was doing a very good job. He worked 8 hours a day at the office and then voluntarily coached children both mornings and evenings and even Saturdays at Turkey Thicket and Takoma Park pools for free. Are you willing to work like him? He deserves a better treatment. I wish him the best.

Posted by: jimmy45 | August 22, 2009 5:47 PM | Report abuse

I am a summer lifeguard and I never met Mr. McElroy. He was not involved. Sean, and Amin did the trainings and supported us. I think they did a great job but I never met Mr. Mcelroy, maybe that speaks to why he was fired.

Posted by: waterlover | August 22, 2009 6:55 PM | Report abuse

Getouttahere: I'm sorry you chose to make it personal as well. Everyone who chooses to post does so based on opinions and /or knowledge. You agreeing with me is not required. As a poster, you are just as free to express your opinion. The fact that you "hate to make it personal" is really being simple.

Posted by: candycane1 | August 22, 2009 7:07 PM | Report abuse

My son is a lifeguard at a DC pool and finds Mr. McElroy quite hands on and approachable. I'm a frequent swimmer there and have seen him directing staff in properly using hose to filter the water. What is this Sean person's job duties? Doesn't sound like he is on the same level as the aquatics director. Underlings have to oftentimes perform the grunt work.

Posted by: Tarheelmeanie | August 22, 2009 8:36 PM | Report abuse

"Everyone who chooses to post does so based on opinions and /or knowledge".

Your posts are always heavy on the opinion and never founded in any knowledge.

The fact of the matter is that every DC government employee who is fired is not a victim. If DC residents continue to cry and scream every time there is change, then we will never do any better.

Posted by: GetOuttaHere | August 22, 2009 11:58 PM | Report abuse

McElroy was hired last November to bring change to the aquatics division. The layers of dysfunction there is tremendous. Clueless Ximena & company are in for a rude awakening.

Posted by: Tarheelmeanie | August 23, 2009 12:22 AM | Report abuse

GetOuttaHere: Totally your opinion once again, which you are entitled to. No where have I ever stated that all DC employees are victims. I've said that there are many and there are. Again agreeing with me is not required and getting personal with me is pointless.

Posted by: candycane1 | August 23, 2009 6:50 AM | Report abuse

Candy Cane can't you tell.... getouttahere is actually an alias Fenty/Nickles uses to attack posters who hit the nail on the head one too many times. You do know that they print and keep track of all the negative post about them so that they can try and figure out who the person is and retaliate by firing them or their family member from a job. The fact that they are attacking you on here only shows that they are having a hard time finding out info on you. Don't fret, lolol... your opinions are always welcome here... getouttahere is the one who isnt.

Posted by: my2centsis | August 24, 2009 8:49 AM | Report abuse

my2centsis: Thank you so much for your comments. I really appreciate it.

Posted by: candycane1 | August 24, 2009 9:53 AM | Report abuse

my2centsis, if what you say is true, that is a story. A person paid on the taxpayer dime to look at news blogs all day every day for negative opinions and go off on wild goose chases to find out who said what.

I hope you are wrong, for my tax dollars sake, but nothing would surprise me with this administration.

To the point of inappropriate dismissals, D.C. Gov't is pregnant with examples of employees wrongly terminated, only to be reinstated by a judges with back pay. Starting with the Peter Rosenstein case, to Bonita Jacks. What the Fenty Administration ignores is a concept called 'due process'. They have the right and responsibility to remove ineffective employees from the District payroll, however, there is a way to do it that follows these 'due process' requirements. These rules are there to protect employees from abusive management actions.

All employees, public and private, should be afforded the rights of due process.

Posted by: concernedaboutdc | August 24, 2009 12:02 PM | Report abuse

I worked with McElroy before. He is great at lip service but not a doer. He is plain lazy. You people are defending the wrong man. Funny you all get so passionate about someone you don't know.

Posted by: andrea451 | August 24, 2009 9:16 PM | Report abuse

LOL! You conspiracy clowns have officially gone over the deep end.

I am no Fenty alias. Just a guy who was born and raised in this town, owns a home here, pays taxes here, and works here. I plan to send my kids to DC public schools someday and I often use the rec centers and pools in my neighborhood. I have noticed a difference in the quality of both and I relate that directly to Fenty and his appointees.

I just find it remarkable how the same people who complain about the poor quality of city government services are the same ones who kick and scream when ineffective people are removed. Do any of you have real jobs?

Posted by: GetOuttaHere | August 25, 2009 12:31 AM | Report abuse

An investigation will reveal nothing untoward on McElroy's part. It is likely a watse of city resources but DC is infamously wasteful. The question is the misuse of city resources as Hartsock's hiring frenzy of unqualified 20-somethings - her "yes clackers" - has gone unchecked. McElroy is better off in a functional entity, and it is a shame that DC government does not qualify as a functional employer. The tax fraud, misappropriation of funds, lack of process in procurement all speak to the fallout from prudent management of taxpayer funds. Inflated hiring of unqualified staff at better-than-average wages (check it out - $60k, $70K for 23-year olds!) by an appointee such as Hartsock is suspect and smacks of financial mismanagement and waste. Fenty? He has become part of the problem, a government of entitled spenders, rather than hardworking sweat equity players like McElroy. DC residents suffer - adults and children alike - when solid functional managers are let go for not saying yes ma'am enough to the Devil Wears Prada. INVESTIGATE HARTSOCK's HIRINGS! Is there no accountability?

Posted by: mmdd | August 27, 2009 12:24 PM | Report abuse

Amen!! mmdd!

Posted by: reddog19 | August 27, 2009 8:09 PM | Report abuse

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