Fayette County

City fires Lexington parks and recreation director less than six months after he was hired

Lexington's director of parks and recreation has been fired less than six months after he was hired.

Brad Chambers, who started June 2, was terminated Tuesday, according to documents provided by the city.

General Services Commissioner Geoff Reed, who oversees the Division of Parks and Recreation, sent a memo to the city's human services department Tuesday recommending that Chambers "be released from his employment" because he has "not successfully completed his probationary period."

The memo says that Chambers' last day was Wednesday.

City employees are traditionally given a six-month probationary period before being hired permanently.

Susan Straub, a spokeswoman for the city, said the city couldn't comment further on the reasons for Chambers' departure because it was a personnel matter.

Chambers could not be reached for comment.

Reed will be interim director until a permanent parks director is hired, Straub said.

Chambers, a retired commander in the U.S. Navy reserves, has directed parks operations in Georgia, Missouri and Tennessee. He also has worked as a consultant. Chambers replaced Jerry Hancock, who retired in November 2013.

Chambers' salary was $103,324 a year.

More than 100 people applied for the position, city officials said at the time Chambers was hired.

The city's parks and recreation department has been at a crossroads for some time. During a council meeting Tuesday to discuss how to spend part of a $2.2 million surplus, council members and Reed discussed a need for a comprehensive, long-term parks plan.

For example, Reed said the city has many tennis courts, but tennis is declining as a sport. The city needs to address changes in people's recreational habits when it looks at where to spend its money, he said.

To that end, the council approved $150,000 Tuesday for a comprehensive aquatics master plan. The city's pools are not self-sustaining. The pools have a budget of about $1.5 million, but they generate only $600,000 a year in revenue.

Chambers did not attend the Tuesday meeting.