McCord and City Manager Sammy Rich updated the department's citizen advisory board Tuesday on the series of staff resignations that started Feb. 4 with Kevin Cowling, the executive director. Betsy Allgood, the recreation manager, and Erin Cape, director of the Camp Anthony day camps, also are gone.
"We've got some large holes to fill," McCord told the board. "Three valuable employees are gone."
He and Rich both praised Interim Director Todd Wofford, the longtime parks supervisor who was immediately appointed to helm the department. Wofford also is overseeing back-to-back scheduled events ranging from spring sports registrations to the annual Hall of Fame Banquet set for Monday and Leprechaun-a-thon race in March.
"This evolved quickly," Rich said. "But we're confident he can get us through these challenging time."
McCord said arrangements for some offerings — such as the summer day camps and the Roman Roast on the River barbecue contest coordinated by Allgood — are in doubt at this point. But once the current flurry of activity dies down, he said, they'll try to fill the vacant slots.
"We'll be working off an interim plan for at least the next 30 days, but we're not going to eliminate those positions. They will be replaced," he said.
Since the panel transitioned from an authority to an advisory board in 2014, the county has handled all personnel matters. McCord and Rich apologized to the members for not giving them early warning of the resignations, but said the events took place in rapid succession and an ongoing investigation limits what they can say.
Cowling's resignation came during an internal investigation at the department and two other employees were put on administrative leave with pay. Ten days later, the employees resigned and the county turned its files over to the Floyd County Police Department.
"I can't comment ... but we submitted our report to the police and district attorney for review of potential criminal wrongdoing," McCord told the board.
He declined to name the employees, directing questions to Police Chief Mark Wallace. Police received the information Tuesday, Wallace said, and would begin investigating "in quick order." He said they would not comment but their findings would go to the district attorney for review.
"Please be patient with us while we conduct a fair and complete investigation," Wallace said.
Parks & Rec has about 40 full time employees and hires up to 200 seasonal part-time workers for landscaping, concessions and other roles.
Wofford said he's putting together a package of recommendations for the Floyd County Commission regarding how the department could move forward. Meanwhile, he said the remaining employees are keeping everything on track.
"It's hard, especially when you have a small staff and you're close to people, but there's a job to do and everyone stepped up. It's amazing what can be done when everyone pulls together," Wofford said.