La Jolla Tennis Club’s $20,000 deal to seek managers sparks ‘sticker shock’ with some members

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The La Jolla Tennis Club is once again looking for a new manager, its third in a year. And the board’s decision to contract an outside firm to find the new manager is drawing mixed reviews from club members.

Some were stunned by the $20,000 outlay and criticized the council, saying it did not consult with members before authorizing it. Others supported the council’s efforts.

The board of directors, which is responsible for running the club as a nonprofit service of the city of San Diego on city-owned land, held a meeting on February 23 at the club’s grounds at 7632 Draper Ave. to gather feedback on the qualities of the new manager. have. The board recently voted to spend the $20,000 to use the South Carolina-based company McMahon Careers to find a manager, said the chairman of the tennis club’s employment committee, Alex Brown.

Former manager Scott Farr resigned on April 30 after 15 years after refusing a pay cut. Soon after, the board hired Vic Kramitz to manage the club. However, in late 2021, the board learned that Kramitz “was paying himself overtime while taking nearly a full day off a week,” Brown said. “We had an ongoing negotiation with him which included signing a release agreement and a confidentiality clause. He decided not to sign this agreement, so that we can understand why this relationship ended.

Kramitz declined to comment on his reasons for leaving but said he was “tremendously grateful for his time at La Jolla Tennis Club” and believes he “left things better” than when he arrived.

For this manager search, “the club’s financial situation is much clearer and very solid,” Brown said. In the 10 months since Farr’s departure, the club’s operational revenue has increased by 1,500%, she said.

Therefore, Brown said, the board has the ability to fund the search agency contract and about $110,000 in salary for the new director.

“We are looking for a manager who can lead all [current and planned] improvements, strengthening tennis programs and managing day-to-day office duties,” Brown said. “We know the [$20,000] The cost caused some sticker shock, but the board decided that McMahon’s expertise and reach in the tennis community was worth the cost.

If the new manager doesn’t last a year, the tennis club will get another search for free, Brown said.

A job description will be drafted in the coming months, after which the search will begin.

Brown said those wishing to apply can do so through McMahon. “Just because we use a search firm doesn’t mean candidates who contact us can’t apply,” she added.

Brown said the hope was to “find the best candidate in San Diego” but the club would accept a candidate from outside the area. The board will be involved in narrowing down the list of candidates and consider considering the club’s 700 members regarding a final selection, she said.

Much of the commentary about the manager’s desired qualities focused on whether the person should also be a tennis coach. Some said allowing the manager to teach would unfairly compete with those who rent courts to provide private instruction. Given that the board terminated the contracts of some coaches last year, some speakers said bringing in someone who would teach in addition to managing the club “would raise a few issues”.

Others said local coaches who already know the pitches would make an ideal coach.

However, the conversation quickly shifted to how the board communicated with club members before approving the contract with McMahon.

The board voted in January to terminate the contract with Kramitz and proceed with a search agency. In February, the board voted to sign the contract with McMahon.

Board meetings are open to club members, but business is not on the agenda. The board noted that anyone could have attended the meetings where the issue of the manager was discussed. Opponents of the research contract responded that they would have attended if they had known.

Board member Iraj Aalam, who objected to hiring a recruitment firm, said: “I begged the [board] to involve the members before signing it. The senior members have a much deeper knowledge of tennis, but the board declined. I just want the board to be transparent.

Club member Cristian Popescu said: “It was a major decision. You are supposed to ask about our interest. You should have consulted the members before making this decision.

Acting President Terri Bourne replied: ‘Did the board come to you when we installed the new lights for $35,000? (The lights were replaced after neighbors complained that the old ones were shining on rather than going out, affecting the view of surrounding homes.)

Others said the council has the power to spend the money as it sees fit, and they applauded the work it does. ◆

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