Dear Key West City Commission,
I have learned recently that you have put the job of tennis pro out for bids and rumors abound that you are looking to bring in an outside person that you can pay less. Are you kidding me?
Paul Findlay, the current tennis pro, is the manager of the pro-shop, stringer of racquets, (awesome) teacher, listener, go-between, keeper of the grounds – and the peace, charity fundraiser, and tournament organizer. I’m sure he does a few more things that I don’t know about. He is not only an excellent tennis pro, but he is a warm, friendly individual. Obviously he has been doing something right if he has been in his current post for the past twenty eight years.
To remove Paul from this job – which enables the entire tennis crowd to enjoy their time in Key West – would be a disaster, to say the least. I don’t know anyone who has anything negative to say about Paul. On the contrary, when I see him, he is usually busy teaching, but that does not stop him from offering a smile or a friendly word.
If this is simply a budget issue, you are barking up the wrong palm tree. True, budget cuts need to happen, but they need to be happening in a big way…like millions to dredge a channel for potential cruise ship business, or Truman Waterfront – no, wait, I won’t go there. The cuts do not need to happen for a one-off job that may save the city a few thousand dollars (I can’t imagine it would be much more than that) in the short term and create a lot of ill will for a long time to come.
Bayview park is a second home for a lot of people (I won’t go into the problem of the people who actually live there). Regulars come with their morning coffee just to chat even if they are not playing tennis. Locals stop and say hello on their way from one place to another. Tourists come and get some exercise, and a whole lot of friendliness while on vacation. I know, I was once that tourist.
Now, no longer a tourist, but a tax-paying resident, I can honestly say that I am appalled by the absurd way this issue is being carried out in the newspaper, and on the streets. Have you read the Letters to the Editor in the Citizen? They are all pro-Paul. From St. Louis to Key West, there have been letters in favor of keeping Paul. I wouldn’t be surprised if there were many more left unprinted.
Frankly, I thought the whole thing was just a formality at first. Why even have discussion over someone beloved by the community, who actually does good for the community and has been there for twenty eight years?
Please, please, stop discussing this, leave Paul’s job intact and move on to the bigger fish.