Edwards wrong: Park board employee not fired

Letter to the editorOnce again I feel it necessary to respond to misinformation and allegations included in Ron Edwards’ Spokesman-Recorder commentary, “Michael Baker is out at Theodore Wirth: Demotion as of October 1, 2016” (July 7, 2016). Quite simply, Mike Baker is not “out” at Theodore Wirth. He has been — and remains — a valued employee, and we look forward to working with Mike for years to come.

Three years ago, when the former Theodore Wirth Golf Course manager left the park board, Mike took on the position’s responsibilities on a temporary basis. Due to staff and management changes, Mike has remained in that temporary position and will continue to do so through the 2016 golf season. Mike will eventually return to his regular, permanent position as an assistant golf manager, a position which retains responsibility for hiring employees.

Also to reiterate, not only is Mike not being “fired,” “let go,” “drummed out” or “punished for believing in and implementing diversity in his area of responsibility, to improve opportunities for African Americans,” no hiring manager at the golf courses or throughout the organization has ever, nor will ever, be fired for hiring African Americans.

As I mentioned in my June 22 letter to the editor, the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) has been successfully working diligently to increase the diversity within our workforce. Park Board leadership has openly shared this information with the community by providing a summary of the MPRB workforce to community members who have requested it and by posting in on our website.

The organization has also been candid in acknowledging there is still much more work to do to address racial equity within the park system and the workforce. For details about the MPRB’s workforce, racial equity efforts over the past five years, and current efforts to develop and use racial equity tools within our work, please visit www.minneapolisparks.org/racial_equity.

We work hard to provide accurate information about our organization and our practices. Unfortunately, Mr. Edwards has never spoken to Mike Baker (or me or our director of human resources) to learn the facts of Mike’s employment status or hiring practices at the MPRB.

Keith Kalny

Director of Golf

Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board