By Ron Leir
The Kearny Recreation Commission has cautioned two of its volunteer coaches to clean up their act or risk the chance of being disciplined for any potential future missteps.
Commission Chairwoman Lyla DeCastro Lawdanski said the seven members attending a special session held May 3 voted to send “written warnings” to Frank Goresh and Carlos Chavez to cease “inappropriate language and conduct.”
Goresh, a former president of Kearny Little League, which is sponsored by the town’s Recreation Department, is the current coach of the Cali Little League senior baseball team. Chavez coaches the Applebee’s Little League squad. Players are ages 14 and 15.
The commission received a complaint from one of the coaches about an incident that happened during a game between the Cali and Applebee’s teams played April 26 at the Gunnell Oval recreation complex and the commission felt it was serious enough to follow through, according to DeCastro Lawdanski.
To gather more information on the matter, the commission met in closed session for more than two and a half hours Friday night, May 3, in the Town Hall council chambers.
There, Commissioners Lewis Battista, Amelia Rendeiro, Jeanne O’Malley, Joseph Nigro, Nelson Rodrigues, Colleen McClelland and DeCastro Lawdanski listened to accounts of what occurred from the two coaches involved and from several parents who were at the game.
“Both coaches agreed they behaved inappropriately,” she said.
DeCastro Lawdanski declined to detail the events that triggered the dispute other than to say that there was an incident that happened at the beginning of the game and another towards the end. “The coaches’ conduct and behavior and language used were the primary issues. We want our coaches to teach sportsmanship and be positive role models for our kids,” she said.
The Observer filed an Open Public Records Act request for copies of the letters sent to the coaches but the Town Clerk’s office responded that the documents were exempt from disclosure as “information generated by or on behalf of public employers or public employees in connection with any … grievance filed by or against an individual ….”
When The Observer noted that recreation coaches are volunteers, and not paid employees, Town Clerk Pat Carpenter said she would seek further legal interpretation from the town attorney.
The Kearny Recreation Parent Code of Conduct calls on adults involved in youth sports events “… to be responsible for [their] words and actions while attending, coaching, officiating, or participating in any youth sporting events .…”
It also expects adults to “… not engage in un-sportsmanlike conduct with any coach, parent, guardian, player, participant, official or any other attendee” and to “… not engage in any behavior, which would endanger the health, safety or well-being of any coach, parent, guardian, player, official or any other attendee,” nor to “engage in verbal, or physical threats or abuse aimed at any coach, parent, guardian, player, participant, official or any other attendee.”
Any further breaches of the code by either coach could lead to “suspension or immediate ejection” from a game, a “season suspension” or “multiple season suspension,” according to the Code of Conduct. “
These type of incidents are not something to be taken lightly,” DeCastro Lawdanski said.
Neither coach could be reached for comment.