A post on the purchasing website Merx made me wonder about how much “instruction” the city farms out in parks and recreation.The city needs instructors to run various fitness programs and classes.
Parks and rec GM Dan Chenier says the city awards 100-150 contracts annually for instruction services and the practice dates back before amalgamation. Usually what happens is, when a niche activity suddenly becomes popular, and there’s a demand from residents for programming, the city looks for experts to take on the instruction. Chenier used Zumba as an interesting example. Instruction was contracted first and then brought in-house when it became The Thing To Do.
There are other activities, like golf, which require the expertise of a contracted golf pro. Same goes for martial arts. Other times there might be a technology class where a contracted company can also provide the equipment.
Chenier didn’t have the exact figures at hand, but he estimated the cost of each contract might be in the range of $100,000 (maybe running several camps) to less than $1,000 (for one class, one instructor).
Some areas not contracted include lifeguards and skating instructors because those services are needed throughout the year, he said.
Contracting instructors doesn’t necessarily save the city money, Chenier said, but it’s an “efficient way” to deliver programs residents want.
Chenier said instruction is contracted when an activity isn’t part of the city’s “core business.”
I suppose you can debate where Zumba fits into the core business.