Council Tees Up Golf Club RFP and Manager Search



By Tom McDermott


In golf, a scrambler is the kind of player who somehow manages to score well despite not placing the ball consistently in the fairway or making many greens in regulation.


The Rye Golf Club, the Golf Commission and its Strategic Committee, and the City Manager have been doing a lot of scrambling over the last year. But, at the October 23 City Council meeting, they and the Council may have finally walked onto the green together.


At the meeting, Peter Marshall, Chair of the Strategic Committee, with Commission member Angela Sposato by his side, made a presentation. Marshall reported that the Club was on track to meet its budget this year, which was a challenging one to say the least. Fortunately, according to Marshall, golf revenue offset a “significant” deficit in the Whitby Castle catering operation. To top things off, he reported on a highly successful Dragon Coasters’ concert with over 400 guests October 19.


Marshall’s name has been floated as a possible candidate to manage the club, although there was no hint of that possibility mentioned during the Council meeting. He is the former CFO of Cumberland Packing Corp., parent of Sweet ‘N Low.


Marshall proposed that the City authorize the City Manager to engage Stephen Zagor & Associates for a professional services agreement not to exceed $10,000 to manage an RFP to select a new Food & Beverage (F&B) operator at Whitby Castle. He also proposed that the City authorize spending not more than $15,000 with Denehy – Club Thinking Partners to conduct the first two phases of an executive search for a new Golf Club general manager.


The Council voted 7-0 in favor of the first proposal and 6-1 in favor of the second. Councilmember Julie Killian cast the lone “no” vote on the general manager search. She questioned what would happen if a new manager left after two years and also wondered about a “double-track” search, in which the club would look for different kinds of candidates, since it is not yet clear whether a new manager would have day-to-day operating responsibility for F & B.


Golf Commission Chair John Duffy said, “The Commission supports getting a G.M. in either role. We need to find out what’s available through the RFP.” Councilman Joe Sack added, “We’re dealing with uncertainties, but we can’t just stand still.”


Mayor Doug French said both the RFP and the search were “home runs” and thanked Marshall, his committee, and the Commission for their work.


After the meeting, all the players had somehow scrambled back together, no doubt a welcome round for all.


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