An applicant for the open seat on the Recreation Commission was publicly accused of using his position on an advisory board to settle a score with an organization that competes against his own cheer group.
Before the Town Council began the second portion of its interview process of Recreation Commission applicants, Eric Hubbard of 12 Overlook Drive said he doesn’t think applicant Ryan Oulette, president of the Wildcats, should be considered, after he decided as a member of the Tri-Town Tournament Advisory Board to bar the Blue Lions cheer organization from competing in the Tri-Town Tournament just two days after the Blue Lions refused to merge with the Wildcats organization.
“There were 30 to 40 Londonderry kids who couldn’t compete in the tournament,” Hubbard said. “It seems vindictive in a way that he’s joining the Recreation Commission when he didn’t get what he wanted. I think you should select someone who is going to look out for the welfare of the kids.”
Oulette told the board he doesn’t know Hubbard, and he would advise the Council to speak to anyone in town who knows him.
“Those events happened, but not in that way. I have been working with our board to merge with the Blue Lions, offering everything we can. But they are not interested,” Oulette said, explaining the decision not to invite organizations like the Blue Lions from the Tri-Town Tournament was based on the Blue Lions’ non-compliance with rules for participating organizations.
Blue Lions President Glenn Douglas said he met with the Tri-Town Tournament Advisory Board prior to the tournament to ensure his organization was in compliance with all the tournament rules.
“We have competed in this tournament for six to seven years and have never had a problem before,” said Douglas, noting he was informed his organization was in compliance.
Then, just two days after he refused to merge with the Wildcats, Douglas was informed the Blue Lions had been disinvited from the Tri-Town Cheer Tournament because it drew athletes from overlapping areas, namely Londonderry.
“I specifically asked why, and they said it was a unanimous vote, one of the voters being the President of the Wildcats,” he said.
Douglas said in years past, they have refused to accept children from other towns to the organization to maintain compliance with league rules so that they can participate in competition.
“We can’t give up a competition. This is what these girls do,” he said, noting the Tri-Town Tournament is the largest in the state and his organization has since struggled to find comparable competitions.
“I just think it’s wrong,” Councilor John Farrell said, addressing Oulette. “I don’t think you were thinking about the kids. We need to focus on getting everyone to go out and do what they want to do.”
Farrell said the issue between the cheer organizations strikes a similar note to issues the Recreation Commission recently faced with recreation and club soccer organizations in town.
“Come on, you guys can’t figure this thing out?” he asked.
“I’d love to figure this out. One of my goals is I’d love to see all the cheerleaders united,” Oulette said.
“It’s unacceptable these two organizations can’t sit down and talk this out as adults,” Councilor Jim Butler said. “The only people who get hurt are the kids. I would recommend (Oulette) and (Douglas) sit down with Recreation Director Art Psaledas and work this out. I’m not going to let 30 to 40 kids go by the wayside.”