Letter to the Editor: Concerned Resident Over Use of High School Fields

parsippany focus

parsippany focusDear Editor:

I would like to bring to the attention of my fellow taxpayers a situation in which our Director of Parks, Forestry, and Recreation, Michael Sifonios ignored Board of Ed restrictions and violated NJDOH directives and the Executive Orders of the Governor’s Office.

Currently, all Board of Education fields are closed. The Parsippany Rec department, according to their official FB page states: Facilities are still closed based on the past Executive Order(s) from the Gov. Office and previous guidance and info from the CDC and other health authorities. We are currently reviewing our policies and procedures to conform with the new guidelines …”

On June 25, Mr. Sifonios, hosted a scrimmage on the Parsippany Hills High School fields for the travel baseball team he coaches.  Not only were the fields closed, but NJDOH restrictions state that competitions for medium risk sports (which is the classification for baseball) cannot be held until July 6.

Mr. Sifonios is certainly aware of the state-mandated restrictions since his department is currently not accepting permit requests for field rentals while they review their policies.  Yet, he decided to host a scrimmage on a field in Parsippany that was closed so that his youth baseball team could play. His decision is in clear violation of township policies. Ironically, Mr. Sifonios has decided to enforce a township policy regarding field rentals.

These pictures were taken at the scrimmage on June 25

Loosely stated, if a group is not an official school team, a little league team, or a town-sponsored team, they need to pay to rent fields. Currently, the baseball teams from both high schools in Parsippany are planning to compete in the Last Dance Baseball tournament.

This tournament is organized by a group of high school coaches to allow seniors, who lost their final HS season, an opportunity to compete with their teammates one last time.

The tournament is not sanctioned by the NJSIAA, so the teams cannot be official high school teams, therefore the player’s families will need to cover the cost of insurance, uniforms, etc.

These pictures were taken at the scrimmage on June 25

One expense we didn’t plan for are fees to use township fields so our players, all of whom are Parsippany residents, can get a few practices in before the tournament starts.

I am appalled that the Director of Parks and Recreation can decide to enforce a policy causing our HS seniors to pay to practice on township fields while he blatantly ignores other policies for his own personal benefit.

Patty O’Flaherty