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Parks Board members resign due to conflict with Mayor Brown

Three members of the Columbus Parks and Recreation Board submitted their resignations Friday morning. Nancy Ann Brown, Brian Russell and Mary Tucker all quit. Brown says they could not continue working with a mayor who thinks she has full control of the department. She says that became apparent after a meeting earlier in the week between her, Russell and Mayor Brown. Nancy Ann Brown says that Mayor Brown made it clear in recent days that as mayor, she "could completely control the parks department" with no input from the board. Nancy Ann Brown said that she, and the other resigning board members, decided that they could not administer the department in this type of environment. She said the three decided it would be best to resign and let Mayor Brown install the members who will do what she wants them too.

Brown noted that the board's relationship with the mayor had been strained, but her unilateral decision to remove of Ben Wagner as Parks Director is what really brought things to a head. She added that Mayor Brown did not ask for these resignations.

Brown, a former Columbus Mayor, says she never thought she had the power being claimed by the current mayor. "I never thought I had it and I never tried to impose that kind of power," said Brown. "She's the mayor now and she believes that she has this power and authority and so that is the way she is administering her office," added Brown.

Aside from the conflicts with the mayor, Brown says she will miss working on the Parks Board. She said she enjoyed working with the community on developing programs for residents of all ages. "We've got a wonderful park system," said Brown. She added that she, Russell and Tucker are all sad to leave it. Despite the controversy, Brown says the parks will survive. She says that there are too many good people in the community that will not allow the parks to fall into disrepair.

Our requests for comment from Mayor Brown, Brian Russell and Mary Tucker were not answered by the time this article was posted.

Last Updated: Friday, May 23, 2014 5:21:03 PM

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