Wanted: a new golf pro to run the Schenectady Municipal Golf Course.
Brian Damon, longtime golf pro who had argued vehemently with the City Council over his pay, is no longer working for the city.
It was not clear whether Damon was fired or resigned, but there’s no one stepping into his shoes right away.
Mayor Gary McCarthy plans to advertise for a new golf pro soon.
Damon’s departure ends a long dispute over his compensation.
In late 2010, Finance Commissioner Ismat Alam told the City Council that Damon was earning far more than anyone had ever realized. She said Damon had earned $300,000 that year in cart rentals, as well as about $200,000 in driving-range fees and $16,000 in city pay.
Given the city’s financial straits, she suggested changing that in the 2011 budget. She wanted the city to keep the cart and driving-range fees.
Council members noted that Damon’s agreement with the city allowed him to use the golf course for free when teaching lessons. In exchange, he ran the course.
He also got to keep all the money he made from lessons and sales in his pro shop, a building the city provided.
City officials said it was unreasonable for him to also keep the cart and driving-range revenue. But Damon argued that he put hundreds of thousands of dollars into the course by maintaining, insuring and fueling the carts.
He said he only ended up with $50,000 of the $300,000 he made in cart rental fees.
Alam said the city would only have to spend about $50,000 on the carts each year.
Damon refused to provide receipts, and in the end, the council decided against him. In April 2011, they decided to give him an $85,000 salary, plus benefits. He also got to keep whatever money he made from lessons and pro shop sales.
He accepted the deal, but continued to lobby behind the scenes for more pay. He contributed $200 for McCarthy’s mayoral campaign and contacted council members individually to ask for a raise.
They refused to entertain his request, and it never made it onto a council agenda.