By JOHN T. WARD
Memone Crystian, who’d been in the post for five years, cited time away from her three children as driving her decision.
“Long days and nights [and] missed activities at my children’s schools takes its toll on you,” she wrote in a letter addressed to the “Red Bank Recreation Community.” “More and more, it became hard to ignore the fact that my most important job is being the wife and mother to my Crystian Clan.”
Crystian could not be reached for comment Wednesday.
Councilwoman Linda Schwabenbauer, the governing body’s liaison to the department, confirmed that Crystian’s departure was of her own volition.
“This was a concern” among the members of the volunteer parks and rec committee, she said. “When you resign and don’t give notice, it looks like you were fired. But I think she just got to a breaking point and wanted to look at other job options that would give her more of a life.”
Schwabenbauer praised Crystian for her “passion” for the job, which involves managing children’s athletics and camp programs as well as special events such as Memorial Day and Veterans’ Day ceremonies and summertime movies in Riverside Gardens Park.
“Her concern was always for the community and the children,” she said. “That was always top of her mind, and I admired her for that.”
Tamila Bumback, who resigned as assistant director eight weeks ago, has agreed to run the department on an interim basis while borough officials conduct a search for Crystian’s replacement, Schwabenbauer said.
There’s been turnover recently in all three positions in the department, including the transfer of a recreation assistant to the Senior Citizen’s Center and the resignation of an office assistant who has since been replaced by a woman who’s salary is paid under a federal program.
Schwabenbauer said she is recommending that the full-time position recreation assistant be replaced by two part-time slots, in which future department leaders might learn the ropes.
Schwabenbauer said Crystian had begun working with children’s advocate David Prown to identify potential hires, particularly those who speak both English and Spanish.