Candidate Q & A: Karin Ernst, Recreation and Parks Commission

The following represents the candidate’s responses to the Current’s Park and Rec-specific questions. Jump back to Election Guide

Years in Marblehead: 26 years

Occupation/Education: Executive sales representative for Mead Johnson Nutrition, bachelor of arts in communications with a minor in psychology.

Appointed positions and/or elected offices: Two terms on the Rec and Parks Commission; president, vice president, treasurer at Clifton Lutheran Church

What should be the Rec and Parks Commission’s top five goals in the years ahead?  

  1. Find the solution to the sound mitigation issue at the Veterans School courts for the pickleball community.                    
  2. Determine a course of action with the Larz Anderson Trust.
  3. Improve the overall quality of Reynolds playground.
  4. Level the uneven parts of Gablicky Field, if funds are available through
  5. Improve access to the Marblehead Dog Park. 

The commission has been accused of not being responsive enough recently, particularly to the hundreds of pickle ballers in town. What’s your reaction to that? What would you do to increase the commission’s responsiveness?  

That is an interesting question.  The Commission as a whole, and I as an individual, have been extremely responsive to this ever-growing community.  My first year on the Commission, I helped get pickleball at Seaside courts. I also petitioned to get the pickleball courts built on Court 1, which allowed for four pickleball courts to be built and was the furthest away from the homes in the area. The decision to close the courts this winter was not well-received by some of the players. We closed the courts at the suggestion of the company that built them.  The Commission always needs to balance individual needs or group needs with what is best for the town and the town properties for which we are responsible.  

Now that Town Meeting passed an article urging town boards and commissions to be more accessible and transparent, do you support holding hybrid meetings?

I support the town’s directive although I am not technology savvy when it comes to video meetings. The town is also looking for an human resources director, who I hope will provide guidance as we carry out this request. One thing that concerns me is the personal attacks that I have seen on social media after sharing public meetings videos and the disrespect shown to the people who volunteer in these roles — all of whom serve with the best intentions. Just so I am clear, I think it is good to share when we disagree. It is when it turns into attacks of the volunteers and disrespect of the office of which they serve that concerns me.

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