A full house including five former East Fork Swimming Pool District board members came expecting conflict, but instead offered congratulations when Swim Center Director Kirk Chiapella announced his resignation this morning.
"This has been a marvelous experience," he said. "Over the past six weeks I've had people phone me or mysterious people come up to me and express their support. There aren't too many directors who've lasted 24 years."
Reports were that the board intended to dismiss Chiapella over disagreements on the management of the swim center.
Original pool board member Judy Williams said Chiapella was responsible for the success of the pool.
"This pool is this pool because of Kirk," she said. "Kirk, I'm sorry to see you go, you've been such a good steward for the taxpayers."
Carmen Bowman said she appreciated how Chiapella worked with the high school students and the Douglas Dolfins Swim Team over the years.
Gardnerville resident Mark Gonzales said he remembered the old pool in the center of town and what an improvement the swim center was.
"I think Kirk has done a tremendous job," he said. "I'm dismayed he has decided to retire."
Resident John Dorf said that when he and his wife travel, one of the first things they do when they're going to be somewhere for a period of time is find the pool.
"This pool is the gold standard against which we measure those," he said. "This will be a tremendous loss for the county."
Longtime former pool board member Suzy Stockdale said the pool contributes to Carson Valley's quality of life.
"I live two minutes from the pool," she said. "I've talked to people who moved here because of the pool. We put our trust in Kirk and he has been a good steward to this incredible addition to our quality of life."
Resident Bill Hamilton said that while he and Chiapella had conflicts in the past he felt the director had done an excellent job.
Not everyone was sorry to see Chiapella go. Resident Nancy Clapp said she opposed renewing Chiapella's contract.
Board members accepted Chiapella's retirement effective Dec. 31 and voted him an additional year of retirement benefits in appreciation of his service.
Chiapella has been director of the pool since 1988, just prior to its actual opening.
The pool has pioneered use of ultraviolet light to reduce bacteria.
The $2.4 million pool center opened in April 1989. On Thursday, board member Patricia Brumner reported there was $2.8 million in an investment fund for the pool.