Kyle Parks Director resigns

Accusations of bullying by a Kyle city leader could be the reason longtime Kyle Parks and Recreation Director Kerry Urbanowicz abruptly resigned his post in late July, according to some residents.

While Kyle is now searching for its next Parks Director, Urbanowicz said in a statement he intends to stay on until Kyle finds his replacement. 

“I plan to stay on with the City of Kyle to ensure a smooth transition with a new PARD director, whomever that may be. My goal is to pass along any history and information that will help that person be successful and continue the good work we’ve done,” Urbanowicz said.

While details of Urbanowicz’ departure are not fully known at this time, several residents point to a terse back-and-forth debate between him and council member Rick Koch at a mid-July city council meeting as a reason for the resignation. Originally, Kyle city leaders met July 9 to discuss and break down the cause of a malfunction at the city’s July 4 fireworks show.

The discussion soon turned to the contractual length of the fireworks show, which Koch alleged had been shifted.

Koch questioned Urbanowicz on whether he breached an existing contract with the vendor for an Independence Day Fireworks show and asked Urbanowicz whether or not he ordered a shorter 15-minute display, instead of a 30-minute program that had been in the contract.

During the meeting, Koch said Urbamowicz was the only city official with the authority to shorten the show and then alleged Urbanowicz had been pushing to do so for months.

“At this point, regardless of the mishap, it looks like a breach of contract,” Koch said. “I mean, I’m just playing investigative reporter here, trying to find out.”

Urbanowicz denied Koch’s accusations. The length of the program was not a cause for the technical issues that occurred July 4. The Hays Free Press reached out to Urbanociwz for comment on this story, but he declined an interview request.

However, several citizens spoke during public comment at a mid-July city council meeting to complain about Koch’s open questioning of Urbanowicz.

“I would like to say that I am utterly ashamed and rather horrified at how one of our valuable employees was treated at your last meeting,” said resident Lila Knight. “It’s fine to ask questions and offer criticism and even find solutions, but we should not ever tolerate anyone being bullied by the dais.”

Urbanowicz denied all claims and has made no comment on the matter since, nor has he clarified where he will be going next or what he will be doing.

According to the city, Urbanowicz has lived in Kyle with his wife since at least 1980.

Before working as a staff member, Urbanowicz served on the Kyle Parks Board and the Kyle Planning and Zoning Commission from 1994 to 2003.

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