A Gilbert youth football league was told to get its act together and find some new leadership if it wants to improve its rocky relationship with the town.
The Town Council voted 6-0 Tuesday to back up a previous decision not to admit Top Flight Football into the Gilbert Sports Coalition. The coalition is a group of youth sports organizations that have priority when reserving town-owned athletic fields.
“To the board of Top Flight, you better get your act together or you’re going to be out,” Councilman Les Presmyk said following two hours of discussion.
Several parents told the council of their negative experiences with the league’s owners, Tom and Carla Miller, including claims that Tom Miller has been verbally abusive.
The league has been put on probation twice by the parks and recreation board because of “code of conduct violations of behavioral standards” by Tom Miller.
Miller apologized at the meeting to “everyone I may have offended” and urged the council not to punish the league of 1,000 youth players for his behavior.
“I have acted like a bull in a china shop,” he said.
The ongoing feud between Top Flight and town officials sparked a recall campaign last week against Councilwoman Linda Abbott, who had attempted to mediate discussions in recent weeks.
But that recall drive was called off last night. “I will rescind the recall petition tomorrow,” said Michael Mullen, president of Concerned Parents for Youth Sports, the political committee formed by Top Flight parents to sponsor the recall.
Mullen said the recall was intended to be a “wake-up call” to the council to let them know his group believed the youth players in Top Flight Football were being penalized because of council members’ personal feelings toward the Millers.
Top Flight is still able to use town-owned athletic fields. But the group is lumped in with 28 other groups in the town’s “fifth priority,” meaning the league gets whatever is left after the youth leagues in the sports coalition have secured fields for their use.