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Rye Considers Outsourcing Whitby Castle Management

Rye may solicit bids for an outside company to take over management of Whitby Castle after the restaurant has experienced loss of revenue.
Rye may solicit bids for an outside company to take over management of Whitby Castle after the restaurant has experienced loss of revenue. Photo Credit: The Daily Voice File Photo

RYE, N.Y. -- Rye officials are considering having an outside company take over management of the Whitby Castle restaurant at the Rye Golf Club.

The restaurant and club are under the management of the city. The club is run through enterprise funds, which means that the city owns the property and oversees its operations in an advisory capacity, but all of its costs are paid for through membership dues and fees instead of taxpayer money.

The club has come under increased scrutiny recently since former general manager Scott Yandrasevich was accused of misappropriating funds over the course of eight years. He was also accused of having a conflict of interest with the club's staffing agency. The city created the Rye Golf Club Strategic Commission last year to help create new financial models for the club and to institute a series of checks and balances for its management.

The restaurant opened in March and has lost about $60,000 to $70,000 in revenue compared to last year, according to City Manager Scott Pickup. Part of that is due to the late opening, he said, and the restaurant is seeing improvements in its expenses. Revenues for the golf course and pool are within expectations.

The Strategic Committee has considered putting out a request for proposals for another company to come in and take over the management of the restaurant. Mayor Doug French compared it to the recent deal with Sustainable Playland Inc. to take over management of Rye Playland.

"Government should not be running amusement parks, and that's why we went out for an RFP for Playland to see what it would bear, and now we have a great plan in place for Playland. I don't think government should be running restaurants," French said. "Government does not have the structure in place to oversee the operation of wedding and meals and all the things you need a place to do effectively."

Other members of the commission believe that the city should wait and see how the restaurant does financially this year and possibly sent out requests next year. The commission will discuss the idea at its next meeting and decide if it wants to solicit bids for the restaurant.

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