WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca’s new management team has hit a snag with its all-important base of volunteer workers.
Without a timely resolution, A&D Narigi, LLC, could struggle to operate the Monterey County-owned road course once large gatherings and major sporting events are allowed to resume following the statewide COVID-19 shutdown.
Named as the replacement for SCRAMP — the non-profit Sports Car Racing Association of the Monterey Peninsula — late in 2019, A&D Narigi expressed interest in retaining a significant portion of the hundreds who comprised SCRAMP’s volunteer base to continue in their various roles.
The former SCRAMP volunteers, united as the new Laguna Seca Volunteer Association group (LSVA) led by Dennis Farber, entered into negotiations with A&D Narigi in April.
“We are organizing a new volunteer association for 2020 and beyond,” Farber told the Monterey Herald on April 10. “Our returning experienced volunteers coupled with the many enthusiastic incoming volunteers will give us the right team of people to make the premiere events at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca the best they can be.”
In a letter sent by Farber Thursday morning to Monterey County assistant county administrative officer DeWayne Woods, who orchestrated the change from SCRAMP to A&D Narigi and directs the property on behalf of the county, the LSVA announced it has broken off talks with the county, and its chosen race track manager, after two months of unsuccessful negotiations:
To: Mr. Dwayne Woods
Subj: Termination of Contract Negotiations
Since January of this year the Laguna Seca Volunteer Association has attempted to negotiate a contract with the County of Monterey to provide volunteers to WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.
At the beginning of March A&D Narigi Consulting provided a proposed contract. There were many parts of the contract that were acceptable, however, there were others that were unacceptable. Many of the problem clauses were changed but others were not.
The wording of the County’s insurance requirement has made it impossible for us to obtain the required liability insurance. We have tried for the past two months to have this remedied with no success. In other areas we presented four or five alternatives, just to have them rejected. We have tried to come to a fair compromise but unfortunately these negotiations have reached an impasse.
It became apparent during these negotiations that there is a lack of understanding of volunteers and a lack of respect for the volunteers.
Because of these and other problems, the Directors of the Laguna Seca Volunteer Association have voted to end all negotiations for now to provide experienced volunteers to WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca. The Association would be open to fruitful discussions in the future if a true partnership could be agreed upon.
We wish the track success in the future.
Laguna Seca Volunteer Association Directors
John Narigi, president and general manager of WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, expressed surprise at the LSVA’s action, and indicated he still hoped an agreement could be reached.
“The letter from the Laguna Seca Volunteer Association came as a surprise to us, as I believed we were very close to completing the agreement,” Narigi said. “We were working through the insurance matters to everyone’s satisfaction and with final minor points still under discussion.
“Since then, I have been actively involved in writing the safety and health protocols so we can begin reopening the facility to private track rentals, which was allowed June 1. The final draft of the Volunteer Association agreement was to go out by mid-month. I am still hopeful that an agreement can be reached. As you can imagine the COVID-19 situation has caused additional work that has affected many aspects of this business.”
The circuit lists the August 8-9 Rolex Monterey Pre-Reunion as its first post-shutdown event where a sizable body of volunteers would be required to facilitate the gathering.