A controversy is brewing over who can run for board positions in a Plainfield youth sports league.
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On Nov. 12, Plainfield Junior Cats board members voted to change the bylaws, knocking seven candidates off the ballot, according to coach Dan Cassidy, who hoped to run for the director of equipment post.
PJC is a youth football, cheerleading and pom organization.
Cassidy said seven candidates were barred from running for various reasons, including the fact that some no longer have children who play for PJC. That was previously not a part of the bylaws, he said.
Board president Ron Muscato, who acknowledged that he himself no longer has a child in PJC, is not currently up for re-election.
“There are some questions of eligibility to run which are still trying to be worked out,” Muscato told Patch last month. At the time, he said it was yet to be determined whether the candidates in question would be able to run, and that the issue would be decided at the Dec. 10 meeting.
According to Cassidy, however, the candidates have since been informed that they are no longer on the ballot. That leaves seven of eight seats uncontested, he said.
Last month, when asked about whether the bylaws allowed candidates who no longer have children in the program, Muscato told Patch, "I couldn’t give you a 100 percent [answer]. It’s an interpretation of the bylaws,” he said. “It was brought up by some other board members — I couldn’t tell you exactly what the rationale is. Being board president, I’m kind of stuck in the middle here.”
Since the November meeting, Muscato said, "With the outpouring of people there, I tried to get both sides together." But he said the board majority remained in favor of altering the bylaws.
Cassidy said the board also voted to reduce the number of board members from 11 to just four: president, executive vice president, secretary and treasurer. Muscato, however, said that issue has yet to be decided.
“People could be elected [Dec. 10] and immediately lose their seat,” Cassidy said. He said he believes some members of the PJC board are trying to “stack the deck” and remove opposition from the board.
Cassidy also claims board members made motions to remove him and another former candidate — current vice president of in-house football Mike Decker — from their posts for allegedly violating the PJC code of ethics.
“Both him and I were slandered,” Cassidy said. “I was just shocked when all this went down. I’ve always had a great relationship with everyone at PJC … We’re not happy with the way PJC has gone in the last few years.”
Muscato acknowledged the turmoil on the board.
“What’s going on by both sides of the board is not good for the organization,” Muscato said last month.
According to Cassidy, the board's December open-session meeting is scheduled to be just 15 minutes long, from 6:30 to 6:45 p.m. Tuesday at Village Hall, 24401 W. Lockport St.
Immediately after that meeting, "the room will be cleared to allow the set up for the board election process," scheduled to start at 7 p.m., according to the PJC website, with doors closing at 9 p.m.
Cassidy said he has spoken with a lawyer and is hoping to secure an injunction to prevent the vote from taking place as scheduled.
"We're encouraging as many parents to come out to this meeting as possibly and let the board know they're not happy," he said.