Answer the Question Peck: Observations and Thoughts

The past few days have been quite a rollercoaster of a ride for the residents of Plainfield.  While I wanted to write my comments as a tongue-in-check commentary on the many gaffes, fallacies, and buffoonery that we’ve seen come out of the much admired (sarcasm) Plainfield Park District (PPD), the latest headlines announcing yet another scandal, stopped me from doing so.

Instead, I will endeavor to address the most egregious of issues that now face the Plainfield Park District.

A finding against the Plainfield Park District via the Illinois Labor Relations Board:

1.       The Illinois Labor Relations Board (ILRB) announced a finding against The Plainfield Park District. The finding indicated that Peck retaliated against an employee who was speaking out in regards to potential unionization of PPD employees. This employee was subsequently fired from his position at the PPD.
That employee, Joel Schumaker filed a complaint with the ILRB. An investigation followed, and was substantiated due to a NON-Response from the PPD.

2.       Let us look at why the PPD lost its case. The PPD was notified that a case was pending before the ILRB. There should be no doubt that the PPD was made aware of said case and ordered that its attorney look into, and respond to the complaint.  Also, there should be no doubt that Peck or Hurtado discussed this case with the attorney. Because as stewards of the PPD, it is the charge of the executives to ensure that all legal matters are handled quickly and to minimize any potential losses to the PPD.

3.       According to the ruling from the ILRB, NO RESPONSE was filed on behalf of the PPD.  The PPD and its agents had 15 days to respond to the complaint. The exact wording in the original complaint from the ILRB is as follows:  “it must file an answer to the complaint and serve a copy thereof upon the Charging Party within 15 days of the service of the complaint upon it...”
In laymen’s terms this means that the PPD had 15 days, not calendar, or otherwise to respond to the ILRB. Why then, are the attorneys for the PPD arguing over what constituted the actual 15 days. Calendar or working days, as attorneys for the PPD, they had a duty to their clients (PPD) and we, the taxpayers to do their jobs.  They did not. And therefore, we, the taxpayers are again paying for the gross mismanagement of the PPD at the hands of Peck.

4.       The PPD should demand an answer from their attorneys. What stopped the attorneys from filing a timely response to a complaint? Whose idea was it to delay the response? Did Peck or another board member not forward the complaint to legal counsel in a timely manner? If the board states that they were not complicit in delaying the response, then the board should move to file a complaint against its attorneys with the Illinois Attorney Registration & Disciplinary Commission (ARDC).  You will find the basis for a complaint with the ARDC under Rule 1.3 and 1.4 http://www.iardc.org/rulesprofconduct.html#Rule%201.3    





Executive Director Peck announces that The Plainfield Patch is no longer considered a, ‘legitimate news outlet’

Recently, Garrett Peck announced in his infinite wisdom, that the PPD will cut-off communication with The Plainfield Patch. Peck, citing amongst all things, that district officials did not agree with its coverage of recent issues. I can only surmise what those ‘issues’ must have been. If there have been any ‘issues’ they come at the making of Peck and the fearless followers he surrounds himself with.  

But key amongst all of Mr. Peck’s recent shining media moments has been his announcement that The Patch no longer qualified as a ‘legitimate news outlet’.  I was not aware that Mr. Peck had the educational training to render such an important decision for the people of Plainfield. My question to Mr. Peck would be, if not The Patch, then how would he disseminate information to the public?  The Patch, by its own definition is a hyper-local news outlet that specifically targets the people of Plainfield. Would Mr. Peck make public statements/information only available on those news channels he deems worthy? How did Mr. Peck become qualified to make those decisions for the people of Plainfield, and by extension the PPD?  Would Mr. Peck then use the Plainfield Parks District’s website as the source of all public information? And if so, being as magnanimous as he is, would he allow for free and full public disclosure on said website?

Of course, he would. Peck is all about free and full disclosure. Those lawsuits against those who spoke out against him; don’t worry about that. Don’t worry about being told not to unionize. Don’t worry about speaking out against Peck or Hurtado.  Peck would never dream of infringing on your first amendment rights.

On a final note:

When Peck attacked The Patch as a non-legitimate news outlet it struck me as disingenuous to the extreme. Here is a man whose qualifications to be the executive director of the PPD have always been in question. With no discernable experience to run a park district, he was appointed.  Yet, he chooses to call into question the qualifications of the staff at The Patch. Let’s compare than, shall we.
Shannon Antinori – Double major: English and Journalism
Joe Hosey – Published author, has been a reporter since 1998. I’m sure that Joe appreciates that especially considering that he’s facing going to jail trying to protect a news source. But nah, he’s not legit either.
Bud Rosenthal, CEO of The Patch - The intrepid leader of Patch reporters has an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. (Maybe you should call and tell Bud that you don’t deem The Patch a legit news outlet)

Mr. Peck, if you’re reading this, I would go on, but I don’t want to embarrass you more than you should already be.

Vicky Polito January 23, 2014 at 12:20 AM
From the agenda for this Friday’s meeting I’m betting that the next move is to completely blame the attorneys (I think this is Rock, Fusco?), probably fire one set and maybe hire another, saying that the only reason Peck and Coldwater couldn’t properly defend their actions was the inept legal reps (who, foolishly I think, do fall on the sword in this document). They probably hope that statement will let them deflect getting around to explaining the details of what an “on time” defense would be. The attempt will be to keep the focus on “who couldn’t count to 15?”. But, there’s another possibility: the lawyers didn’t have anything to use for a defense of the actions against Mr. Schumaker because the PTPD has NO documentation of a legit firing for cause to put forth as a defense, so the lawyers maybe could have sent a response, but it would have been like a blank sheet of paper and would still amount to that defacto admission of guilt because they had nothing to back up a claim of no wrong-doing. So, they just sort of hoped they could skate by and stall, ask for that extension, push the inevitable off a while more. Also, the wording of the labor board’s ruling makes clear in one more way that 15 days means 15 days: they tell you the count starts three days after they sent the PTPD their request for a response and then they mention that if the last day of that 15 day count falls on a weekend or holiday—only and specifically the last day of the 15—that you get one or more extra days tacked on to get you to a weekday response. Any lawyer can tell you it was a string of 15 days, including at least one weekend.
Bill Thomas January 23, 2014 at 04:27 PM
I have been reading the string of mis steps the board and he who shall not be named, have had since last summer. I wish I was more informed and involved but ... How much longer do we have to deal with this?! Is there a way to do a recall and make a change before this goes any further. No offense.


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