The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.
Over the past nine months, good men and women in our community have spoken out against numerous abuses of power and unethical - and now perhaps even illegal - behavior at the Plainfield Park District.
Since their “election” to the board last spring (they were the only candidates after petition challengers knocked all opposition out of the race), commissioners Peter Steinys and Janet Silosky, along with board president Peter Hurtado, quickly began decimating our park district from the inside.
Hurtado, Silosky, Steinys and Garrett Peck, a grossly unqualified political crony the new park board majority appointed as executive director, soon began systematically destroying the lives of talented, experienced staff members through character assassination, intimidation and even loss of their careers.
Since the foursome’s reign of terror began, what’s left of our park district’s dedicated and cooperative staff has been forced to work in a toxic atmosphere clouded by fear and suspicion.
How was this allowed to happen? Sadly, voter apathy paved the way for a group of self-serving, mean-spirited politicians to wreak havoc at our park district. Although Plainfield’s village, school, fire, library and park district boards are deemed nonpartisan, Hurtado, Steinys, Silosky and Peck chose to use the Plainfield Park District as a proving ground for their radical brand of politics.
Early on, some members of the foursome’s political party bravely spoke out against the damaging slash-and-burn tactics being used at the park district. But others remained silent until growing public outcry – and now, Mr. Hurtado’s unsupported claims that he has been a victim of racism – forced them to take a stand.
Over the past months, I have joined friends and neighbors of all political stripes who have repeatedly called for park district officials to serve their constituents with honesty and integrity, rather than to pursue their own, or their political party’s, self interests.
Thankfully, Mr. Peck has since resigned his post as executive director. As for the “board majority,” our voices seem to have fallen on deaf ears.
But our park district cannot survive much longer under the willful mismanagement of this group. So, I will repeat the call that is sounding across our community: Please, Mr. Hurtado, Mr. Steinys and Mrs. Silosky, resign from the board to help save the park district you claim to love and pledged to serve.
Only then, with residents’ unwavering support, ethical public servants such as commissioners Larry Newton and Mary Kay Ludemann can begin the difficult task of rebuilding our park district and restoring the spirit of trust and cooperation that once existed there.
It is my hope that all good citizens, regardless of their political leanings, will pledge to work together to build a better community – by stating, loudly and clearly, that mean-spirited, divisive partisan politics are not welcome here.