What in God's green earth is going on at the Plainfield Park District?
So often lately, people who know me and know I have been an active community member say to me "Boym that Plainfield Park District is really screwed up, isn't it?" Wow, I have to say, "it sure is."
The Garrett Peck resignation is welcome but only the first step in the repairs that need to be made at the Plainfield Park District. The Board Members who put him there and will likely choose the next director are still in the majority. This Board Majority has now fired all of the former leadership who really knew about managing a Park District. AND they have virtually ignored the two board members with the most experience in the process.
Now we have the Labor Board finding. The Plainfield Park District board majority has to take responsibility for putting the park district in that position by hiring Garrett Peck. One has to wonder how much they knew about these actions or whether they condoned the behavior.
When one takes on the responsibility of being elected to a Board in our community, that responsibility is to represent all of the people in our community. All of our boards are "NON PARTISAN." Park Board, School Board, Library Board, Village Board are all 'NON PARTISAN." To me that has always meant that board members represent all of the taxpayers in the community. And for Parks and Schools especially, that means the children of our community take THE priority.
The current Park District majority has a new policy limiting the people who have come to speak to the board at their meetings. Most recently that speaking has been critical. Until the next election there is only one avenue for taxpayers to express their displeasure with any given board in our community. That is to stand up at a meeting and tell their story or voice their opinion. That ability is now limited greatly by this new policy. It is also limited by the gavel of the Park Board President who has already had people removed from their meeting by the police department. The people removed care about their parks and good government.
Having said the above, it seems pretty disingenuous for the current majority of the Park Board to be openly critical of previous boards. I personally cannot remember the need for a police officer at a Park Board meeting nor anyone having to be removed in my almost 40 years in the community. That does not mean that everyone was always happy. What it means was that those previous boards had a respect for their taxpayers and listened to what they had to say. They listened even when those residents did not agree.
The board majority, when elected, promised transparency and conservative financial views. It seems that they have friends and family being hired at the park district, separation contracts being written and contracts being split up to stay under bidding rules. Most, if not all of these actions happening without any public discussion. Transparency, REALLY? When are we really going see what is going on inside OUR Park District. The discussion of fund balances that have been made public seem to show that there may be about half of the contingency fund left in the bank. OH, that was savings built up by those previous boards who were supposedly not transparent nor conservative. I think we all now know which is which.
With all of the damage done, where does that leave our community now? I believe in a very bad place. What all this means in the larger picture is the question. Who is going to come and work for this Board Majority? Are the top qualified Park District Executive Director applicants going to even consider working in Plainfield? I think not until the majority changes.
Call to action. People of our Plainfield community please pay attention to what is going on at the Plainfield Park District. Please attend meetings and tell your neighbors about the goings on at the PPD. When elections come around, know the candidates and make informed decisions. Know that Mary and Larry have been fighting for you! This is YOUR park district. You have paid for it over the years. Peter Hurtado and company seem to think it belongs to them. Most recently the people being served by the Park Board Majority actions are the friends of the majority.
The Park District was formed so many years ago to serve the people of our community. The Plainfield Park District needs to get back to that important work.
Plainfield Township Resident