Letter: Peck's Resignation to Plainfield Park Board

The notice was sent to Patch as a letter to the editor.

Credit: File photo
Credit: File photo

Dear Board of Commissioners,

Over the past month, I have been considering the future of the Park District and my presence as the Executive Director. I took this position in a controversial manner, which made it extremely difficult to function with the entire board and the community. I had a lot of great ideas that will not be able to move forward as a result. Some examples that have been accomplished are a huge savings on health insurance for employees, a shuttle bus with a wheelchair lift, plans for an indoor soccer facility, a new veteran’s program, and potential for over $1.5 million in additional revenue to expand services without raising taxes via billboards and cellphone tower leases. The most important to the community is the strong possibility of an indoor recreation center that may be functional within 3 years pending board approval.

I have become a lightning rod in the community over this position and have decided it is in the best interest for the Park District, Community, and the continued supporters of mine to pass the baton temporarily to Gene Coldwater, the Assistant Executive Director to take the reins until the board can choose a replacement. It is my hope that the new director receives full board support and is not aligned with any political circles. This is what is in the best interest of the Park District and the community. I was told by The Republican Party, that no matter how well the Park District did that it would not matter and they were correct. I also want to apologize to the local Republican Party which I dedicated countless hours and dedication building over the past six years.

Lastly, I want to recognize the most amazing staff that I have ever worked with. They are an amazing asset to the District. Cheryl Crisman, Gene Coldwater, Maureen Nugent, and Wendi Calabrese, it was an honor to work with you and I will never forget the things we accomplished.

I am not seeking any severance or payout from my contract.


Garrett Peck


Saluki January 23, 2014 at 08:06 PM
Garret first of all thank you for finally doing the right thing! However, all of your so called accomplishments pale in comparison to the harm you have caused the citizens and employees of the Plainfield Park District. Good employees like Cameron Bettin and James Less lost their jobs because of your arrogance. So quit apologizing to the Republican Party of which I am a member, and how about apologizing to Cameron Bettin, James Less and their families. I am not sure if your resignation was forced or not, but you certainly forced them to resign. It is my hope that Mr. Hurtado will follow you out the door along with his other 3 associates. I hope to see you at St. Mary's real soon and I hope it is in line for confession. Take your time in there and don't worry we will all gladly wait our turn as you look to repent. Finally, I really do hope that you find happiness in your life. Being a lightening rod for bad is not good for the soul. Anyway I hope happiness finds you, but in another town! As for Hurtado and the rest of his cronies like Reverend Booth, Mr. Steinys, and Ms. Silosky your table is ready! You are next!
Vicky Polito January 23, 2014 at 09:16 PM
Gee, Garrett, a whole month of consideration about the district’s future? Thanks! Out of curiosity, what were you focused on prior to four weeks ago, for the first eight months? Good ideas don’t have a sticker on them reading “property of Garrett Peck”. If there is an idea out there that is smart and doable, ANYONE who is a good parks director would be more than capable of bringing it to fruition. The problem with that warning shot you say the local Republican Party fired off is that the park district was NOT doing well under you—at all. It was rotting from within. So the idea that any such warning turned out to forecast a truth is nonsense. I doubt that sane, intelligent people of any party would tell you, about a public entity, that doing well wouldn’t matter. By the way, you had nothing but support for everything you pulled while at PTPD. Matter of fact, the three majority board members gave you so much support that they GAVE YOU A JOB. Then they voted as you instructed on every issue, even if you sometimes had to make them vote twice to get Jan Silosky back on her leash. You find room to apologize to the Republican Party while passive-aggressively scolding it for not appreciating you enough, but you can’t apologize to the residents or to board members you treated so shabbily? Not for anything? Here’s a tip: some of us grew up out this way and the Republican Party was already “built” to last. What you did was help build up the Democratic Party out here! I agree that the staff at PTPD is generally great, always was, but your work history really makes the praise a little fainter. This was the first staff, besides in campaigns, you ever had. No doubt they helped you tremendously but I bet they wish that you hadn’t needed so much help. It must have been exhausting. Saying that an indoor facility could be up in three years just emphasizes that you have no idea what you’re saying, no understanding of what such a thing actually requires. And, how about claiming, owning up to, your failures? Where’s the apology to the residents of this district for at the very least breaking the law and using your position and far too many tax dollars to punish innocent and decent people? That’s on your ledger, too, you know, Garrett Peck. As for severance or pay-outs, this is the rare time where “seek and yea shall find” wouldn’t pan out. Don’t pretend you’re a martyr to not ask for money you wouldn’t get. Even with this resignation, you show you care only about yourself and your fragile ego.
Plainfield Independent January 23, 2014 at 09:35 PM
Apologies to the local republican party but nothing to the residents. Most of the local republican party has said absolutely nothing either. Just goes to show where the priorities are here. I'm not a part of one party or the other. The majority of this local R group and those they support should be held accountable too - at the ballot box!
Chuck Bryan January 23, 2014 at 10:23 PM
I have lived in a variety of places, and can say that the Joliet-Plainfield-Will County area is far and away the most bizarre, weird, and dysfunctional at the political level (it's overall bizarre in general and I would definitely not advise anyone move here). A new board comes on and immediately makes a political hire (Peck), who has no experience or expertise with parks, all because they want to reward someone with patronage. Meanwhile, the professional park district person "resigns" and the parks and community loses a good person - the typical pattern of the good person being pushed out to make room for the friends and recipients of patronage, who inevitably are the bad people. Personal agendas are placed ahead of what's best for the community, parks, and children. The only conclusion one can make is that the elected officials in this region are psychopaths who don't care about people; only about their personal political agendas. Think of the money this situation - caused by the board and Peck - costs the taxpayers to fulfill their crazy and weird agendas (playground equipment, preschool programs, etc.).
Bad News Bears January 23, 2014 at 10:30 PM
Garrett, your letter of resignation shows your number one mistake. When handed this job, you should have looked at it like a resident of Plainfield, not a Republican. The PTPD is for the whole community whether Republican, Democrat, Conservative or Liberal. It should not be used as a political platform. Also, though you have hurt the Republican Party by being a part of it, you've hurt the lives of actual people more by firing them or eliminating their positions. Learn from this, man up, and either start being a decent human being or find a new home please
Larry Newton January 23, 2014 at 10:33 PM
Chuck Bryan - I have worked for the County of Will in a number of positions over the years. We don't hold a candle to the freakishness going on in Homer Township.
Vicki Knight January 23, 2014 at 11:33 PM
Saluki, Vicky Polito, Bad News Bears, I could not have said it better. I was having the same feeling reading the resignation letter, all that he did, where was the apology to the people of Plainfield, for all of the tax payer dollars that were spent, the way he treated his staff, to the ones who had the credentials to run the park district. What does the "lightening rod" have to do with anything? I got a chuckle out of your St. Mary's line, Saluki.
Bill Johnson January 23, 2014 at 11:43 PM
Well, I think a little more respect is in order for Garrett; he did the right thing. No matter how much his intentions are good, he went about it the wrong way. Working with people and coming to a consensus, not an "my way or the highway" operation. That's why the entire Plainfield community needs to be very careful of the political parties. There's more Peck's out there - he's not the only one.
Larry Newton January 23, 2014 at 11:53 PM
Bill, I'm confused. Garrett was a consensus builder? Have you actually read anything about what this guy has done in our community since he's been involved?
Vicki Knight January 23, 2014 at 11:57 PM
Yes Bill you are right, Garrett did do the right thing and resigned.
Bad News Bears January 24, 2014 at 12:08 AM
I'll save my respect for Larry, Mary Kay, and the staff at the PTPD who kept working hard for the residents of Plainfield against the dark side. And I'm not convinced Garrett "did the right thing" at all. A move like this from a narcissist like him reminds me of sacrificing your queen in chess
drez January 25, 2014 at 10:05 PM
BNB, yeah right.
Joe Schmo January 26, 2014 at 12:54 AM
Respect for Peck - for what - resigning before he was publicly shamed by getting fired for incompetence?


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