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Plainfield Park Board President Apologizes for Peck's Letter

Peter Hurtado said Peck's decision to reject Plainfield Patch as a "legitimate media outlet" is not in "keeping with the standard of respectful communication that we all need to live by."

Plainfield Park District Executive Director Garrett Peck
Plainfield Park District Executive Director Garrett Peck
Updated at 9:15 p.m. Jan. 21:

Tuesday afternoon, park board president reacted to the email from Peck, issuing an apology on behalf of the park district, calling Patch "an open space where anyone can contribute their opinions without fear of censorship."

He gave Patch permission to publish the text of the email:

"I am writing you today to apologize personally, and on behalf of the Plainfield Park District, for the recent email exchange you had with our Executive Director, Garrett Peck. His remarks were uncalled for and in no way keeping with the standard of respectful communication that we all need to live by.

Public service brings with it the scrutiny of concerned residents and the media. This obligation to public accountability cannot be taken for granted. The Patch is an open space where anyone can contribute their opinions without fear of censorship. This is a worthy mission and one consistent with the free exchange of ideas upon which government must operate. I find it to be a valuable forum when posting my own messages to the people of this district.

Again, I am sorry for the tone of your earlier conversation. I want you to know that maintaining civility and respect in our organization is very important to me. ... I hope that we may continue to engage on issues of local importance in the future.

Sincerely,

Peter Hurtado

Board President

Plainfield Park District"

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Original story:

The Plainfield Township Park District will no longer recognize Plainfield Patch as a "legitimate media outlet" because district officials do not like its coverage of recent district issues, Executive Director Garrett Peck said Tuesday.

In a letter emailed to Plainfield Patch Editor Shannon Antinori, Peck announced that senior district staff had unanimously decided they would "discontinue communications with the Plainfield Patch until further notice."

"This decision has been made as a result of, 1) Reviewing media coverage done by the Plainfield Patch and comparing the way the same stories have been presented by other media outlets; 2) The comment policy as well as the enforcement discretion," Peck wrote.

"The Plainfield Patch has become a blog with some helpful information about the community, and we hope that in the future the comment policy/enforcement will be revised as well as the presentation of stories."

Peck, who is also a Plainfield Village Board trustee, added that the decision to cut off communication with the online news site, which is owned by the media company AOL, does not apply to the park board members or president, who "may have their own opinions and make comments to the Plainfield Patch."

In closing, Peck added a personal note: "The statement I will make without consulting with staff is for you to find another fish to fry, the Park District is no longer your piñata."

After sending the initial letter, Peck also sent a text message to Antinori in which he emphasized the decision was not his alone, and, in another email, said, "I hope you find happiness."

Plainfield Patch has been covering the ongoing issues and personnel changes that have occurred since Peter Hurtado was named board president and Peck subsequently appointed district director.

In the ensuing months, the park board has made numerous changes, including updating the park district's public comment policy and terminating a lease agreement with St. John Lutheran Church.

Staffing changes have including hiring new Director of Communications Doug Booth and firing Public Information Coordinator Marianne Ryan.

Last month, Assistant Executive Director Cameron Bettin and Landscape Architect James Less resigned, and Peck said in a release those positions would not be filled. Since then, longtime employee Gene Coldwater has been promoted to the assistant executive director post.

    Also read:

  • Plainfield Park District Treasurer Named Director of Communications
  • It's Official: Park Board Votes to Make Peck Executive Director
  • Plainfield Park District Fires Public Information Coordinator
  • Mayhem January 22, 2014 at 11:45 PM
    This is the time to strike folks. We all need to talk to anyone who will listen. Neighbors, co-workers, anyone and everyone. Let people know whats going on in their own backyard. Believe it or not, there are people that don't know and don't understand whats going on within the PD. Stop Hurtado, Peck, Syeinys, and Silosky from being in any other government positions. Please take a look at this. You will see that they are all running for precinct-committeeman in March. Stop this nonsense and stop these clowns in their tracks. You will see that some are running unopposed. Don't let this happen again Plainfield. http://plainfield.patch.com/groups/announcements/p/precinct-committeeman
    Mayhem January 22, 2014 at 11:48 PM
    This is the time to strike folks. We all need to talk to anyone who will listen. Neighbors, co-workers, anyone and everyone. Let people know whats going on in their own backyard. Believe it or not, there are people that don't know and don't understand whats going on within the PD. Stop Hurtado, Peck, Syeinys, and Silosky from being in any other government positions. Please take a look at this. You will see that they are all running for precinct-committeeman in March. Stop this nonsense and stop these clowns in their tracks. You will see that some are running unopposed. Don't let this happen again Plainfield. http://plainfield.patch.com/groups/announcements/p/precinct-committeeman
    Tim January 23, 2014 at 01:27 AM
    This exists. http://plainfield.patch.com/blogs/garrett-pecks-blog
    Vicky Polito January 23, 2014 at 09:22 AM
    Don’t forget folks, special meeting scheduled of PTPD board for tomorrow, Friday, 6p at the Heritage Professional Center (old Midwest Bank at Illinois and Lockport intersection, back entrance, downstairs). See PTPD website for agenda. There is a public comment portion, but the only action will be to go to closed session, then reconvene and take any action stemming from closed session (they are required to vote/take a decision in view of the public on any issue). So, it may not be very interesting from the perspective of what the public can “witness” BUT, it might be pretty interesting to see how much of the public this board and Peck have to “witness” showing up! See link for info: www.plainfieldparkdistrict.com/about-board.asp.
    J. Hagen January 23, 2014 at 11:28 AM
    I will attend and am more than willing to participate with others in any action that will get rid of this mess. It is extremely harmful to the village I love.

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