Peck Resigns from Plainfield Park District

In his resignation letter, Peck apologized to the local Republican party, and also said he will not seek payout of his contract.

Plainfield Park District Executive Director Garrett Peck has resigned, effective immediately. In his resignation letter, he said he will not seek severance pay or payout for his three-year contract.

Park board commissioner Larry Newton confirmed the resignation Thursday afternoon on WJOL.

Peck submitted a resignation letter saying he has become a "lightning rod" in the community and it would be best if he stepped away from the position.

Assistant Executive Director Gene Coldwater will become interim executive director.

WJOL's Kevin Kollins asked Newton if Cameron Bettin, who was originally hired for the job, could possibly return to the park district. Bettin, who had been demoted to the assistant executive director job, resigned last month.

"I can't imagine Cameron would ever want to come back under these circumstances," Newton said.

Commissioner Mary Kay Ludemann was also on Kollins' show, saying, "I was never in favor of demoting [Bettin] to begin with." She added that she did not believe Peck was qualified for the role.

Peck's letter noted that he "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."

He cited accomplishments including a "huge savings on health insurance for employees," a shuttle bus with wheelchair lift and plans for an indoor soccer facility.

Peck, who is also a Village of Plainfield trustee, went on to say:

"It is my hope that the new director receives full board support and is not aligned with any political circles," adding, "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."

Peck's letter also acknowledged park district staff including Coldwater, Director of Recreation Cheryl Crisman, Director of Finance and Management Services Maureen Nugent and Executive Assistant Wendi Calabrese.

Check back for more details as they become available.


Vicky Polito January 23, 2014 at 10:33 PM
Larry--I just went over to the Trib website and their article on the Peck resignation quotes her, it sounds like just today, since the story broke.
Saluki January 23, 2014 at 10:33 PM
Is it still possible to name the pooper scooper portion of the new dog park after Mr. Peck? I truly believe he deserves this honor and it would be a good way to mark his tenure as Executive Director!
Ericus Alanas January 23, 2014 at 10:33 PM
Vicky as a testament to your pure stamina and willpower to overcome these tough times, I would hope someday you run for a position. I am not sure of your qualifications, but you have awoken many who understand what quality and controls are needed to be put in place.
Vicki Knight January 23, 2014 at 10:39 PM
Larry, with you and Mary in the minority, you didn't have a chance. I totally agree that the struggle isn't over for you guys. But hopefully it helps to know that you have the community behind you.
Vicky Polito January 23, 2014 at 10:39 PM
Well, that flattering, but honestly, I was so NOT alone that it was actually not a lot of work for me, individually. Sure, I had days I was angry and frustrated and even a little blue, but many good people in the community took pieces of work on because they all value their home town and their district and together, as a strong community, we did our best and will no doubt do our best. And, nobody--especially me--wants to see me run for anything, ever. I don't have that skill set, and I've got work I love, already. I've never believed that stuff about how just being a citizen participating wasn't as good as being a candidate or an office holder. It's not true and the ordinary citizen can do much without ever being on a ballot.
Jimmy Parks January 23, 2014 at 10:40 PM
Here, here Ericus!!!
Chuck Bryan January 23, 2014 at 10:53 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.).
Ernie Knight January 23, 2014 at 11:02 PM
Mr. Peck leaving does not entirely solve the problem. His hiring was a manifestation of a pattern of activity by the Board majority. That Board majority is intact and there is no indication that their pattern of activity has changed.
Plainfield Independent January 23, 2014 at 11:09 PM
Larry - You are not the only person with comments being removed. If I was a guessing person, I would say someone is still playing the game of flagging comments. The attempts of censorship on free speech is disturbing.
Vicky Polito January 23, 2014 at 11:10 PM
Larry--maybe someone clicked on, perhaps accidentally, on the "Flag as Inappropriate" link, which sends it out of legal harms way until the editor can review it. Shannon will fix the mistake when she sees it. Maybe not until tomorrow since it's late, though.
Larry Newton January 23, 2014 at 11:13 PM
My bad. I made a comment on another story that I thought was posted here.
Bill Johnson January 23, 2014 at 11:37 PM
Notice the mention of the Republican party in Peck's comments. Bottom line is that he also helped ruin the Republican party; He's extreme tea party - and the good Republicans had left.
Larry Newton January 23, 2014 at 11:41 PM
Amen, Bill!
Larry Newton January 23, 2014 at 11:45 PM
Rosie, I think you need to be a little more informed before you post such comments.
bill witherspoon January 24, 2014 at 12:12 AM
How can I be flagged for loving this song? Na na na na, Na na na na, hey hey hey..GOODBYE!!!!!!
Tim January 24, 2014 at 02:41 AM
Ernie, We have had our differences in the past, but I would like to say I was very pleased to see your name in the list of people who spoke out about this appointment at the time it happened. I would have mentioned it at the time, but as you are probably aware, I was busy with something else at the time. You took the evidence available to you, and were able to change your position in a rational manner. And you deserve to be commended for that, and I hope that you will be.
Tim January 24, 2014 at 03:12 AM
People, please do not flag comments you do not agree with. Rosie has just as much right to speak as anyone, and now I see it has been removed since I last looked. Flagging to remove a comment simply because you disagree with it is not how the system was designed to work. Abuse of that system is still abuse, no matter who it comes from. The editor now gets to work more because of your trivial flagging, whoever you are. She does enough behind the scenes that goes unappreciated as it is, why add to it? At least send her a note or email showing you are aware that you are causing someone to spend more of their valuable time on those actions.
Randy Wayne January 24, 2014 at 07:53 AM
This whole thing kind of reminds me of my HOA several years ago. After the builder turned the HOA over to the residents, very few showed up at the first HOA meeting to elect a board. As a result, a greedy, corrupt few made a power grab and shortly after, started implementing some "changes" that left everyone else bewildered and angry. The next few HOA meetings were attended by HUNDREDS of people but the damage had been done. It took a couple of years for evidence of embezzlement to be uncovered and a couple of years after to clean house. Incredibly, NOBODY was EVER arrested despite evidence and admission of guilt. The good news is that the money ($50k!) was eventually paid back and our HOA has been in good hands and corruption free for the past few years. Hopefully, Plainfield will be corruption free and in good hands as well in the near future.
John Tips January 24, 2014 at 08:29 AM
I myself am a firm believer that a true administrator needs no special qualification to perform the duties of management. Having served in the military myself, management of personnel and equipment is an accepted fact as one develops their managerial skills. The argument that somebody is not qualified serves no real purpose other then a political attack. Understandably however, if you do not have the support of your subordinates and upper echelons, your performance will cannot be optimal at your level.
Stella Reese January 24, 2014 at 09:21 AM
A great many of us begged this board not to hire Garrett, knowing all too well that he was thoroughly ill-equipped for the demands of the job. Three out of five of the board members ignored us, and our apprehensions have now been fulfilled. Perhaps now they will acknowledge that the constituents have a voice, and as elected officials it is their job to hear and heed it. If they cannot accept that truth, they need to go.
Frank January 24, 2014 at 09:53 AM
John, what you say is 100% true and I agree with you on that. However, as I've said all along, it is not so much the things that were done, but the methods by which they were done, that alienated the public.
Bad News Bears January 24, 2014 at 09:59 AM
John Tips, the problem was that Peck was not a true administrator. He was unqualified at every level for that job and it cost the taxpayers money and hard workers their jobs
Dennis January 24, 2014 at 10:02 AM
To think that Hurtado was a candidate for an Illinois senate seat. Yikes!
Jimmy Parks January 24, 2014 at 10:20 AM
@Muvin on, Double-yikes, he still hasn't resigned from the park District board yet! Maybe today is the day he does that, to make everyone's weekend good.
John January 24, 2014 at 10:24 AM
wishful thinking Jimmy, he's trying to suck up to us all now: http://plainfield.patch.com/groups/politics-and-elections/p/plainfield-park-officials-reaction-to-pecks-resignation
Joki2 January 24, 2014 at 01:10 PM
Politics at its finest!!! Peck will probably end up holding some top position in a low profile assignment somewhere in Plainfield.
Buckgrove January 24, 2014 at 06:25 PM
TB Plfd January 24, 2014 at 08:08 PM
thank you for stepping down Mr. Peck it was the right thing to do and please do not run for any more public office because when you loose again, no one wants to her you cry again how the patch comments hurt your chance of winning.
Kevin S January 24, 2014 at 08:32 PM
Yet another rookie mistake! Not taking the $$? Garrett, don't be stupid...well, anyway...your political career could be over, not likely but it could happen. If the tea baggers take you under their wing, you run another day & no one cares that you took the $$. If they throw you to the wolves & you have get a real job, no one cares if you took the $$. Welcome to Chicagoland!
camaro1 January 24, 2014 at 11:03 PM
What's up John did your little buddy finally do the right thing by resigning and now you are upset with this? He has no experience in any management position, if you think having your own little business makes him have the experience you must not have been any good management either.


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