Plainfield Park District Agrees to Pay Former Employee $8,960

Trustees approved the deal at the board's March 4 meeting.

Credit: File photo
Credit: File photo
The Plainfield Park District Board of Commissioners last week signed off on a settlement agreement with a former park district maintenance staffer, to the tune of $8,960.

That's how much the park district will pay ex-employee Joel Schumaker after  the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Council 31 filed a complaint on his behalf with the Illinois Labor Relations Board last fall.

According to the agreement, which was obtained by Patch through a Freedom of Information Act request, the amount represents 16 weeks of Schumaker's wages. The staffer was fired in November after allegedly being disciplined by former Executive Garrett Peck for talking to coworkers about signing union cards.

The park board approved the settlement at its March 4 meeting, following a Jan. 9 ruling by the Illinois Labor Relations Board (ILRB) that that the park district had violated state labor law.

The ruling, which came after the park district's labor attorney failed to respond to the AFSCME complaint by a 15-day deadline, found that  Peck, who has since resigned, and current Interim Executive Director Gene Coldwater had interrogated Schumaker and a coworker regarding their union activity.

Under the agreement, the park district states that it will not challenge Schumaker's unemployment claim, and will remove any reference to his discipline and termination from his personnel file.

The agreement also includes a clause banning Schumaker from making disparaging comments about the park district, its trustees or staff.

Under the deal, the park district does not have to post a notice to staff regarding the alleged labor law violations, which was part of the labor board's original ruling.

"AFSCME, its agents and Mr.Schumaker agree that they will not seek to enforce the notice posting provision," the pact states, going on to say that both sides "agree and acknowledge that this agreement is not and shall not be used as, or construed to be, an admission of liability of any kind or nature ..." by either party.

The labor board's January ruling had ordered the park district to offer Schumaker full reinstatement of his job, but under the new pact, the former employee has agreed to resign from the park district.

The pact also prohibits Schumaker and the AFSCME from disclosing the terms of the deal to any third party, including agreeing not to "post, blog or email ... such information using the Internet or any social media website."

Vicky Polito March 16, 2014 at 12:48 AM
That's the irony. No one employed at the district was much interested in unionizing until Hurtado, Silosky, and Steinys made the unethical and stoned-stupid move of putting Peck and Booth in place for a lot more than the seven cents they're worth put together. Then, once Peck botched management so badly that staff sought to unionize, he, Hurtado, and the other three dopes had to stuff the payroll with friends and relatives to try and stop unionization. So, Peck, Hurtado, Silosky, Steinys, and Booth caused people to run to a union that they were upset people ran to, and their solution to their problem was "make it worse".
my conscience March 16, 2014 at 09:51 AM
Vicky, Don't you think that spring should be a time of rejuvenation? As the bitter episode at the park district fades away into the foggy recesses of our memory, now is the time to forgive. What has happened has happened. For the peace of us all it is important to take a step back and calm down. Let us all breathe out and embrace what is good in each other. Who gained and who lost, it matters not - forgive those who have trespassed against us. A gentle hug at the village board meeting to an embattled soul, a kind word to the park district board president; we can heal. I see a future where all Plainfield citizens work together - professionals and patronage workers, politicians and taxpayers, insiders and outsiders; givers and takers all. Let us work hand-in-hand for our new beginning.


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