Plainfield Township Votes No Confidence on Park District Board

More criticism for the park board amid recent controversies.

Credit: File photo
Credit: File photo
Citing concerns over Plainfield Township's senior programming partnership with the Plainfield Park District, the township board unanimously passed a vote of "no confidence" in the current park district board.

The vote came after months of controversy at the park district, from the hiring — and subsequent resignation — of Village of Plainfield Trustee Garrett Peck as executive director to several staffing shakeups to accusations of kickbacks and nepotism against board majority members.

Township trustees approved the resolution on Wednesday, making it clear their beef if with the board, not with the staff. The park district and township share a senior coordinator, Kathy Whalen, and partner to offer programs for senior citizens.

"As a board, we have all been individually approached by some of our constituents and residents with concerns about the Plainfield Park District Board," township Supervisor Tony Fremarek said, noting that Whalen "does a phenomenal job, and I know that our seniors feel the same way.

"... It is my opinion that we have some concerns about the direction [of the Plainfield Park District board] and we want to make sure that partnership continues in a healthy manner," Fremarek said.

Trustee Ernie Knight also expressed concern over associating the township with a board that "clearly is hostile to our out customers, our own constituents," he said, citing what he called "the lack of communication, the real hostility toward any kind of feedback from residents."

Trustee Matthew Starr, who spoke up at a Feb. 4 Plainfield Park District meeting to criticize commissioner Janet Silosky in particular, also stressed that the vote was not a slam against park district staff.

"This resolution is in no way a reflection on you, Kathy," he told the senior coordinator.

Residents in attendance at the meeting applauded following the 5-0 vote.

Prior to the vote, park district Director of Recreation Cheryl Crisman spoke up on behalf of her staff.

"Our senior programs continue to be extremely popular," she said, adding she hopes to see the park district-township partnership continue.

Click for video of Wednesday's Plainfield Township board meeting.

Gabby February 13, 2014 at 08:19 PM
The movement is gaining momentum - Cross is filing a lawsuit to break up the park district board.
Mary Ludemann February 13, 2014 at 09:28 PM
Thank you to the Plainfield Township Board for taking a position on this issue. The board majority will hopefully begin to realize the real damage they have caused the Plainfield Park District and it is my hope that they begin to align their decisions with our mission statement. And if they cannot serve on the park board in the best interest of our park district and our community then they should step down.
Tim February 13, 2014 at 10:36 PM
Gabby - Tom Cross is not filing a lawsuit. He is introducing legislation to change the makeup of the board. The press conference isnt until Friday, but I imagine what he will be doing is ADDING new seats to the board, and appointing them in a way that doesn't involve a vote by current members(avoiding the majority). Time will tell, as it always does. This is great news though!
Vicky Polito February 13, 2014 at 10:48 PM
I won't call it great news, yet. Although, it is definitely encouraging to be getting open involvement and help for the public from other elected officials across the board. I respect Rep. Cross very much, always have, but I want to hear the whole plan and all the details before I form an opinion. I am cautiously optimistic. On the plus side is that I believe Tom Cross is a good man, and a smart and skilled one, and I just hope for the best for us all in this latest action. Also, I'm pretty sure that the bar is set pretty low for "better".
Bad News Bears February 13, 2014 at 10:53 PM
Vicky I was just thinking the same thing. It isn't going to take much at this point for things to be "better". Personally, I want them fixed and on the road to recovery. But my eyes have always been bigger than my stomach. I will optimistically wait to see what this means
Tim February 13, 2014 at 10:59 PM
Vicki - it is great news, because it will at least stop the damage. It is bad news, because it means we had a board majority functioning so poorly, that state intervention was required to stop the destruction. I imagine the legislation will take the board from 5 to 7 seats, leaving two unfilled seats. The current 3-2 majority vote would turn into a 4-3 minority vote, stopping cold the self-serving and incredibly destructive agenda of the current board majority.
Vicky Polito February 13, 2014 at 11:01 PM
Oh, my gosh, BNB--that was a funny blast from the past and coincidence: I was just saying to my husband that my dad must have told me twice a month throughout my youth, for varying reasons, that my eyes were bigger than my stomach and you happened to say that very phrase! Funny. Yes, let's all be hopeful and positive, but keep minds open and be critical in our thinking.
Vicky Polito February 13, 2014 at 11:04 PM
Tim, I hear you and agree this is more likely to mean better days than worse days, which is a good thing. I just want to know more before really making my own judgements on the actual legislation.
Gabby February 14, 2014 at 08:35 AM
Tim-thanks for the clarification.
Frank G February 14, 2014 at 09:15 AM
I just wish these clowns would accept the fact that their "sideshow" is going to end one way or another, and just step aside quietly. The longer they drag it out, the more infamous each of them becomes. Then again, I think they each wanted to be well-known in Springfield...wish granted lol.
Ed Arter February 14, 2014 at 09:26 AM
Any idea as to how an additional 4 commissioners will be chosen? Too late to hit the March 18 date.
joe February 14, 2014 at 09:30 AM
Gee, ya think!!!
Tim February 14, 2014 at 09:31 AM
Ed - I don't know the details on how that would happen. And this is all just speculation on my part, although rather well thought-out speculation. A nice little touch though would be to look to those people who had their ballots rejected during the last park board election... Hey, if I'm going to be a crazy idealist, I might as well make my wishes good ones!
Tim February 14, 2014 at 10:41 AM
Vicky Polito February 14, 2014 at 10:57 AM
Oh, good grief, Tim! Here, will this one go away, too?: Tim commented on the article "Plainfield Township Votes No Confidence on Park District Board" you commented on in Government: Tom cross has introduced HB5593 to address what has happened to the park district. The bill calls for an increase in the number of commissioners from 5 to 9. Ive posted the link to the text of the bill in the "Speak Out" section. But will also post it here; http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/fulltext.asp?DocName=&SessionId=85&GA=98&DocTypeId=HB&DocNum=5593&GAID=12&LegID=80660&SpecSess=&Session= View this Post
Vicki Knight February 14, 2014 at 11:52 AM
Thanks Tim for the link to Tom Cross's bill HB5593. I understood that this gets rid of the board majority but it doesn't get rid of the President of the board and the other two, correct.
Tim February 14, 2014 at 11:57 AM
Vicki K - Unless he decides to step down(or is removed for 'other' reasons), no it does not remove the current president. However, as far as I understand Roberts Rules, any current member can motion to hold a new election for those positions, and if it is then seconded by another member, it goes to a full vote. At that point, other members can nominate another person for president(and VP if still needed at the time), which would also go to a full vote. Of course, I submit to the knowledge of the current board members if I am wrong and need to be corrected. It may very well be that those positions on the board are set until the next election cycle.(2yrs)
Vicki Knight February 14, 2014 at 12:23 PM
Thanks Tim for that information, it clarifies things. Now we will have to watch and wait.
Frank G February 14, 2014 at 12:29 PM
I would wonder if a new officer vote would have to take place immediately upon adding these 4 new members, if it happens. the "old" 5 member board, with its current officers, would cease to exist. I would think the new 9 member board would have to establish new officers since it is a new entity, and not the one that elected President Twinkletoes & Associates.
Ericus Alanas February 14, 2014 at 03:09 PM
Obviously a group bigger than "the same 25 people showing up to meetings" now.
Ron Jidzny February 14, 2014 at 03:29 PM
How do I signup to join this group? I have been away for awhile and just moved into my new home in Dayfield. What is going on here?
Bad News Bears February 14, 2014 at 03:51 PM
I'm still waiting for a comment about all of this from our PPD President. I've heard nothing about the vote of no confidence, 4 new appointees, the settlement on the Labor Law suit. Hello? Doug, start earning your $80K a year and release a statement please #NotHoldingMyBreath
Larry Newton February 14, 2014 at 03:57 PM
Tim, I've asked what our options are. We do not have a "no confidence vote" option. The Park District code and the IL municipal code dictate all of this. Believe me, we would have already done what you suggested if it were within our powers.
Larry Newton February 14, 2014 at 04:00 PM
BNB, I've been calling on the Interim E.D. to fire Doug or eliminate his position for a while now. We still have staff on hand who are totally qualified to assume the duties he's supposed to be performing.
Vicky Polito February 14, 2014 at 04:15 PM
Ron J--I think the best thing to do is to come to any meetings you can make it to. Unless a special meeting gets called between now and then, the next PTPD board meeting is Tuesday, March 4th at 6p at the Plainfield Township Admin Bldg, east of 59 on Lockport, right across from 4 Seasons Park, on the south side of the street. Address is 22525 West Lockport Street, 60544. You might want to get there early if possible as I see parking and seating being filled up pretty quickly these days. Maybe car-pool if you can.
Bad News Bears February 14, 2014 at 04:15 PM
Larry, I believe you. I, however, have no faith in our Interim E.D. either. He's neck deep in that Labor Law suit. And his employee, and new director of the new department (Parks and Project whatever?) seems to be neck deep in the LED light thing. Maybe you can answer a question that's been ping ponging in my head today. Is it going to make it even harder to hire a qualified permanent E.D. for the PPD with 9 commissioners he'll have to work with? Or will this open it up more knowing they won't have to bang heads with our lovely Board Majority?
Larry Newton February 14, 2014 at 04:22 PM
Number of commissioners isn't an issue for a new hire. Being stuck with an ethically challenged member who meddles in the daily operations and pushes pet projects will turn off qualified candidates.
Bad News Bears February 14, 2014 at 04:27 PM
Thank you. That's what I was hoping
Tim February 14, 2014 at 05:07 PM
Thank you for the reply Mr. Newton. I figured with the same 5 board members, it wouldn't make much sense to try to elect new positions, as it would just turn out the same silly way as it did before. But, as you have mentioned before, we are in uncharted territory here. Perhaps with 9 members the new bill will take this into consideration as well before its final approval? I can hope, at least. On a side note, I like the way this non-legitimate source of communication allows us free and open discussion with our officials(well, the ones that aren't scared at least). I appreciate the time Mr. Newton and Ms. Ludemann have taken to discuss this with the residents on this non-legitimate internet site full of 'cloaked' people. Heck, I could be a non tax-paying tree for all anyone knows!
Josh Herrara February 17, 2014 at 12:03 PM
@Larry, did the I.E.D. give you a valid reason for not removing Booth? If not, can we ask for his removal? We do not need to pay Mr. Coldwater and Mr. Masters more money to blindly follow the majority. More importantly, the PTPD does not need people in charge that will continue to blindly follow the majority. Many comments have given leeway to them for doing what they felt necessary to keep their jobs. Well Peck is gone. What excuse do they have now for continuing where he left off?


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