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'This is a Fiasco': Plainfield Officials Take Aim at Park Board Members

Margie Bonuchi — who serves on the village board with former executive director Garrett Peck — and Plainfield Township trustee Matthew Starr join calls for change.

Residents have called for Plainfield Park Board members Peter Hurtado, Janet Silosky and Peter Steinys to resign. Credit: File photos
Residents have called for Plainfield Park Board members Peter Hurtado, Janet Silosky and Peter Steinys to resign. Credit: File photos
Since Executive Director Garrett Peck's Jan. 23 resignation from the Plainfield Park District, community members have spoken up, urging the park board majority — Peter Hurtado, Peter Steinys and Janet Silosky — to join him.

On Tuesday, at least one Plainfield elected official also called for the park board members to resign, while another had harsh words for the board majority.

Plainfield Township trustee Matthew Starr — who is running against Silosky for a precinct committeeman position — publicly criticized his opponent.

"As an official, an individual and a Republican, I have never supported commissioner Silosky in her political endeavors," Starr said, accusing Silosky of demanding support from fellow members of the Plainfield Township Republican Organization.

"Where she demanded Republican support, this [board] majority, I demand you step aside," Starr said. "I have no expectation that you'll do the right thing, but I still urge you to."

Margie Bonuchi, who serves on the village board alongside Peck, also spoke up during public comment to criticize the board.

"Honest to God, I don't know where to begin," she said, referring to the controversies that have plagued the park district since the hiring of Peck, including the demotion of former Superintendent of Planning Cameron Bettin and the decision to terminate a lease deal with St. John's Lutheran Church.

"This is a fiasco," Bonuchi said. "This is such an abuse and a misuse of responsibility," she told the board majority. Alluding to the fact that the major changes begin immediately after Steinys and Silosky joined the board in May, she added, "Most people come on to a board and spend time listening and learning. The good Lord gave you two ears and one mouth for a reason."

She tore into the board for the decision to demote Bettin, who had originally been named the successor to retiring Executive Director Greg Bott, in favor of hiring Peck, calling it the "biggest travesty of all."

"There was a man in that job, and he was a good man," she said. "... In one fell swoop he got the rug pulled out from under him."

Bonuchi specifically took aim at Silosky, who originally voted against terminating the St. John's lease, only to change her vote at the next board meeting.

"She thought for herself ... and the next thing you know, somebody's hand was in her back moving her mouth," Bonuchi said. "We look terrible as a community. If you had to write this in a TV movie, it would be unbelievable. It wouldn't get produced because nobody would believe it."

Residents, board members echo the call

Starr wasn't the only one asking the board majority to step down.

Commissioner Mary Kay Ludemann also had strong words for her fellow board members, citing the park district's mission statement: "To promote the development of a comprehensive park system that provides recreational opportunities for all residents, as well as to offer diversified programs and activities that provide personal enjoyment, contribute to a sense of self-fulfillment, and enhance the quality of life of its residents."

"Right now as a board, we have the opportunity to make decisions that will put the park district in line with our mission statement," Ludemann said. " ... If you cannot do that for the benefit of our park district and our community, then I urge you to step down."

Last week, commissioner Larry Newton was more overt, calling upon Hurtado to resign “in the best interest of the district."

Resident Debra Bostjanic also took the opportunity to call for resignations during Tuesday night's public comment period.

"I'd like to see all three of them go," she said, " ... and I'd like to see them take Doug Booth with them," Bostjancic added, referring to the park district director of communications. 

"You made a laughingstock out of our community," she said. 

'I would always do what was best for the park district'

While Hurtado and Steinys have not publicly responded for demands that they step down, Silosky — who blew the whistle on Hurtado last week, accusing him of trying to unload a shipment of LED lights on the park district — said she has the best interests of the park district at heart.

"I would always do what was best for the park district," she said. "Everyone has different opinions on what that is."

None of the three has indicated they have any intention of stepping down.

Also related:

Editor's note: Larry Newton called only for Hurtado's resignation, not the entire board majority's as originally reported. Apologies for the error.
Frank February 05, 2014 at 10:20 PM
Agreed. To the point!
Frank February 05, 2014 at 10:25 PM
No matter how you slice it, Larry, all this foreign jibberish made more sense than anything coming from the "board majority" in the last "dziewiecz miesiace" (9 months).
Bad News Bears February 05, 2014 at 10:36 PM
Hablo español y hablo alemán. No tanto el polaco o el latín, aunque. Ich brauche, um meine E-Mails zu überprüfen. Es scheint eine Menge von fehlenden Kommentare sein. Jemand sicher, hasst die erste Änderung. Ha, I double dipped
Frank February 05, 2014 at 10:40 PM
Latin is more valid than you think. A conversation for another day. Now.....back to the PTPD (tomorrow).
Kaitlin Fallon February 05, 2014 at 11:01 PM
@ Theresa you make so great points about the school district! I never understood why I have to pay for my daughter to have a parking spot at school! They do not plow the lot properly when it snows and I pay over $80! Also referencing to a comment made above sol means sun in spanish & salida del sol means sunrise in spanish, sorry I'm a spanish major ;)

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