Dear Justice Park District Commissioners:

After the swearing in of New Board Members on May 19, 2009, it was made apparent that they had an agenda and they were going to take control.  I agree and welcome many of the new ideas but can no longer work with Commissioners who refuse to follow lawful, ethical conduct.  Since taking office, several actions of the new board have pushed me to this decision:

  • Having our director resign.
  • Having our recreation coordinator resign.
  • The unlawful firing of our maintenance worker.
  • Voting in executive session, not bringing items to the public forum.
  • Having new board members not understand or follow all provisions of the Illinois Open Meetings Act.
  • Setting salary for new part-time employee without board approval.
  • Having new maintenance man start work without a background check.
  • Paying a new part time employee more than any other employee has ever started at (including our last recreation coordinator).
  • Changing of the Lyons Township Proposal several times due to “inside” information.

Due to decisions made without proper preparation, investigation and research our Park District is in jeopardy.  We no longer have anyone qualified in food handling (so we cannot serve food at any event), no one qualified to drive the van (so we must cancel field trips) and no one on the Sam’s Club Account (to make purchases in bulk).  Because of lack of preparation the Park District has also opened themself up to a large liability having a grade school dance with 50 children present with only two young workers to run and chaperone this event.  Also because of the haste in many decisions, our playschool is being run without proper supervision.  Many days only one employee is available to run the playschool while leaving the office totally unattended.

Every time I have brought any of these points up to the present board I have had a very negative reaction.  After being a commissioner for many years I have been told by the present board that “I don’t seem to have any constructive input” and that “I complain and stall every issue that has come up”.  I do not consider wise decision making with lawful and ethical conduct a stall tactic; I consider it a wise business decision.

With a heavy heart I will step away from a group of commissioners who refuse to sign something as simple as the Board Members Code of Conduct.  The Code of Conduct is a simple 23 steps to commitment….several which have been violated by the present board.  Therefore, as of October 13, 2009, 7 p.m. committee meeting, I Commissioner Kathleen Rusch officially resign my position.

Sincerely,

Kathleen Rusch

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