Park board President Karen Garrette, wife of former village attorney Tom Garrette tendered her resignation at Tuesday night’s meeting.  This follows the earlier resignations of long time Commissioners Rusch and Murphy.   Newly appointed Commissioner Longhi did not attend this meeting, according to Commissioner McGee because of work conflicts.  The meeting was interspersed with tension and conflict; the board seemed to be looking to their new $35,000 a year part time consultant Joe Vallez for direction on nearly all matters.  Mrs. Garrette read from a prepared letter and ticked off a list of questions to Mr.McGee, ranging from his lack of reimbursement to the park district for his cell phone bill, the hiring of Mr. Vallez and its legitimacy, why a part time consultant that is being paid nearly $730.00 a week is working without a contract and has a cell phone from the park district and why Commissioner McGee was acting as spokesperson for the park board when the job falls to the elected board president.

While Mr. Vallez seems to be sincere in his efforts to revamp the park district you have to wonder why we are at the point where we need to incur the expense of his salary to begin with.  Our park district now has a staff of two office workers and a custodian.  We have lost our director, our recreation coordinator, two long time commissioners; a hard working custodian has been fired and replaced with a new employee who is being paid at a higher rate. Now the current park board president Karen Garrette has given her notice.  Commissioners McGee and Jachymiak ran with Garrette unopposed for election last April and in recent weeks tensions have ran high between them. They were not appointed, this is something that they set forth to want to do and now it seems they have no idea what they’ve gotten themselves into and we have to pay $35,000 to get them out of it. They have had nearly 8 months to get things together and the park district is in worse shape than it was before.   At one point during the meeting Commissioner Jacymiak said, “You elected us now let us do our jobs”.  What’s been going on for the last 8 months then?

Playtime at the expense of our residents is over.  All the talk of logo revamping, business card printing, cellular phones, exchanging the names of the parks, shouldn’t even be up for discussion right now.  We are in danger of losing our park district and many residents already travel to Bridgeview and Oak Lawn to use their facilities paying out of district rates all the while their tax money is funneling into our park district.  You don’t build a house and start with the roof first, you start with the foundation and our park district is sitting on a cracked one and time is running out to get it repaired.   The time has come for our commissioners to stop passing the buck and blame to former commissioners and employees. It’s time to step up and do the job they were elected to do and take some personal responsibility for the current situation that we are in 3/4thof the way through their first year in office.