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July 13, 2024

Arthur Park District – Commissioners get Free Lifetime Park Pass…

By John Kraft & Kirk Allen

On June 14, 2015

Arthur, IL. (ECWd) –

In a disgusting move, an Arthur Park District Commissioner that was not going to run for office again decided that he needed “compensated” for his past service as Commissioner by motioning to award all “retiring” commissioners free lifetime passes to all park district properties.

In the October 2014 meeting minutes is this paragraph:

General Subject Matter:  Marvin presented the board with a proposal that would issue a lifetime park pass to all retired board members.  Since the role of park commissioner is unpaid this would offer an incentive for people to run and show appreciation to those that do serve.

So on  one hand they acknowledge Commissioners are “unpaid” – but then since one of them is “retiring” they think it is OK to offer an “incentive”.

Where is the disconnect between “shall act as such without compensation” and claiming incentives are not compensation? We have written on this issue in the past with the Clark County Park District (here), the Naperville Park District (here, here, and here), and now this one.

Compensation is anything received, based on the position of commissioner, that the ordinary citizen or taxpayer does not receive. So if they have say, ink pens used for advertising that they give out to everyone, then the commissioners can also receive one. That’s how it works.

In the November 2014 meeting minutes is this paragraph:

Retired Park Board Member Benefit:  Marvin approached the board about providing retiring board members a lifetime park pass.  He explained that this will be a nice incentive for becoming a board member and a nice thank you for those that have served.   Marvin made a motion to approve this benefit for all retiring park board members from here on out.  Dan seconded the motion, all in favor.  M/C. 

Wow, isn’t that sweet…it’s always nice when you can give away other people’s money isn’t it? Why these people think they are entitled to anything is beyond comprehension – they should be locked up.

While I respect the desire to serve on a park district board, I fail to respect the receipt of compensation for doing so when the law is so clear a 10 year old could understand it.

A park district board cannot grant privileges and “incentives” that they are not allowed by law to grant. They cannot provide compensation, or deferred compensation, when it is specifically prohibited in the Park District Code.

If they were somehow “unaware” that they could not do this, then they can easily place it on the next meeting agenda and cancel all of the freebee park passes and other “incentives”. Failure to do that is Official Misconduct [720 ILCS 5/33-3 (a)(2) , 33-3(a) (3), and 33-3(c)], a violation of the Park District Code Section 4.1, and a violation of the Illinois Constitution Article VIII Section 1 (a).


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