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July 13, 2024

Princeton Park District gifting memberships to Commissioners –

By John Kraft & Kirk Allen

On February 19, 2017


The Princeton Park District, in the recent past, had finally determined, after considerable public questioning, to make families of Park Commissioners pay for their own memberships – they had been receiving free memberships (in violation of state law), read the notices sent to spouses below. This park district board also wrote a new Ordinance gifting free memberships and fee waivers to themselves (mighty nice of them to gives themselves free stuff on your dime).

The Park District Code prohibits compensation to commissioners (and by extension their families), but that doesn’t stop most Park Districts in Illinois, the Princeton Park District being no different.

In some twisted way of getting around the “compensation” to commissioners by way of free memberships and fee waivers, this park district is claiming it is a necessary part of a commissioner’s duty to participate in the programs and services and receive direct feedback from residents who do participate.

Nothing in the Park District Code allows Commissioners to perform the “duties” claimed in the Ordinance passed in August of 2015 – they are twisting things for their own benefit and it needs to stop. To think otherwise is absurd.

Just for fun, let’s apply this park district’s thought process to other examples:

  • shouldn’t airport board members get free hangar space and free fuel.. .you know, so they can appropriately “manage and control airport property and evaluate the sufficiency of the fuel supply”
  • what about University or Community College Board members? Don’t they have to  “manage, control, and provide and maintain programs and property?” – Shouldn’t they get free education in order to perform those functions?
  • the Governor and State Legislature has to manage state property and all programs in the state – shouldn’t they get everything free?
  • free lottery tickets to the State Legislature since they all need to “manage and control” the state lottery system!
  • some Park Districts have golf courses, lakes, aquatic centers, tennis courts, zoos, airports, swimming pools, you name it – it could become quite lucrative to be a park district commission with all those perks!
  • don’t park district commissioners need to evaluate the health insurance their employees participate in? Why don’t we just give those commissioners free health insurance so they can properly “evaluate” that program?

Do you see how ridiculous this is yet?  I guess we can expect the General Assembly to pass a new law to make all this illegal reaping of benefits legal as that is the pattern of practice when bad actors are exposed in this state.

We think you can get the point that the legislature intended park district commissioners to act without compensation of any kind and any receipt of compensation (or perks) goes against the stated intent of the Park District Code (“Shall act as such without compensation”)…for now.


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  • Madison Black
    Posted at 07:32h, 20 February Reply

    So it appears Board Members were evading their annual fees for many years? Wonder
    if there is a State’s Attorney that is
    willing be collect fees “Past Due?”

    • Lisa Thomas
      Posted at 17:35h, 21 February Reply

      A state’s attorney do their job? Where do you think we are? America? A country where laws matter? Ha! On a more serious note, the only way to push a state’s attorney to do their job is to put tremendous pressure on them to do so. You can always write to or call them, share the demand to follow through on social media, and get as many people as possible to do the same.

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