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April 18, 2024

Wesley Township – Supervisor provides lesson in English while ignoring key verb, statutory construction and legislative intent.

By Kirk Allen & John Kraft

On June 18, 2019

Will Co. (ECWd) –

During the last Wesley Township Meeting, Supervisor Joann Quigley, took it upon herself to provide a lesson in the English language as it relates to the Township charging fees for use of the Township Park.

Quigly cited Township Code 85-10 section (j) with her emphasis on the “nouns” in that section are the reason her and “legal minds” say they can charge for use of the park, even though the specific statute for the park says it is for the free use of the public.

(j) A township may establish reasonable fees for recreation and instructional programs sponsored by the township.

As far as legal minds being of the opinion she expressed, we suspect her new claim is tied to Facebook posts where a local citizen cited the same  exact section of the statute and represented the same exact opinion, all while both of them left off the most important element of that statute which most competent attorneys would not miss.


The only recreational and instructional programs that the Township can charge reasonable fees for are those that are sponsored by the Township.  Wesley Township does not sponsor any such programs, therefore they cannot charge fees for people to use the park in our opinion.

(j) A township may establish reasonable fees for recreation and instructional programs sponsored by the township.

Another overlooked element of statutory construction is the legislative intent behind the statute in question.   We obtained the General Assembly transcripts directly connected to this section of the Township code.  We are confident on our position as it is consistent with the plain language of the statute, proper application of statutory construction, and the clear legislative intent.

Senate transcript from May of 1993:

“There’s a second amendment that was added that townships could impose reasonable fees for recreation and instructional programs which are sponsored by the townships on programs they wish to do.”

“They wish to do

Words have meaning and in this case, the Senate understood that such fees are based on the Township doing something, not owning something such as a park.  In this case, the action is to sponsor with the word “do” being that action discussed when this law was passed in the Senate.

To keep it simple, since we are on the subject of grammar, Supervisor Quigley left out the verb during her explanation of nouns and conjunctions.  The verb is key to this law and ignoring the word “sponsored” found in the statute appears to be how Quigley and her claimed “legal minds” come to the absurd position they can charge fees for the use of a park.  A park that the specific law says is for the free use of the public.

Using their logic, the next thing they will try to charge fees for is kids throwing frisbees in the park because that is a recreation activity being done at the park.

An example of recreation and instructional program that is sponsored by the Township would be something like kayaking.  The Township would sponsor a program on the recreation of kayaking, which an instructor would provide instruction on that topic that may cover things like safety or how to avoid capsizing and what to do when you do capsize.  The same would apply to baseball, softball, or any other recreational subject matter.  They could even sponsor a program on camping where they instruct people on the key elements and important things to know about camping, such as how to build a campfire, how to cook over one, how to put up a tent, all of which they could charge a reasonable fee for. However, that is not a free rein to charge people to use a park that is to be for the free use of the public by statute.

For those wondering where section (j) in the statute came from, look no further than the Township Officials of Illinois according to the transcripts.  It would appear that rather than having the peoples interest in mind the Township Officials of Illinois preferred endorsing an expansion of the governments reaches into the pockets of its citizens.

Based on this additional research we are even more convinced that the Township can not charge fees for the public to use the park for any reason unless the Township is engaged in sponsoring an actual recreational and instructional program.

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  • Perry Mason
    Posted at 12:32h, 18 June

    People are saying…some of them are lawyers…I used to play a lawyer on the tevee…I SAW IT ON THE INTERNET I THINK!!!

  • Pete
    Posted at 16:57h, 18 June

    “cannot” is one word