Reprinted with permission from the Edgar County Watchdogs’ Illinois Leaks:
Crystal Lake Park District Commissioners gift themselves thousands, while wanting to sell Bonds –
While the Crystal Lake Park District wants to sell $3.5 million in Bonds for mostly routine maintenance items, capital projects, and other things, the Commissioners gift themselves perks and compensation in violation of the Park District Code.
The Northwest Herald wrote an article (here) about the district’s most recent meeting where they talked about the Bonds.
They also stated the Board would vote on May 17, 2018, whether to authorize selling the Bonds and that they are subject to a backdoor citizen referendum to force the question onto the ballot for November.
Last fall we received a FOIA response from the park district detailing just how much their park district commissioners receive … for being commissioners, and it is astounding!
First – according to the Park District Code they can receive NOTHING. Section 4.1 of the Park District Codeexplicitly states that Commissioner “shall act as such without compensation.” The Illinois Governmental Ethic Act defines compensation as “any money, thing of value, or economic benefit conferred on, or received by, any person in return for services rendered, or to be rendered, by himself or another.”
We also believe these gifts violate the Gift Ban Act and Article VIII of Section 1 of the Illinois Constitution.
- According to their policy (see here), Park Board Commissioner receive the same benefits as full-time employees
- Free Beach Access
- 50% discount on certain concession stands at Main Beach, Golf Learning Center, and Boncosky Sports Complex
- Free Park District ball field rental (nonpeak) with possibility during peak
- Free (includes family members) participation in park programs
- Free building rental – including Park Place
- Free beach use for family members also
- Free boat rental (off-peak) and 50% discount on peak hours – includes family members
- Free Boat Ramp Key and boat ramp access
- Free Fisherman Key
- Free use of picnic areas at Veteran Acres, Woodscreek Park, Sterne’s Woods
- Free Unlimited Golf (includes family members) at Lippold Family Golf Center – unlimited driving range and miniature golf
- 10% over cost (discounted) for Golf Learning Center Pro Shop
- Free passes to Hound Town Dog Park
- Discounted Athletic Teams
- Free Racket Club Memberships (includes family members) – which includes: no initiation fees and no dues – free walk-on court time, half price tennis lessons, discounts on Pro Shop merchandise
Lots of free stuff for a job that is supposed to be without compensation!
We suspect this will be another case where the McHenry County State’s Attorney turns a blind eye and allows the taxpayer to be abused, much like has happened with the Algonquin Township.