Monday, September 8, 2014

New Development On DuPage Forest Preserve Executive Director Fiasco?

This thing over at the DuPage County Forest Preserve District just gets weirder.  Now there's news that they may have violated the Open Meetings Act?  And that's only because a woman named Jean Kaczmarek made them re-consider?
DuPage County Forest Preserve commissioners will vote again next week to hire John Lapinski as executive director after a resident questioned the legality of their original action.
Commissioners voted unanimously Aug. 19 to name Lapinski executive director -- the same day they announced Arnie Biondo was stepping down from the top administrative post.

But Jean Kaczmarek, who is hoping to replace retiring county Clerk Gary King in the November election, told commissioners Tuesday the Aug. 19 vote may have violated the Illinois Open Meetings Act.
The Glen Ellyn Democrat said proposed compensation packages of $150,000 a year or more must be advertised six days in advance. Information about Lapinski's contract wasn't available to the public before the Aug. 19 meeting. 
"I'm not an attorney, so I cannot determine if the letter of the law was followed," said Kaczmarek, who will face Paul Hinds, King's chief deputy, during the general election. "I do know the Illinois (Attorney General's) office takes spirit and intent seriously when it comes to open government." 
After the meeting, officials conceded Kaczmarek's claim is correct. 
"I think she had a point," Commissioner Tim Whelan said. 
So the board agreed to have a special meeting next week to take another vote on Lapinski's contract.
Lapinski, who is the trial court administrator for DuPage County's chief judge, already has signed a three-year contract that will pay him $160,000 a year. 
Whelan said the board doesn't want there to be any question about the legality of the contract. 
"So we're just going to do it over," he said. 
Meanwhile, Lapinski's first day with the forest preserve district is scheduled to be on Oct. 1. The 53-year-old Oak Brook resident will replace Biondo, who took early retirement after commissioners made it clear he no longer was wanted after less than eight months on the job. 
Kaczmarek said she's pleased commissioners are taking another vote. 
"It seems like a good opportunity to re-evaluate their entire hiring process, especially when it involves a position with high responsibility, high salary and high pension," she said.
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