As much as Commissioner Len Wass may want them, term limits on the are not likely to happen anytime soon.
The reasons are twofold. First, the district’s attorney has said state statute doesn’t allow the park board to impose term limits on its members, and the board majority led by longtime commissioner and President Bob Mattingly have no interest in doing so, either.
Wass and his fellow commissioners clashed on that and other issues at Thursday night’s meeting, which included more debate on overspending at the .
“There is no statutory basis for imposing term limits on the office of park commissioner” in the park code, said Mattingly,reading from an email from the board's attorney. “Unlike some municipalities that have recently authorized referendum questions on term limits, the does not have home-rule powers that would allow the district to do the same.
“So, as you can see, it’s not in our purview,” said Mattingly, who suggested the board revisit the issue at an upcoming workshop.
Wass said that should not be the end of the matter.
“It may be out of our purview, but if we feel that strongly about it after we discuss it, we should try to get the law changed,” Wass said. “It’s our country. It’s our state — at least it used to be.”
After hearing that, Mattingly tried a more blunt approach.
“I have to be honest with you; I have no interest in looking at it really,” he said. “I think there was a good unofficial referendum in the April 5 election.”
Mattingly, who has served on the board for 18 years, . Newly elected Commissioners Roy White and Wass were second and third respectively.
“I feel the same way,” said Commissioner Deb Krase. “If there is any commissioner that the public doesn’t want here again, then that’s why we vote.”
Wass said he is advocating for term limits to bring fresh ideas to the board.
The debate followed a sharp back and forth between commissioners at the beginning of the meeting, in which park district spending was discussed.
Prompted partly by a report in the Aurora Beacon-News this week, Mattingly and Commissioner Danielle Ebersole batted down Wass’ longtime claims that the spends more per resident than any other park district in the nation. According to the Beacon-News report, both Geneva's and Batavia’s park districts spend more per resident than Oswego's.
Wass questioned those figures and later promised to bring his research to the upcoming workshop meeting.