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Term Limits Unlikely as Park Commissioners Clash

Deep division on the Oswegoland Park Board surfaces on Thursday night.

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.

Tina Conley August 27, 2011 at 01:03 PM
Agreed!
Greg Nelson August 27, 2011 at 03:04 PM
Seems that Ralph should be removed per the EULA of the Patch only real full names are allowed on the PATCH. That said Len Wass is just watching over the Budget (working Budget) which can and should be reviewed monthly. If you got fired would you go out and spend cash you don't have just because you said I put it in the budget this year so I must spend it? Seems simple and someone must take control always and be the bad guy (Watch Dog), so thanks to Mr Wass for being the bad guy wish every place using tax dollars had one just like him !
Judy Siedlecki August 30, 2011 at 03:23 AM
Mr. Wass used buzzwords to get elected - "OPD is overspending your tax dollars" - hits people right in the heart and no matter how it is proved otherwise, people want to believe the words they hear and want to believe that someone is actually looking out for them. The proof is in the actions though, not the words - what has he done to save you money since being elected? Roy came up with alternating flags to keep them from wearing out as fast. Len wants to privatize the Golf Course and have term limits. The first idea would hurt the "people" working there & downgrade the quality of Fox Bend (as has been proven elsewhere) and the second idea would save us money, how? Let's work on improving the sound fundamentals that have been established and not tear them down and throw them & the people out the window. We need to work together, not against one another.
Judy Siedlecki August 30, 2011 at 03:40 AM
BTW, the properties bought along the river were not at taxpayer's expense. They were purchased with grants for that purpose and the people selling were more than happy to do so. No property was taken or will be taken from anyone against their will. This is an improvement for the whole community's benefit and is forward thinking.
Judy Siedlecki September 07, 2011 at 08:18 PM
You sound angry about a tax hike and at the very thought of losing your home. It is my understanding that Federal Grant Money was earmarked for open space when our Park District wisely applied to receive some of it and fortuitously received it. It seems to me they were thinking ahead a long time ago and I thank them for that. If we had not received that money, it (our tax dollars) would have gone to a different community who was vying for those funds, so it was a good way to bring our tax dollars back to us. As for the homeowners who wanted to sell their homes to the Park District, I don't begrudge them a single penny that they received. I say more power to them! I am confused by something you said however: "The 67% income tax hike is probably going to tear down homes at a price they would not otherwise have sold at given this economy." Where does that % & info come from? I'm wondering if it is from something Leonard put together? If so, I am sorry that he has put such a fear in you that you are even concerned about the Park District wanting to buy your home too. I doubt such grants are still available considering the economy, so I wouldn't worry about them buying your house (you'd have to agree to it anyway). BTW, St. Charles was recently selected by Family Circle magazine as the #1 town for families to live in the U.S. A newspaper article I read about it stated as the #1 reason being the amount of park space per person they have - 30 acres! Are we there?

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