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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.

Dave Ruggles August 26, 2011 at 11:45 AM
There is already a way for voters to limit the terms of a commissioner that they don't feel is doing a good job, they can vote him out of office.
Jeri August 26, 2011 at 12:37 PM
Voters need to be informed and educated. Then "they" need to vote. Control and entitlement is a problem in public service jobs.
Adam Engler August 26, 2011 at 12:46 PM
Our park district is second to none. I got a kick out of using Fox Valley as a model; anybody who's been around knows the problems they've had with their golf course. Wass has stirred a pot and added salt to a sauce that was just about perfect. Oswego's ranked the 58th best place to live because of the work of those who were here 10 years ago--making decision and planning for the future. We now have boards that will ruin the quality of life we've come to know and love. It's a shame.
Tina Conley August 26, 2011 at 12:50 PM
Right on Adam!
Ralph August 26, 2011 at 12:59 PM
Seems like the folks who enjoy the district could help offset some of the nonsense by writing a letter or coming to a meeting and speaking about what they feel...both good and bad about the district in a normal rational way. My daughter loves the programs she takes at the PD. I wonder if Mr wass has ever been in a pd program or visited a park for fun? I would bet not, might be one of the reasons he would prefer to shudder the facilities and cancel all the kids programs.
Jane Enviere August 26, 2011 at 02:45 PM
If Wass wants term limits, he should start by not running for re-election.
Robyn Vickers August 26, 2011 at 03:51 PM
Good suggestion, Jane! :)
Judy Siedlecki August 26, 2011 at 03:55 PM
If it ain't broke, don't fix it! St. Charles was recently named No. 1 by Family Circle magazine in its annual survey of the best towns and cities for families in the country. At the top of the list was the amount of park acreage per person - 30 acres! - a tremendous amount of open space that is preserved and owned by the public, either the park district or the forest preserves. Seems that our Park District has been doing a terrific job over the years to work in that same direction for Oswego. Seems Mr. Waas is opposed to making our community better with his "all about me" charts and graphs and unfounded claims of overpaid park district employees and spending too much per resident. These shenanigans indicate to me that Mr. Waas is more interested in tearing our community down instead of building it up, all in the name of his own self-interest.
Jeri August 26, 2011 at 08:28 PM
Thank you Mr. Waas for questioning expenditures, plans, future and revenue practices. I especially like the attention to the poor directions of buying homes that residences offer and we go, write out a check from the tax payers without current consideration of the entire market. You and Mr. White are fresh thinkers and appreciated. We do not have endless wallets. Do not worry about all the comments. Change and balanced budgets that the tax payers can afford is more important. Thank you both for your service.
Ralph August 26, 2011 at 09:00 PM
Mrs. Powell. since when has the PD not had a balanced budget as you suggest? I don't recall ever hearing or seen a budget from them that hasn't been? the decision to acquire property as it has been offered, to preserve river front access for generations of people can be debated as either good or bad, depending on how you view the value of that type of recreational area...but to say the whole of the district is wasteful and spending with out restraint is just kind of silly. So much so, that the beacon news on Wednesday or Thursday refuted mr. wass 's claims of high staffing waste and out of line expenditures. I am with you on being informed of what is happening in the community,however the over the top claims of "highest in the nation" ect...are just quite laughable.
Adam Engler August 26, 2011 at 10:09 PM
Short sighted decisions based on poorly interpreted "facts" will cost taxpayers more in the long run. Don't be so quick to drink the "watch our taxpayers wallets" koolaid. Remember, it's people who look to the future that are really watching our wallets. Love, love, love OPD and all they do for us. Btw--I'm a taxpayer, too!
Jeri August 26, 2011 at 10:48 PM
Mr. Ralph, You have put words in my mouth. I did not write anywhere that the whole park district is wasteful. I also will consider the source of your information that you choose to buy. I do not consider every media source. Many are very liberal. You can choose to increase revenue and expenditures. The budgets of government can also be decreased.
Ralph August 27, 2011 at 12:51 AM
Mrs. Powell..are you actually suggesting the Beacon News and its reporter have a secret liberal agenda against Mr. wass and his claims of waste and staffing? Really? That's what is sounds like you suggested. I have to say.....that is crazy talk. Do some media outlets shade left or right? Sure they do, but your rational as to that being a reason they have refuted basically every claim mr. wass has made is almost as amusing as the claims. Sadly those kind of inferences, much like the wass claims of "highest spenders in the nation" dilute any real talk or discussion on topics or ideas that can actually improve the level of services provided. because when you are talking crazy...all the real discussion gets lost.
Jeri August 27, 2011 at 12:06 PM
Mr. ralph, This is the second time you put words in my mouth. Liberal media requires filters. Just like your name "Ralph". You can be anyone.
Jeri August 27, 2011 at 12:14 PM
Thank you Mr. Waas for bringing a fresh outlook to the Park District. Yes the park district is a fun place. The tax payers monies needs a continual effort to question all the ways that it is used. I appreciate all your efforts.
Ralph August 27, 2011 at 12:26 PM
Jeri Powell "I also will consider the source of your information that you choose to buy. I do not consider every media source. Many are very liberal." --- This was your response to my posting. This was your attempt to discredit the Beacon news thrashing of Mr. Wass's statements. It's in black and white, you wrote it. If you were not using this as the basis for your position, why write it? How could any reasonable person infer anything different from your posting? We were not talking about media in general, the beacon in specific was mentioned. The tactic of slinging some mud in the general direction of a person, party or issue in the course of debate, then claiming "that's not what is said specifically" is a tired and quite frankly weak attempt to make up for the shortcomings of a sound logical argument. We can agree to disagree on this. However, I believe we do agree, it's a good thing when people are involved with the local and state gov.
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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