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Sycamore Park Board

From: Sycamore News
Category: General Discussion
Date: 27 Jun 2002
Time: 17:38:57 -0400
Remote Name:


Logic and tact seem to be on summer vacation when it comes to the Sycamore Park District Board of Commissioners’ decision-making. Park board members have “suspended the parks’ executive director, Mike Doty, with pay.” Quoting park board president Marlyn Burkart, Doty’s suspension comes “as a result of (the board’s) investigation” into what is a personnel matter. First, regarding the “personnel matter,” whatever the board was or is investigating should continue to be not publicly known. Burkart assured members of the public present at the board’s June 18 meeting that no crime had been committed and that the matter is simply an employee-employer issue. We have no problem with that. What we do have a problem with is the statement that the results of this investigation have led board members to a clear decision. A suspension isn’t definitive at all and is the ultimate dodge. Further, it simply keeps the employee in question in limbo. The RESULT of an investigation should either re-instate the employee or result in finding cause for the employee’s termination. Keeping an employee under suspension does neither of those things and suggests at the very least that the board simply doesn’t understand how to deal with sensitive personnel issues. What complicates this matter, and what confused many of those attending the June 18 meeting, is that while Burkart said the suspension “was the result of the board’s investigation,” she’s also saying the investigation is completed. Park board commissioners Joe Arundel and Ken Andersen, on the other hand, just minutes after Burkart’s statement, told a member of the public that the investigation was “ongoing.” Well, which is it, park board? Is the investigation completed or ongoing? Is it fair and desirable to keep an employee on suspension or are board members just hoping Doty will tire of the artificial (and possibly illegal) cloud they’ve constructed over his reputation and quit, thereby saving them a few bucks? Doty’s worked for the park board for the past seven years. That the board has chosen not to renew his contract, which comes up for renewal option in July and ends December 31, isn’t earth-shattering news because they’ve struggled to get along with each other for the last few years. Wouldn’t a more tactful, less legally-dicey and classy way to let Doty go have been to tell him simply that the board wasn’t going to re-new his contract and wished him well? It seems that there might be those who are demanding a pound of Doty’s flesh as well as his departure, given some board members’ seeming reluctance to let go of this issue or unwillingness to handle the matter in a decent, professional manner. But sometimes that’s the way it is in these places with the “small town atmosphere,” where everyone knows everyone else’s business. Maybe it’s those same people who would like the Sycamore Golf Club to become their own private poor man’s country club and go back to the good old boy days of Red Johnson, when things were handled with a slap on the back and a wink of the eye. Maybe they would rather not have a professionally-managed, profitable park district that sought to service ALL of its residents, not just favoring a chosen few and their family members with free golf. Those who might fit that description should try to get in as much free golf as they can now — before the next park board election.

Last changed: 06/27/02

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