Oak Forest park commissioners bill ta...

Oak Forest park commissioners bill taxpayers for downtown conventions

There are 96 comments on the The Southtown Star story from Mar 4, 2014, titled Oak Forest park commissioners bill taxpayers for downtown conventions. In it, The Southtown Star reports that:

Being an Oak Forest Park District commissioner is an unpaid position - but at least once a year membership has had its perks.

Join the discussion below, or Read more at The Southtown Star.

Gregory Chase

Oak Lawn, IL

#21 Mar 6, 2014
Clean House wrote:
<quoted text>
The article that was printed was excellent and I would love to see more articles about our leaders digging us into a bigger hole. If they keep digging I am positive they could find some classic material about corruption and bad ethics. If I was a reporter, I would dig into O.F. politics more and make a name for myself.
Also, I really do not think a guy like Sopko takes this position out of the kindness of his heart. You could say he is making no money but I guarantee these guys are gaining in ways that they aren't supposed to.
Great Job SouthtownStar!! Please continue to expose the truths about corrupt and selfish leadership in local communities. Somebody needs to be on the taxpayers side.
Well stated, Clean House. As I commented to a related story about Michelle Sopko, larcenous people tend toward excess and any public institution their filthy hands touched should be suspected of corruption, and sure enough I come across this article on the OF Park District. What would $15K have done for OF? Plenty. To those who belittle the SouthtownStar, I have two words: boo and hoo. On Tuesday I paid my 2013 1st Installment Property Tax Bill for my Burbank home and it sickens me to think of the corrupt people I just subsidized, especially the scumbags at Reavis District 220. I don't care how little public officials steal, only how much.
stupid

Chicago, IL

#22 Mar 6, 2014
They were stupid, if it was there money they were spending, I would think that the budget would change maybe a cheaper steak or no seafood etc. Someone pointed out that 3 members are city employees, well 2 have department vehicles I know off that could have driven that distance. It was party time on the taxpayer that is now being looked at due to Sopko. No one cared until a reporter who is really a jerk wrote the article. Sorry this was abuse of the monies they were entrusted to spend. I understand people being elected to do something, If you cant don't run or quit. They don't get paid is no excuse and the networking is that how they work to make more money on the side? just a thought

“I don't do sarcasm...but... ”

Since: Jan 08

sometimes I get provoked!

#23 Mar 6, 2014
The Southtown failed to mention that the conference was held at the Hyatt Regency in Chicago. I think they should have mentioned that in their article. By omitting that fact, they make it seem like the Commissioners chose that hotel.

Could they have stayed at a cheaper hotel? Sure, but have you ever gone to a conference where most of the group was staying at the hotel where the function was held, and you stayed at a cheaper place on the other side of town? I have, and it was very inconvenient. Cab fares to and from their hotel several times a day would bring the price up to what it would cost to just stay at the Hyatt.

Also, did they double up in a room or each have their own?

Not sure if this is true here, but whoever schedules the conference sets up an itinerary, and books lunches and dinners for the attendees at different restaurants. I believe THEY should have picked a more 'modest' place to stay and dine to save ALL the taxpayers in the different cities in Illinois money. But again, this was left out of the article and left for us to assume that they picked these restaurants.

But I do believe that they should only be reimbursed for the receipts they turn in. No receipts...no money!

There are too many unanswered questions after reading that article.
stupid is as stupid does

Oak Forest, IL

#24 Mar 7, 2014
Several posts have made good points here. I attend a conferences for my work. It is not manditory and we usually switch off year to year who attends because of the cost. We carpool or use the train for anything in illinois and get a per diem for our meals. Lunches are usally part of the conference itself. We are a private company and are conscious of the financial enviroment that we currently live in. Basic accounting principles require a reciept for expense reimbursment. It looks like they feel entitled to spend spend spend as a elected volunteer position/
More concerned

Tinley Park, IL

#25 Mar 7, 2014
If it's an inconvenience don't go. Just because a lunch or dinner is booked doesn't mean you have to go and put it on the taxpayers. It's not a pleasure trip. They can commute and take a train. Hotels are expensive downtown. Their lack of ethics shows plain and simple. This was used as a getaway for the board. Cindy Grannans excuses or reasons are laughable. Nobody wants to walk and grab a train at night, getting a expensive room is easier. No shit? Boo hoo, don't go. It's always cold and usually snows. Again, laughable. Welcome to the Midwest Cindy, are you new here? Incredibly insulting, Cindy. How did you get your job as Director?
scummit il

La Grange Park, IL

#26 Mar 7, 2014
hey someone on here if you could please write back ASAP, yesterday march 6 2014, there was a shooting on 59th st by a Summit fire Department (building with red roof) right by the train tracks I think its 59th and the corner of 73rd ave, anyway who was shooting and why? What gangs are there in that area of Summit? 59th by the bridge that takes you over the train tracks, cops where deep, like the whole station and the streets was filled with yellow placards to count the bullet shell casings, why the shooting? Arent Latin Kings running summit? What about Hanover Park who run that??
Interesting

United States

#27 Mar 7, 2014
This article refers to 7 people, aren't there only 5 board members?
More concerned

Tinley Park, IL

#28 Mar 8, 2014
Colloquy wrote:
The Southtown failed to mention that the conference was held at the Hyatt Regency in Chicago. I think they should have mentioned that in their article. By omitting that fact, they make it seem like the Commissioners chose that hotel.
Could they have stayed at a cheaper hotel? Sure, but have you ever gone to a conference where most of the group was staying at the hotel where the function was held, and you stayed at a cheaper place on the other side of town? I have, and it was very inconvenient. Cab fares to and from their hotel several times a day would bring the price up to what it would cost to just stay at the Hyatt.
Also, did they double up in a room or each have their own?
Not sure if this is true here, but whoever schedules the conference sets up an itinerary, and books lunches and dinners for the attendees at different restaurants. I believe THEY should have picked a more 'modest' place to stay and dine to save ALL the taxpayers in the different cities in Illinois money. But again, this was left out of the article and left for us to assume that they picked these restaurants.
But I do believe that they should only be reimbursed for the receipts they turn in. No receipts...no money!
There are too many unanswered questions after reading that article.
So the tax payers should foot the bill for your inconvenience? They should commute. They should pay for their own meals or don't go. Mingle and brainstorm for park district ideas. Come on?

“I don't do sarcasm...but... ”

Since: Jan 08

sometimes I get provoked!

#29 Mar 8, 2014
More concerned wrote:
<quoted text> So the tax payers should foot the bill for your inconvenience? They should commute. They should pay for their own meals or don't go. Mingle and brainstorm for park district ideas. Come on?
The article was very one-sided. It did what it set out to do...incite people.

In 2010 & 2012 the conference was held at the "beautiful Hilton Chicago". Like this year, in 2013 the conference was also at the Hyatt.

The main topic of my post was that the members of the IAPD/IPRA Illinois Association of Park District board members who picked this venue should have opted for a more 'modest' location for lodging and meals.

But you chose to comment on my 'inconvenient' opinion. Way to go.
Marcos

United States

#30 Mar 8, 2014
Colloquy wrote:
The Southtown failed to mention that the conference was held at the Hyatt Regency in Chicago. I think they should have mentioned that in their article. By omitting that fact, they make it seem like the Commissioners chose that hotel.
Could they have stayed at a cheaper hotel? Sure, but have you ever gone to a conference where most of the group was staying at the hotel where the function was held, and you stayed at a cheaper place on the other side of town? I have, and it was very inconvenient. Cab fares to and from their hotel several times a day would bring the price up to what it would cost to just stay at the Hyatt.
Also, did they double up in a room or each have their own?
Not sure if this is true here, but whoever schedules the conference sets up an itinerary, and books lunches and dinners for the attendees at different restaurants. I believe THEY should have picked a more 'modest' place to stay and dine to save ALL the taxpayers in the different cities in Illinois money. But again, this was left out of the article and left for us to assume that they picked these restaurants.
But I do believe that they should only be reimbursed for the receipts they turn in. No receipts...no money!
There are too many unanswered questions after reading that article.
Thank you for your thoughts Mr Conway....No!

“I don't do sarcasm...but... ”

Since: Jan 08

sometimes I get provoked!

#31 Mar 8, 2014
Marcos wrote:
<quoted text>
Thank you for your thoughts Mr Conway....No!
I love it when people assume a poster is one of the key people in the article. Thanks for the laugh today!
Citizen

United States

#32 Mar 8, 2014
I don't have a problem with it being at the Hyatt. Usually state conferences like this are held at nice places. Gives those people from downstate someplace nice to stay. I don't even really care that they didn't commute, for the reasons stated, it's a pain in addition to getting up early, finding parking, they don't get paid after all. We don't know that they attended any sessions or classes at the conference. What bothers me is their training budget was cut and monies for this conference came from it. These people are board members. They aren't involved in the day to day operations. Staff could have gone and gained knowledge they could have used to benefit the taxpayers. Did these board members even attend anything or did they just "network" at dinner and the movies? Why isn't there a list of what they attended? There may have been separate costs for these. It bothers me that they went over the per diem and didn't seem to care, it bothers me that we paid for alcohol. That's a lot of beer for lunch. It bothers me that we paid for people not on the board. It bothers me that they felt they didn't have to turn in receipts. Where's the checks and balances? It bothers me that one says in response for mini bar purchases, wasn't me. Who was it? Didn't you look over the charges to ensure they were accurate? BS. It bothers me that a police detective that has to follow procedures on a daily basis can't remember that he has to turn in receipts? If he attends a class for the police department does he not have to turn in receipts? Same for Sopko. I would have more respect for them if they just said we didn't feel like we needed to rather than thinking we are stupid.
I don't think there is an itinerary for lunch or dinner for a statewide conference such as this. They may have a lunch provided though. They aren't going to try to schedule things for hundreds possibly a thousand people from across the state.
Colloquy wrote:
The Southtown failed to mention that the conference was held at the Hyatt Regency in Chicago. I think they should have mentioned that in their article. By omitting that fact, they make it seem like the Commissioners chose that hotel.
Could they have stayed at a cheaper hotel? Sure, but have you ever gone to a conference where most of the group was staying at the hotel where the function was held, and you stayed at a cheaper place on the other side of town? I have, and it was very inconvenient. Cab fares to and from their hotel several times a day would bring the price up to what it would cost to just stay at the Hyatt.
Also, did they double up in a room or each have their own?
Not sure if this is true here, but whoever schedules the conference sets up an itinerary, and books lunches and dinners for the attendees at different restaurants. I believe THEY should have picked a more 'modest' place to stay and dine to save ALL the taxpayers in the different cities in Illinois money. But again, this was left out of the article and left for us to assume that they picked these restaurants.
But I do believe that they should only be reimbursed for the receipts they turn in. No receipts...no money!
There are too many unanswered questions after reading that article.

“I don't do sarcasm...but... ”

Since: Jan 08

sometimes I get provoked!

#33 Mar 8, 2014
Citizen, I agree with most of your post. It does bother me that training money was cut for this trip.

And your question as to why there isn't a list of what they attended...

The intent of this article was to inflame the reader. They couldn't report on any positive aspects. It was not a balanced article.

“I don't do sarcasm...but... ”

Since: Jan 08

sometimes I get provoked!

#34 Mar 8, 2014
Citizen wrote:
These people are board members. They aren't involved in the day to day operations. Staff could have gone and gained knowledge they could have used to benefit the taxpayers.
<quoted text>
Which staff tho? Send someone from baseball and football, and then someone from another sport will say that their sport was not represented and therefore they gained nothing from it.

Guess we'll see what happens at the 2015 conference.
Marcos

United States

#35 Mar 8, 2014
Colloquy wrote:
<quoted text>I love it when people assume a poster is one of the key people in the article. Thanks for the laugh today!
I was trying to be funny ..... and anytime you need a laugh I'm here.
District142paren t

Harvey, IL

#36 Mar 8, 2014
Colloquy wrote:
<quoted text>Which staff tho? Send someone from baseball and football, and then someone from another sport will say that their sport was not represented and therefore they gained nothing from it.
Guess we'll see what happens at the 2015 conference.
I think it was meant that full-time park district staff members should have been sent to the meeting, not volunteers.
Clean House

Forest Park, IL

#37 Mar 8, 2014
Sopko and co. wines and dines on the public dollar. There are many people and families in O.F. who could only dream of eating at the best restaurants in Chicago. Families have bills piling up such as the ever climbing property tax bill. What is wrong with this picture??

“I don't do sarcasm...but... ”

Since: Jan 08

sometimes I get provoked!

#38 Mar 8, 2014
Marcos wrote:
<quoted text>
I was trying to be funny ..... and anytime you need a laugh I'm here.
Thanks Marcos, I'll keep that in mind!
good ol boys club

Oak Forest, IL

#39 Mar 9, 2014
Conferences can be beneficial but what kind of information did they attain. In these tough times did all of them need to go? Maybe they can learn how to write a tax referendum that would have a chance of passing.(Convent property disaster). Maybe they could learn how to manage staff better. Someone needs to control that troll that runs the dance and gymnastics programs. They don't offer enough that appeals to young boys because she has a monopoly on almost every room in that building. Like the previous poster stated, maybe more of the senior staff should be going not the board.
Do something

Oak Forest, IL

#40 Mar 9, 2014
Change it! Run for park district Commissioner and propose all the changes you'd like to see. I grow so very tired of those who complain and complain but do nothing to try and change things. Sitting on the couch exchanging gripes with other whiny individuals on a blog site will not help. As for the increasing tax bills? I don't like it either as my tax bill has doubled in the 15 years I've lived here but check out Orland's taxes, Tinley's taxes, Frankfort and Mokena's taxes. They are much higher. Price of homeownership. Got to pay for services you receive and with the price of everything going up like wages, equipment, gas and everything else the taxes will continue to go up to meet the costs. I wish I could afford to move, but I can't. I'm discouraged not by the taxes because property taxes increase in every community but the fact that the quality of people moving into town is falling and there doesn't seem to be much we can do about it.

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