Oak Forest park commissioners bill taxpayers for downtown conventions

Mar 4, 2014 Full story: The Southtown Star 96

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

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Clean House

Oak Forest, IL

#1 Mar 4, 2014
A very interesting article. I think this article gives a good indication of the mindset of some of our leadership. "Me first. I am special. Let these idiots pay for it." This is a glimpse into the gluttony of these self servers. This is a fraction of the thievery that is going on. The tip of the iceberg.
This town leadership is digging us into a hole and they think it is fine. They have no shame.
OF resident

Chicago, IL

#2 Mar 5, 2014
Conway, you and the rest are pieces of shit. Your names and reputations in this city are done. FU, and enjoy the spotlight, you effing dickwads. Reimburse the city or be prosecuted.
Snakes

Oak Forest, IL

#3 Mar 5, 2014
Wow!
People trusted, respected and voted for all of you, shame on all of you!!!
Phoney

Oak Forest, IL

#4 Mar 5, 2014
No wonder Cindy was so Cavalier about the investigation. KEEP DIGGING, I am sure there is much, much more that should be brought to light !
concerned taxpayer

Frankfort, IL

#5 Mar 5, 2014
So what the article is saying that a Park District Commissioner's position is unpaid, except for the annual seminar they attend downtown. Here they are reimbursed for expenses and maybe a tad more. So throughout the year, they spend their own money (gas, dinners, time away from family, etc) while attending meetings and honoring their commitment to the park district and people are crying about this annual event???? The stupid elected officials of our state and federal government receive a well paid salary that includes the best health insurance and a pension and they are doing worse!!!! They fly on planes to attend conferences in places like Hawaii all on the taxpayer dime!!!! Not to mention whatever other expense incurred during the trip is more than likely comped on the taxpayer dime. You are talking thousands from each representative in a year!!! Yet the Southtown digs up a story talking about the park district's unpaid commissioners, who have a 15k expense at the rate of 4-5 commissioners over how many yearS??!!!!! Way to go Southtown News for such an anemic and waste of a story!!!!!!
Phoney

Oak Forest, IL

#6 Mar 5, 2014
Well maybe they should show us what has been accomplished by spending 15K on fine dining and alcohol? Where are the great ideas they gained from "networking:???

Where is the list? What good has come out of this expenditure, year after year, after year?? Our park district is below average at best- compare it to Tinley Park, Orland Park.

How about the huge flop of El Morro park. I could count on my fingers how many people have used the million dollar sledding hill, even in the third snowiest winter on record.

They agreed to VOLUNTEER!!!.We never agreed to buy them movie tickets, hotel rooms and drinks
I can say I have no problem with meals when away on business- but it should have been more conservative.

If they did not turn in receipts - why would the park district reimburse them? what about the checks and balances you have in place Cindy??

Keep digging Southtown- much more there!



RESIDENT

Tinley Park, IL

#7 Mar 5, 2014
THESE CLOWNS ARE NOT TURNING IN THERE RECEIPTS & BEING REIMBURSED NO QUESTIONS ASKED.THEY HAVE NO PROBLEM STARTING UP LACROSS RAN BY SOPKO BUT THEY WON'T ALLOW A FULL-TIME TRAVEL SOFTBALL TEAM FOR THE GIRLS...
IT'S ASHAME THAT SO MANY TALENTED ATHLETES LEAVE OAK FOREST FOR OTHER COMMUNITIES. I GUESS THESE CLOWNS ARE MORE CONCERED ABOUT HAVING AGED STEAK OR LOBSTER FOR DINNER..
More concerned

Oak Forest, IL

#8 Mar 5, 2014
concerned taxpayer wrote:
So what the article is saying that a Park District Commissioner's position is unpaid, except for the annual seminar they attend downtown. Here they are reimbursed for expenses and maybe a tad more. So throughout the year, they spend their own money (gas, dinners, time away from family, etc) while attending meetings and honoring their commitment to the park district and people are crying about this annual event???? The stupid elected officials of our state and federal government receive a well paid salary that includes the best health insurance and a pension and they are doing worse!!!! They fly on planes to attend conferences in places like Hawaii all on the taxpayer dime!!!! Not to mention whatever other expense incurred during the trip is more than likely comped on the taxpayer dime. You are talking thousands from each representative in a year!!! Yet the Southtown digs up a story talking about the park district's unpaid commissioners, who have a 15k expense at the rate of 4-5 commissioners over how many yearS??!!!!! Way to go Southtown News for such an anemic and waste of a story!!!!!!
So it's ok because others do it? No way! The cavalier attitude is the problem here. Oh, they can't commute? B.S! You can't get a meal for under $40? Your killing me here! All crap excuses. And they don't have to play by the rules. I'm downtown all the time for work. I pay my parking, I cannot stay in a fancy hotel because it may snow and I pay for my own meals. And it's never $40 for a meal. This type of thinking by the board is along the same lines as other city officials. People are looking to burn these dishonest local politicians. And it's getting so easy with FOI. They are careless with emails and so forth. If you want to get paid, don't become a park district Commissioner. Alcohol, no excuse. Movies....my god. It's not your DAM MONEY you idiots! And the excuses are insulting and makes the director sound incompetent.
Wow

Oak Forest, IL

#9 Mar 5, 2014
Concerned citizen, you should be more concerned about wasteful spending or change your post name

I volunteered over 1800 hours for an Oak Forest sports club over a couple of years , You volunteer because the job has to get done. Somebody has to do it

I never expected any perks and other than cold left over pizza and a tee shirt - I never got any

My experience was a tons of headaches- ungrateful power hungry parents and coaches. ANd an insight into how little accountability there is for bookkeeping and spending at the Oak Forest Park District

As a taxpayer, The things I saw and heard about were astounding to me!
Me me me

Oak Forest, IL

#10 Mar 5, 2014
They could have all gone out for pizza and soft drinks for less than $50. That would have been reasonable - but aged steaks at the best downtown restaurants - that's wrong!

Oh wait, this is Oak Forest. Next thing you know they will all be driving unmarked city vehicles
RESIDENT

Tinley Park, IL

#11 Mar 5, 2014
I would like to know what the board gained from this event...Did they find a bargain on garbage bags/cans or towels? Did they find a bargain on sand for our fields? Did they find a bargain for a new swing set? What exactly got accomplished from this event? Whatever they purchased, do they have documentation to prove it? Don't feed me that b.s about purchasing booze as a form of networking, we all know where that booze went, right in your belly...
yep

Oak Forest, IL

#12 Mar 5, 2014
hate to break the news to Joe but, you don't have to go to a convention to network with vendors. Vendors want to sell you their product or service. They will find you and give you the sales pitch, even here in Oak Forest. It is their job!!!
concerned taxpayer

Frankfort, IL

#13 Mar 5, 2014
Just saying everything revolves around big government. This is small potatoes compared to the big picture. What the park district is doing is the same as what big government does, but just on a much smaller and almost trivial scale. Just saying the idiot from the Southtown should print something of real substance and not something that is so weak!!!!
no accountabilty

Oak Forest, IL

#14 Mar 5, 2014
What I've seen with our Park District Sports Programs is undocumented fundraising, and "very Questionable" spending.

The problem is, taxpayer's money funds these programs. They use taxpayer facilities and some are given start up money each year, and additional money through out the year to travel to competitive events.

These sports programs would not survive on their own- they must be funded from our Park District.

If they raise cash through fund raisers- There should be a sense of responsibility that comes with that.

I have seen just the opposite with our sports programs. Huge amounts of money have been raised and spent very irresponsibily. The Park District doesn't even know how much they raise, and seem to not care. The money is never reported as income.

They cook the books at the end of their season, only submitting what ever receipts they need to make it look like they are broke again. So they can ask the park district for more taxpayer money at the start of the next season.
Hand in the Cookie Jar

Oak Forest, IL

#15 Mar 5, 2014
This is hilarious, let's hope this leads to a few more board members being replaced, starting out with Joe Conway! My favorite part of the article is ...

"Conway counted the movie theater purchases and hotel room drinks as “dinner expenses,” according to his expense report. He declined comment when asked if taxpayers should pay for his beer and movie theater treats.

“It’s a weeklong conference, and we get free time,” Conway said, adding that he didn’t remember what movie he saw.“We go out and spread out our legs and unwind.”

Hey Joe, whose legs are you spreading while you are downtown? I heard that rumor about you. Ha Ha, good stuff!
Clean House

Oak Forest, IL

#16 Mar 5, 2014
concerned taxpayer wrote:
Just saying everything revolves around big government. This is small potatoes compared to the big picture. What the park district is doing is the same as what big government does, but just on a much smaller and almost trivial scale. Just saying the idiot from the Southtown should print something of real substance and not something that is so weak!!!!
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.
Theres Moore

Oak Forest, IL

#17 Mar 5, 2014
I'm waiting for Oak Fest investigation results. This is nothing.
good ol boys club

Oak Forest, IL

#18 Mar 6, 2014
A good article! The southtown is a local paper, they report on local news. These guys have no business spending taxpayers money on expensive dinners and hotels period. If they were worried about traveling in the snow, then take the train. Are they too good for that! Many of us use public transportation everyday. Who approves these expenses! No receipt no money. A reasonable per diem should be established and anything above that comes out of their own pocket. If they commuted they could come home and have dinner with their families. Just looks like a mini vacation from home with the boys
More concerned

Oak Forest, IL

#19 Mar 6, 2014
concerned taxpayer wrote:
Just saying everything revolves around big government. This is small potatoes compared to the big picture. What the park district is doing is the same as what big government does, but just on a much smaller and almost trivial scale. Just saying the idiot from the Southtown should print something of real substance and not something that is so weak!!!!
Again.....that doesn't make it right! Get your head out of your ass. It's not hard hitting reporting. It's simply filing FOI and finding out that they are wasting tax payers money. It's NOT OK because big government does it. As a matter of fact, you idiot, it's worse because it's local and every buck counts.
Random Thougths

Chicago, IL

#20 Mar 6, 2014
So the worst item I can see here is the answers when the money for the Children's, Adult's and Senior's Programs are so tight! Money they spend right or wrong come out of the budget for the entire park district that serves the users! Why couldn't they have worked to get a more inexpensive hotel? Commuting could be an option, but remember one item, 3 of the Members on this Board are also city employees, on the public payroll. They have that right, but were these not the folks that replaced the last regime? Their response to replace those folks was how crooked they were right, how it all changes again.

Can someone tell me in the Gallery Pictures why the President of the Park Board was not in attendance? The VP, we all know where he is but the President hasn't been indicted for anything right? I guess if you don't want a picture to match to the brilliant comments that is what you do!

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