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.

Really

Tinley Park, IL

#41 Mar 9, 2014
Blowing away tax payers money does incite people, Colloquy! What good comes out of these week long conferences? 2256
MonkeyBars

Alsip, IL

#42 Mar 9, 2014
Park districts have a long history of being political bases for politicians. They seem to fly just under the radar of public scrutiny. In Midlothian Park District they won't even report what they pay their director. One employee told me they get over a 100k +...

The only work I ever seem them do is harass citizens when they go to vote. If they harass us this year the video will be posted on the web. 

“I don't do sarcasm...but... ”

Since: Jan 08

sometimes I get provoked!

#43 Mar 9, 2014
Really wrote:
Blowing away tax payers money does incite people, Colloquy! What good comes out of these week long conferences? 2256
We don't know what good comes out of these conferences because we don't know what they did when they were there! There was no reporting on conferences or seminars they might have attended. Had the article not been so one sided, we may have found out!
Random Thoughts

Hanover Park, IL

#44 Mar 10, 2014
Colloquy wrote:
<quoted text>We don't know what good comes out of these conferences because we don't know what they did when they were there! There was no reporting on conferences or seminars they might have attended. Had the article not been so one sided, we may have found out!


If there was no reporting on the Newspapers, why don't you check the Park Districts meeting minutes to see if after the conferences, someone gave a report on what was done or accomplished there, should be on-line? That at least may be one place that this information should be recorded! Even the employees that went to the conference should have commented on what they saw and learned at the conference, should they not? If there is not reporting by the Park Commissioners or employees then it could be assumed that the newspapers reported what they received from the Park District! Since as I have heard the Board President decided not to show up for that meeting where the newspaper was taking pictures and the Vice President is on house confinement, someone should have stepped up to explain why they went and what they were looking to achieve at the conference. In the comments in the paper, not one person, even the Program Director mentioned the outcome, just defended the trip there!

If they are looking at implementing new programs or have a major capital project coming up or even just to get their employees re-certified on their credentials might have explained some reasons why they all attended, but I have yet to hear that they are doing anything, but the status quo! So all you can go by is the comments stated by the Commissioners that would comment and Program Director's comments are the only thing the taxpayers can read about this field trip! Those comments do not paint the current Park Board or the Program Director in a good light, so one sided or not if there were any concrete plans in attending that conference, except for them to all be able to "spread their legs", no one has told the taxpayers anything, but the great time they all had and didn't all document!

It is and odd irony though, these are the folks that as elected were going to change the way the park worked from the last REGIME. Too many rumors now about malfeasance at the Park District and it all seems to be at the hands of Public Employees, who are the controlling commissioners! Now that is some real Random Thoughts to think about!
Stupid is as ...

Forest Park, IL

#45 Mar 10, 2014
Where is the reporting from the Patch on this? Maybe Patch is tied too tightly to the park board? They jump on every other local story, why not this one?
Patchy

United States

#46 Mar 10, 2014
Patch has no desire to do this stuff. They were sold by AOL to a schlock outfit call Hale that is turning it into another news aggregator, which means you wont read anything there has hasnt already been written about and reported elsewhere.
Stupid is as ...

Forest Park, IL

#47 Mar 10, 2014
Patchy wrote:
Patch has no desire to do this stuff. They were sold by AOL to a schlock outfit call Hale that is turning it into another news aggregator, which means you wont read anything there has hasnt already been written about and reported elsewhere.
I know, that's what is confusing me. Patch copies every story about Oak Forest from the Southtown, but not this one. No mention at all. Why do you suppose that is?
Patchy

United States

#48 Mar 10, 2014
Could have something to do with the pressure from the organization to bury the truth.
Hopeless

Oak Forest, IL

#49 Mar 11, 2014
They were networking. N E T W O R K I N G
Also having a beer and a movie.
Me me me

Chicago, IL

#50 Mar 11, 2014
Yeah right, networking. Why don't they report on the developments of their networking?????

“I don't do sarcasm...but... ”

Since: Jan 08

sometimes I get provoked!

#52 Mar 11, 2014
Random Thoughts wrote:
<quoted text>
If there was no reporting on the Newspapers, why don't you check the Park Districts meeting minutes to see if after the conferences, someone gave a report on what was done or accomplished there, should be on-line?
If it is online, I can't find it. Maybe you can.
Incredulous

Chicago, IL

#53 Mar 12, 2014
1. Some of these sports programs raise hundreds to thousands of dollars (cash) through fundraisers and do not deposit that cash with the park district. They keep it as a slush fund to pay expenses throughout the year that they don't want the Park District to know about. Maybe we know why the Park District did not want to track this money before now.

2. There was a comment about alcohol being purchased to entertain the vendors. I am sorry, but why are the commissioners entertaining the vendors. Shouldn't the vendors be entertaining the commissioners? Shouldn't the vendors be taking the commissioners out to dinner? That is usually how it works in sales.
Really

Tinley Park, IL

#54 Mar 13, 2014
It really doesn't matter what was learned. If there is an abundant amount of info to be gleaned from this conference, send one or two. Not all of them. And they do not have to stay downtown, they can pay for their own meals. It seems a lot of the cost was for after the conference. Buy drinks for vendors? Inexcusable. The whole thing was a party on the tax payers. I don't see any legitimate reason for continuing this party. There are other way to network and get ideas. Anybody that sees that this wasn't a fiasco has their head in the sand. No good came from it. It's obvious. And the Director with her insulting excuses shows a lack of intelligence and understanding.
Clean House

Forest Park, IL

#55 Mar 13, 2014
The real concern is what else happens that is not in the newspaper. How much more money is being wasted?? Who else is exploiting the system and getting away with it?? Is this story an example of city hall culture?? If people are wasting or stealing, will their friends in city hall put a stop to it or sweep it under the carpet?? Why are people in city hall defending Sopko??
What else is going on that we should know about ???
Why all the crying

Chicago, IL

#56 Mar 13, 2014
You are all paranoid. If you look at the budgets of the parks or city or school or state you will always notice that there are funds set aside for training and conferences every year. The park district has been attending this conference every year for a long time and now all of a sudden its a big stealing party? Where was all of your outrage and chest pumping over this so called stealing frenzy 5 or 10 or 15 years ago? City hall cannot put a stop to the park district spending as you do realize that they are two separate taxing bodies right?
Random Thoughts

Hanover Park, IL

#57 Mar 13, 2014
Why all the crying wrote:
You are all paranoid. If you look at the budgets of the parks or city or school or state you will always notice that there are funds set aside for training and conferences every year. The park district has been attending this conference every year for a long time and now all of a sudden its a big stealing party? Where was all of your outrage and chest pumping over this so called stealing frenzy 5 or 10 or 15 years ago? City hall cannot put a stop to the park district spending as you do realize that they are two separate taxing bodies right?
The discussions are not crying, but pointing out the holes in the systems! If you are telling folks about the lack of influence of the city in regard to spending at the park, you are fooling yourself! When you have 3 Folks that are city employees on the Park Board, do you think that there is absolutely no influence? Let's not kid ourselves, with the issues that have happened in the most recent history and we have a couple indicted for embezzling monies, have we seen this same picture before, of course we have, so now we have it again and the Commissioners take the position that it is a great event for them to press the park agenda at this conference. The issue is what are the plans for improving the parks and programs in Oak Forest, that this conference was going to help? Only the next Park Commissioners up for the next election will see if our crowd in town will work to make the changes in the Park to see us get better Parks and Services!
Why all the crying

Chicago, IL

#58 Mar 13, 2014
that wasn't my question Random Thoughts, my question was why haven't you and the others screamed from the highest mountain your outrage at the conference expense this year since they have been going to this conference every single year for a long time? Why now? they have had the same amount budgeted for training and conferences going back a while but now all of a sudden it is stealing? Explain that. That was my question.
ActiveResident

Park Forest, IL

#59 Mar 14, 2014
Why all the crying wrote:
that wasn't my question Random Thoughts, my question was why haven't you and the others screamed from the highest mountain your outrage at the conference expense this year since they have been going to this conference every single year for a long time? Why now? they have had the same amount budgeted for training and conferences going back a while but now all of a sudden it is stealing? Explain that. That was my question.
It is only because of the Koustas thing. Probably not a single person knew or cared anything about the Park District, which I'm sure has been going to this conference every year for decades. Now all of a sudden "everyone's on the take". The same herd mentality that says "if one person does it, then OBVIOUSLY they all are doing it". Yes, Park Districts always have an amount of money set aside for training. Money earmarked for seminars and conferences, that cannot be used for other purposes. Did they exceed that budget? Have they been asking for huge increases in the budget?

That article just cracked me up. OMG, they had a SAM ADAMS at dinner! So I guess if they had PBR it would have been just fine and not worth a mention?? Gees, these people aren't paid anything, they are volunteers. Their expenses total to about $1 a day for the time they spend on this job. Gees, people, give them one conference for all their volunteer time...
you dont know-

Chicago, IL

#60 Mar 14, 2014
ActiveResident wrote:
<quoted text>
It is only because of the Koustas thing. Probably not a single person knew or cared anything about the Park District, which I'm sure has been going to this conference every year for decades. Now all of a sudden "everyone's on the take". The same herd mentality that says "if one person does it, then OBVIOUSLY they all are doing it". Yes, Park Districts always have an amount of money set aside for training. Money earmarked for seminars and conferences, that cannot be used for other purposes. Did they exceed that budget? Have they been asking for huge increases in the budget?
That article just cracked me up. OMG, they had a SAM ADAMS at dinner! So I guess if they had PBR it would have been just fine and not worth a mention?? Gees, these people aren't paid anything, they are volunteers. Their expenses total to about $1 a day for the time they spend on this job. Gees, people, give them one conference for all their volunteer time...
UHH...the Kostas thing was a MURDER trial. It had nothing to do with Oak Forest Park District Spending.

And you are making quite a blanket statement "Not a single person knew or cared about the Park District" Which is incredibly wrong on your part.

I had a conversation with Cindy several years ago- because I care about our Parks and bringing questionable activity to her attention was the right thing to do . I told her " Oak Forest Park District would be a headline in the Southtown" She could have given a Rats Ass!

I'd like to tell her, TOLD YOU SO! I'd like to tell the Southtown, and County investigators to keep digging-there is a lot more there to uncover.

Just because you are "volunteering" on the board or as a coach in a sports program, it doesn't give you carte blanche to take advantage of Taxpayers..
Really

Tinley Park, IL

#61 Mar 14, 2014
I am not paying for anyone's Sam Adams or PBR!!!!! You don't get it!!!! That's our money. Their training budget should not include the hotels and dinners. Anything 5-10 years ago was easily hidden. Now with FOI they can't hide anymore. Yes, it is a volunteer job. Yes it is. Get it? I do. Anybody who continued to put this conference in the budget should not be reelected. It's a waste of money. Nothing spectacular has been discovered at this conference to include how to save money by not going to expensive conferences. Stop wasting our money.

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