Illinois Park Fracas Leads to Dismissals
The Roodhouse (Ill.) City Council voted 4-2 during an emergency meeting Monday (March 21) to remove all sitting members of the Roodhouse Park Board and replace the caretakers at Community Park, the Alton Telegraph reported.
The city’s Parks and Recreation Committee — made up of Aldermen Ray Newingham, chairman, Bruce Bryant and Jim Holder — will assume oversight responsibilities formerly handled by the park board, effective immediately.
"The Roodhouse Park Board, who answers to the Roodhouse City Council, after having disputes with me and the council, decided that they would shut down the Roodhouse Campground," Mayor Joe Snyder wrote in an e-mail Tuesday. "Campers received a letter from the Park Board signed by the caretaker, Pat Inman, Park Board President James Roady and Vice President Vern Goodman, along with campers’ $100 deposit, informing campers that the campground would not be opening April 1. Campers were furious and called the city, wanting answers. "
Snyder said he spent almost a week talking with 40 campers about misinformation they had been given by the park board officers. He said the city reissued their camping slots and accepted their camping fee deposits.
Snyder said the city has been having problems with the Park Board for some time, and the issue has been the topic of many City Council discussions. He said they were trying to seek a resolution that would allow the city to receive the proper financial documents from the Park Board, as is required.
Recently, Snyder said, large donations from city accounts became the topic of dispute.
"We had a park board that seemed as though they were liquidating their accounts and refused to give the City Council information to explain their actions," Snyder said. "The City Council and I questioned over $14,000 being removed from the city accounts by the park board to other accounts, and our City Attorney Anne Clough said that was a problem."
Snyder said they contacted the city’s banking institution, asking that park Bbard accounts be frozen, but were told the bank required a copy of minutes or a letter from the city attorney showing action had been taken by the council to assume responsibility for the account.
Snyder then called for Monday’s emergency City Council meeting, which convened at 2 p.m. A motion to remove all sitting members of the Park Board passed on a vote of 4-2. Voting no were Aldermen Garrett Rogers and Charles Huffines; voting yes were Bryant, Holder, Newingham and David Mead. The council, with members voting the same way, then approved replacing the current caretakers with John Craft.
In his presentation to the council prior to Monday’s vote, Snyder said the park board injured the Roodhouse Community Park and Campgrounds by misinforming patrons of the facility in an attempt to interrupt the 2011 camping season. He showed the council a copy of the letter received by a registered camper from the Park Board, which was sent to the campers along with the return of their registration deposit.
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