LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Posted September 20, 2018
In January, MaryAnn Becker, Office Administrator for the Taylorville Park District was contacted with a request that TSD be put on the monthly meeting agenda. The purpose was to discuss an upcoming sewer project. It was stated that Jeff Large (Taylorville native) with Crawford, Murphy & Tilly would attend to explain the project. MaryAnn stated that a representative of the TSD board should attend.
NOT ONE SINGLE TSD BOARD MEMBER ATTENDED THIS MEETING! Nor did they call, write or contact in any way or fashion the Park District Office, President, Board Trustees or Supervisor of Maintenance.
However, I cannot say the same of Jeff Large. Granted he cannot legally speak for nor negotiate on behalf of TSD as the Project Manager, but he has worked honestly and diligently to satisfy any questions and concerns regarding the actual placement of the line with the Taylorville Park District and reclamation or inactivation of the existing line that runs under the south pond.
Between January and June there is February, March, April and May. That is how many months passed with no further contact or “sharing of information” by TSD.
Many board members, including myself were concerned over the directions of the lines around our beautiful trees that make Manners Park such a wonderful place for the community as well as the possibility of damage to some of our new roads. Jeff Large came out and spent time with Gary Brown and discussed placement of the proposed sewer lines. I went to to Manners Park and physically reviewed the placement as outlined by Jeff and felt it was satisfactory.
Now let’s fast forward to late June and I receive a call from Jeff Large requesting to be added to the agenda for the following week. I told him that is fine, we would be glad to but WOULDN’T IT BE APPROPRIATE FOR SOME KIND OF CONTACT FROM THE TSD BOARD???
We discussed the fact that he could not LEGALLY speak for TSD and I suggested he contact them regarding attendance at the June meeting. I had no clue who served on the TSD Board besides Tom Fergin. That’s when I found out Frank Blanchfield and Tom Snyder is the remaining board members.
I told Jeff that I felt they were assuming this was just a done deal, rubber stamped and they needed to make NO EFFORT whatsoever to come and discuss this issue with us. I had seen in their June meeting reported in this paper that they had proceeded to get all of the necessary permits, expenditures for same and had even negotiated free services to the city but had yet made NO CONTACT WITH THE PARK DISTRICT where the lines for this project will begin.
So Jeff Large called Frank Blanchfield and they both attended the June meeting.
We discussed in depth the direction/placement of the new line, time line for work to be done in conjunctions with park district programs, vacating and filling of the existing line and that Mr. Blanchfield needed to have their attorney contact our attorney Quinn Broverman so a contract could be negotiated and ready for the July meeting. DID NOT HAPPEN!
July rolls around and there is no further contact from anyone with TSD.
Now we are up to August. Jeff Large calls the park office on August 21, 2018 and asks Recreation Director Bailey Hancock to be added to the meeting agenda for the 27th. He asked her if the easement agreement was done and she said to her knowledge there had been NO FURHTER CONTACT FROM MR. BLANCHFIELD OR TSD. We put them on the agenda anyway solely at Jeff Larges request.
MaryAnn submits the agenda to the media in accordance with the guidelines of the “Open Meetings Act” every Thursday morning before a meeting the following Monday. By Thursday, August 24, it was a done deal.
Mr. Atterberry, attorney for TSD, that same day walked into Quinn Broverman’s office at 5 P.m. and tossed a document onto his desk stating that this is the “contract” for approval at Monday’s meeting. He was promptly informed that could not happen because it was not listed for approval on the agenda and neither he nor any of the Park District’s Board has had an opportunity to review the document.
On Friday afternoon, August 25, Quinn Broverman received an email from Jeff Large regarding the need of my signature on a document prepared by Frank Blanchfield for the Railroad to satisfy their need of a proven agreement to adjoining property owners (TPD and City of Taylorville) stating we are aware of and consent to their digging a bore pit on both properties to run the sewer line underneath the railroad. Quinn forwarded this to the park office and MaryAnn contacted me regarding this on Monday (August 27) when the office reopened. The meeting was scheduled for that evening.
Mr. Atteerberry, Mr. Blanchfield and Jeff Large were all in attendance at the August 27 meeting. They seemed shocked when they were again informed the contract could not be signed. I guess they don’t understand the Open Meetings Act or the responsibility we all have to adhere to its guidelines. It is a law!
I asked Mr. Atterberry why he had not bothered to submit a contract in a timely manner prior to this meeting. His response was “well I was just informed of this 3 weeks ago”. Mr. Blanchfield said he didn’t remember being told anything in June? That got a response from the ENTIRE board of directors.
NO ONE from this paper attended our August meeting but evidently by the “tone” of your article from the TSD monthly meeting bought into their “poor little me” uncooperative park district line of garbage. We certainly once again were not contacted for comment. Probably because the TRUTH doesn’t quite play out to their advantage. It’s a little difficult to work with someone when they’re never around, doesn’t attend meetings for 5 months and then doesn’t recall what is told to them when they are in attendance and evidently are unaware of the confines of the Open Meetings Act.
We were elected by the Tax Payers of this Municipality to represent them and protect the Park District and we are diligent. We receive NO COMPENSATION OF ANY KIND for our service on this board and are proud of that fact. We work hard to be fair TO THE COMMUNITY AT LARGE and cooperate to the best of our ability. We EXPECT the same when someone wants or needs something that involves any park district property. We EXPECT them to act in a professional and courteous fashion.
Yesterday Quinn received a new contract from Mr. Atterberry with arrogant undertones and threats. This is a direct quote from his email;
“Dear Quinn, I have retyped your client’s requests, then put forward our response and rational after each. Many of the issues are resolvable. However, if the Park District does not want to go forward, that is fine. This is more to help the park district than to hurt it. There is a 40 year old system in place now. That fails, the park district and the sanitary district will be dealing with a huge sewer issue. TSD board is ready to pull the park district portion of the project off the table and (in there words) let the park district deal with the public fall out when (not if) the current sewer lines crash.” Definitely professional! Right!
TSD still has a permanent easement on the existing line and has since the agreement on November 19, 1973:
1) The sewer line is the property of TSD.
2) In the Breeze Courier article from September 12, 2018, it states TSD stated they may have to rework the project to use the existing easement.
3) Jeff Large in January when questioned why the existing line cannot be used stated due to its condition it would not be possible and must be vacated in a legal and safe fashion.
I find it all somewhat bewildering and confusing. I guess we were just supposed to “rubber stamp” what they wanted to do? That no one from TSD needed or needs to act in a professional and courteous manner? That they would just come onto park district property with carte blanche?
Sorry, but I’m not “A Good Ole Boy” and I rubber stamp nothing when it comes to the priority of this Park District.
Marlane M. Miller, Chairperson
Taylorville Park District Board