Politics can typically plod along at a frequently annoying aomeba’s paces and then voila! Without any musicial interlude or other cue, another major shuffle of the deck occurs and the public is left scratching its head as to what took so long for it to happen in the first place.
During the 2015 elections, there were two seats open with the Midlothian Park District. During the election season, aggressions of varying sizes and degrees were poured forth by individuals such as Evelyn Gleason in her role as Park District Director (her front page and board approved “news” in the local paper) as well as her role as Board member with District 228, but she’s never been alone when it came to carrying out her strategies and agenda within multiple municipal units.
Here is a short list of the main Cast of Characters attached to the next installment of the True Legend of Evelyn Gleason:
Evelyn Gleason District 228 Board Member | Recently Retired Park District Director | Current President of MidMark Water Commission
Michael Kohlstedt Park District President | Village of Midlothian Clerk
Sharon Rybak Village of Midlothian President | Park District Finance Director
Medard Narko Park District Attorney
Dominic Egizio Current Park District Director
Fast forward to April 30, 2016. Timothy “Tim” Powers has vacated his seat through resignation and Dominic Egizio has already been selected prior to Evelyn Gleason’s retirement. News report of the allegations of Egizio had already made it in front of the community and questions began surfacing as to the process undertaken to select Egizio.
At the May 19, 2016 meeting, there was intense discussion surrounding the right of a board to interview potential candidates for the empty Commissioners seat that eventually landed on the interviews being done in public, the first being at 6:00 p.m. and the second being at 6:30 p.m.
However, at some point, Egizio was likely responsible for crafting an agenda that listed the interviews to be conducted at the beginning of the meeting and in Executive Session, as he was appointed Secretary at the May 19th meeting.
The meeting was called to order and after roll call and the Pledge of Allegiance, President Michael Kohlstedt called for a motion to go to Executive Session. Long-time ally, Commissioner Chuck Nielson made the motion…and then silence. Lots of silence. Kolhstedt even gave Commissioner Marihelen Brinker-Neu a long stare, glanced at Commissioner Frank Pierson and both Nielson and Kohlstedt appeared to be stalling for time as they clearly were not expecting the call for Executive Session to fall flat.
At the time, Park District Attorney Medard Narko was not present and there was little thought given to Evelyn Gleason showing up and saving the day with her “savvy and know-how.” It isn’t even worth pondering whether or not she could have prevented the failure of the motion, as its been known for quite a while that both Pierson and Brinker-Neu had ability to stand separate from the influence of the WDP.
Kohlstedt then moved the meeting to the next item on the agenda, which was the public portion of the meeting. If Kohlstedt and Nielson weren’t expecting the motion to flop, then it can be said that none of the Commissioners were expecting the length and duration of the conversation that was allowed to flow for approximately 25 minutes.
Some highlights woven throughout the conversations
1. It was discovered that it was President Michael Kohlstedt who controlled the selection process for a new Director by acting as a funnel for the 25+ applicants also examined by Evelyn Gleason and Sharon Rybak before 3 were chosen for the rest of the board members to choose from.
2. The Board was fully aware of the allegations against Dominic Egizio from a former co-worker at the time of the interview and Kohlstedt said the Board had been satisfied with the responses given by Egizio.
3. Kohlstedt tries to silence a resident using Roberts Rules of Order while ignoring Park District Attorney Medard Narko’s own violations and allowing accusations to be put on public record that a resident was acting as a “nuisance” when they “sandbagged” the board by asking who the number 2 candidate was and also tried to put a FOIA request in front of the information.
4. The Board was asked what qualifications had set Egizio apart from the other candidates and there was no clear answer given by Kohlstedt or any other members.
If Evelyn Gleason had still been Park District Director, this would have never have happened that way. Of course, we wouldn’t have an Egizio either, but his appointment is just another example of what kind of legacy she had no problem leaving behind in her place.
A completely different kind of cloud hanging over the job title of Park District Director.
Maybe she wanted us to appreciate her more by showing us what happens when she leaves a position…a paid one at that…? Sort of like how she threw such a silent temper tantrum when her referendum failed for an indoor pool and she then decided to literally wipe out the existing outdoor pool…with the help of a family contractor. She got to blame the public for the Park District not having a pool because the referendum failed to build an indoor one rather than taking accountability for poor planning and then planning for corrective actions…just like how she went ahead and spent $25,000 of the Village’s money improving a property they pay the Village $500 every three months to make a profit from ($20,000 was last year’s estimates). The pool topic came up during this meeting as well, but this is how the Evelyn Gleason Show works behind the scenes.
Talk about retro-active employee retaliation by a former employee of the Park District. Help hire someone with allegations of any kind because according to Evelyn Gleason, Sharon Rybak and Michael Kohlstedt there is just no one else better than Mr. Dominic Egizio that had interest in the position…
BTW…Sharon Rybak was not in attendance at this particular meeting.