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Letter: A tale of two cities

Published: Friday, Sept. 20, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT

The September 17th edition of the Daily Chronicle headlined Sycamore and DeKalb’s search for pool solutions. Both communities’ park districts face the issue of how best to deal with their aging swimming pools and whether to update or replace.

As a DeKalb resident, I find the Sycamore Park District’s approach to the decision making process refreshingly democratic, with a small d. Sycamore’s park district leaders plan to send out surveys to residents by the end of the year so residents can weigh in on what they think and desire regarding updating or replacing their town’s pool.

Contrast Sycamore’s democratic approach to DeKalb’s, where DeKalb Park District President Phil Young is quoted in the Chronicle article as saying “the board is focused to listening to pool staff and has put decision-making on hold. He went on to say “One of the first things I’m going to ask [candidates vying to replace the vacant executive director position] is ‘How you are going to handle our pool situation?’ ”

My take-away from Chris Burrows’ Chronicle article is that whatever action the Sycamore Park District finally takes will be based on constructive community input. In contrast, the DeKalb Park District leadership appears focused on a solution to be handed down from the next DeKalb Park District executive director and the board, leavened with perhaps a little input from the pool staff. This type of top- down decision-making, with little or no public input (or input ignored) is sure to lead to continued park district turmoil and another bad decision-making outcome at some future date.

My plea to the DeKalb Park District Board: please make sure our voices are heard up front and not after-the-fact. Remember that you represent us and serve on our behalf. Ultimately we, the taxpayers, will be the ones tasked with picking up the tab behind your decision making. We deserve to be heard!

James Butler

DeKalb

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