DeKALB – DeKalb Park District commissioners are evaluating the way the park district operates and are looking for a new commissioner after a meeting Monday night.
After a 90-minute closed-session to discuss undisclosed personnel, Interim Director Ray Ochromowicz spelled out what he believes needs to change in the district based on his observations in the past two months.
“It was very clear within a week that there is a lack of teamwork, a lack of unity and a lack of connection,” Ochromowicz told the Chronicle.
The board hired Ochromowicz on Jan. 29 to act as the part-time interim director during the search for a permanent executive director.
In addition looking for a new director, the board will need to search for a new commissioner after Mike Teboda, who was first elected in 2003 and was not at Monday’s meeting, resigned for health reasons. Teboda’s resignation was announced by Board President Phil Young.
Young said the board will try to appoint someone as quickly as possible to fill Teboda’s position in order to have a full board in time for interviews for the new executive director later this month.
In the meantime, Ochromowicz suggested commissioners consider some changes. Beyond staff operating in silos, Ochromowicz said he also had concerns about the way commissioners and staff members interact. He advised commissioners and staff members should not discuss business outside of public meetings, because it leads to commissioners becoming champions of certain projects.
“That’s not fair to staff who don’t have those relationships with board members,” Ochromowicz said.
He also suggested commissioners adhere to a board policy manual that explains how commissioners should conduct themselves. Finally, he suggested commissioners go through an exhaustive orientation process that would come into play from the time a potential commissioner picks up a packet to run for the board to the time he or she is elected.
Young agreed with Ochromowicz’s recommendations, noting three members of the five-member board were new last year.
“We wanted him to assess operations,” Young said. “We recognize sometimes there needs to be tweaking and adjustments. I think we all need to make sure we’re on the same page.”