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Letters to the Editor

Disenchanted by nomination of parks director for Athena Award

To the Editor:

I’m disappointed to see the executive director of DeKalb’s Park District, Amy Doll, being promoted for the Athena Award as an example to follow or as someone who “opens paths so that others may follow,” given what I know. Amy was hired for her current position in May 2016 and by that September she and a much lower ranking employee were told that one had to resign within 24 hours because of their “romantic relationship”, which violates the Park District’s nepotism policy. The other option was for the board to “vote on the dismissal of one or both of them.” Someone resigned and it wasn’t Ms. Doll. It is my opinion that the leader of any group should be held to the highest standard set. Policies prevent abuse of power and when an executive director is given carte blanche to break the policies it often emboldens additional abuses. Further, this indiscretion, and questionable decision by board leadership, allowed Ms. Doll to remain employed at tax payers’ expense (she’ll earn $124,300.80 this year).

How does an executive director breaking company policies exhibit striving for the highest level of professional accomplishment? Would this look or have been handled differently if Ms. Doll were a man abusing his position of power toward a subordinate?

Additionally, the Athena Award is intended to go to an individual who “opens paths so that others may follow”. It’s outlandish that Ms. Doll could be considered such a leader. She has had at least two serious concerns leveled against her during her brief tenure.

One is an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission complaint of discrimination against her for refusing to even interview a seasonal employee for a full-time position. According to a letter to the board, Ms. Doll allegedly said she would never hire her because the woman looked like her ex-husband’s new fiancée.

According to another document I obtained, an open letter to the board said Doll ran up large legal fees and was the root cause of part of the Park District unionizing and for creating a toxic work culture where many employees feel they are walking on eggshells.

As I follow the proposal to close or repurpose golf courses, citing that the program is losing money, I can only wonder why nobody has inquired as to the state of the revenues and finances from 2016 on, as Ms. Doll’s relationship created an entire turnover in that department. How exactly does any of this exhibit Ms. Doll opening paths for others?

Ultimately, I wonder many things, two I’ll posit here: Do DeKalb taxpayers know what their latest park district executive director is up to and is she really what their children should hold as an Athena role model? Ms. Doll clearly needs to go, now, before she incurs more expenses on the backs of city of DeKalb residents while abusing her position of power.

Voters may also want to consider new board representation.

Sarah Slavenas

Genoa

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