DeKALB – The DeKalb Park Board members spent 45 minutes discussing personnel behind closed doors this week but made no comment on Executive Director Cindy Capek’s status.
Capek, whose annual salary is $116,981, was not at Thursday’s public meeting, the first since board members had a closed-door meeting about personnel May 24. At least one park commissioner is concerned about secrecy surrounding that meeting, but board President Phil Young declined to comment late Thursday.
“I can’t make any comments about personnel,” Young said when asked about Capek’s employment status and the park district’s policy on severances.
With Capek as the top administrator, the district has grappled with plans to renovate Hopkins Pool and with public outcry after ComEd cleared trees underneath power lines along the Nature Trail. Portions of the trail have been replanted, and the pool renovations were put on hold May 9 after three new park commissioners – Per Faivre, Don Irving and Keith Nyquist – joined the board.
On Thursday, the board went into executive session for 45 minutes after spending 45 minutes discussing other issues at the public meeting. After the closed session, the board instantly adjourned without taking any public action or making public comments.
Young privately met with James Rock, the park district’s attorney, for another 45 minutes in the executive director’s office before taking media questions.
Young had previously said he hoped to make some kind of statement about the situation at this meeting. When asked what had changed since making those comments, Young declined to comment.
“Whenever we can make a comment, it will be through public forum,” Young said.
Capek is still listed as the executive director on the park district’s website, but her phone extension no longer works. The executive director office where Young and Rock spoke lacked personal effects Thursday. In the alphabetized mailbox used by the administrative staff, the slot that would have Capek’s name is unmarked.
Meanwhile, Commissioner Mike Teboda protested the secrecy of the May 24 meeting by voting against the approval of its minutes. Teboda did not attend that meeting, Young said.
The minutes state the board went into executive session, then came back to the public meeting to direct Young to “talk to personnel about personnel employment.”
“It’s not very clear,” Teboda said. “It’s confusing. For Joe Public to come in, it would be confusing.”
Teboda said he would want to see more elaboration in the minutes.
Young did not comment on Teboda’s response, just noting that nothing was changed in the minutes.