Paul Osborne's
Park Board Candidate Fires Back At President Kenny’s Response About Meeting Times 

Decatur Park Board Candidate John Davis, after reading Board President Jack Kenny's remarks in the article earlier in this column, fired back with his own response.
Davis said: "President Kenny also suggested  that, one reason the meetings are held at noon is 'because of the members of staff that have to participate in the meetings, which makes it an extra time commitment for them and they would have to be paid more for the extra time spent at meetings conducted in the evenings.'
" It is very important to keep your employees happy, but reporting to the taxpayers is one of their main responsibilities. President Kenny fails to mention that the employees are paid by our tax dollars, and it is their responsibility to report to the people of the Decatur Park District no matter what time.  
"I believe taxpayers should come first.  This is why if elected I will not push to change the time and location of meetings, but I will also send out notes of the meetings to the members of the media, so everyone has the opportunity to know what is going on inside the Decatur Park District. "

Park Board President Strongly Disagrees With Candidate’s Statement On District’s Lack Of Accessibility

Jack Kenny, President of the Decatur Park District Board of Commissioners called me in reaction to board candidate John Davis’ comments about “accessibility” to meetings that was printed in last week’s Tribune.
Kenny told me that he didn’t know where Davis got his information, but the lack of public accessibility claim is not true.
Davis stated last week: “I believe, that the public’s business should be conducted openly, and that the citizens should be given notice of, and the right to attend all meetings at which any business of that public body is discussed, or  acted upon in any way. 
“That means the citizens should have open and easy access to attend those meetings. 
“As it exists now, the Decatur Park Board meets every other Wednesday at 12:00 noon. The meetings are at the offices of the Park District, 620 E Riverside Dr., in Decatur. 
“The meetings take place in the board room. To get to the board room, one has to go through the upstairs offices, down a steep flight of stairs, through a hallway and into the Board Room. The location is virtually inaccessible for a person with physical disabilities and completely inaccessible for any citizen who must use a wheel chair.”
Kenny said there are two ways to get to the board room.  One is from the upper floor referred to by Davis, and the other is from the lower level which is handicap accessible, complete with a ramp for wheelchairs.  He added, there is a sign that states “Board Room” posted outside the south side of the building.

ANOTHER ISSUE that Davis brought up in his news release was: “The time of the meetings is also inappropriate. The Park Board is the only public body in the county that holds its meeting at noon instead of in the evening. 
“People who work during the day and only have a brief period for lunch 
can’t get to the meetings. 
“Therefore, the very first motion I shall make when elected to the Board of Commissioners, is to change the time of the regular meeting to every other Wednesday at 6:30 pm, and to change the location of the meeting, alternating between Hickory Point golf course club house and Scovill banquet facility.”
Kenny said that, one reason the meetings are held at noon is because of the members of staff that have to participate in the meetings, which makes it an extra time commitment for them and they would have to be paid more for the extra time spent at meetings conducted in the evenings.
Kenny also said, that, when it is believed the Park District Board will be dealing with high priority issues, such as the recent land trade, the meeting is held at another location, such as the facility at Scovill, to accommodate those wanting to attend.
Kenny said, that on some of those occasions, only four or five people attend.
He also said that often, during the regular meeting twice a month, there is not even one member of the public in attendance.
Of course, the argument could be made that hardly anyone shows up at the mid-day meetings because most people are at work and don’t want to take the time off. 
If Davis wins a seat on the board, I doubt the votes will be there from the other commissioners to change the location or the time of the meetings.

ENDORSEMENTS: The Legislative Committee of Decatur Trades & Labor Assembly, representing more than 13,000 union members and retirees in Macon County, announced last week that they are endorsing G. E. Livingston in the mayor’s race, Bill Faber and David Horn for two of the three seats open on city council. 
In the race for Decatur Park Board, they endorsed Bob Brilley and Stacey Young.
The committee also stated: "The mission of Decatur Trades and Labor Assembly, AFL-CIO, of Macon County is to improve the lives of working families-to bring economic justice to the workplace and social justice to our state and the nation.  The organization is a key part of the nation's largest and strongest labor federation-the  AFL-CIO, which unites 10 million working women and men of every race and ethnicity and from every walk of life."
They indicated that “endorsements were based on the priorities of candidates in relation to the issues of working families”.

QUESTIONNAIRE: One part of the process of endorsing candidates by the Legislative Committee of Decatur Trades & Labor Assembly is a questionnaire that is sent to each candidate to better determine if they share some of the same values and goals as the Assembly.
This year’s questionnaire had 9 questions, with some of them related to passing a Responsible Bidder Ordinance and the candidates’ feelings on Right To Work.
I’m certain answers to those questions played a role in determining which candidates to endorse. It only makes sense that any group would want to endorse the candidates they feel will best represent them. 



Listen to the “City Hall Insider” hour with Paul Osborne on Byers & Co. at 7:00 every Thursday morning over NEWS/TALK 1340 WSOY.  



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