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posted: 3/20/2010 12:01 AM

Do some Kane Co. officials get free golf?

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Kane County Forest Preserve Commissioners might not officially get free rounds of golf at district courses, but there may not be any strict oversight making sure they don't play for free either.

Commissioner Jim Mitchell of North Aurora began a committee meeting Friday by delivering a message on behalf of forest preserve district President John Hoscheit, who could not attend. Mitchell said there have recently been questions about whether or not commissioners are hitting the links for free.

"The answer is no," Mitchell said. "There are some free passes available. Some commissioners use those for their charitable activities. We're not like park districts that get free golf."

The history of the commissioners using the free passes indicates they are heavily involved in charitable activity. There are 200 free passes available for the 26 commissioners and assorted district staff members to use for each of the district's three golf courses - Settler's Hill in Batavia, Hughes Creek in Elburn and Deer Valley in Big Rock.

Finance Director Robert Quinlan handles the requests for the free passes. He said the elected officials of the district use just about all of the free passes available. And they are usually all gone by the end of September each year. Quinlan doesn't ask or track whom the commissioners ultimately give those free passes to. There aren't any records kept on the back end of who redeems the passes.

"The idea with our golf courses are to make money," Quinlan said. "We use the passes for promotional activity. There's never been any secret golf around here. (Commissioners) have never had walk-on free golf."

But is it possible a commissioner could use the free passes to play golf themselves?

"If they're doing that, they don't tell me," Quinlan said.