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posted: 5/6/2010 12:01 AM

Libertyville parks chief out as village reorganize department

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  • James Zych's former position now is described as director of recreation & Sports Complex, an indication the focus has changed to boost the struggling center at Peterson Road and Route 45.

      James Zych's former position now is described as director of recreation & Sports Complex, an indication the focus has changed to boost the struggling center at Peterson Road and Route 45.
    Vince Pierri | Staff Photographer

 
 

James Zych, veteran director of parks and recreation in Libertyville, is out as the village pursues a new focus and responsibilities for the position.

Hired in late 2003, Zych was released from the $105,053 job Monday as he reported to work.

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The move is an indicator of the village's push to maximize use of the Libertyville Sports Complex with an emphasis on marketing.

"It had nothing to do with James," Mayor Terry Weppler said Wednesday. "I think we needed some fresh ideas."

The first order of business Monday for Zych was to have been a review of the Ironhorse Rally, which drew thousands of motorcyclists the previous day. Instead, he was pink slipped.

While still listed Wednesday as the department head in the village's online staff directory, an "employment opportunity" for the position was posted Tuesday on the village website.

"We've eliminated that position. We're reorganizing the whole department," said village Trustee Drew Cullum, who heads the village board's parks and recreation committee.

Public works employees, for example, will handle park maintenance.

Zych's former position now is described as director of recreation & Sports Complex, an indication the focus has changed to boost the struggling center at Peterson Road and Route 45.

Weppler said the intent is to "make that position more marketing, to really get that Sports Complex going as much as possible."

The job description for the newly created position asks for someone to manage the recreation and Libertyville Sports Complex department, which is comprised of 13 full-time employees and has a budget of $5.2 million.

Responsibilities also include managing the Sports Complex, recreation programs, two community swimming pools, a senior center and the village's Par 3 golf course.

Two of the three facilities that comprise the center have been for sale. The overall complex has fallen more than $7 million short of paying those bills since it opened in 2002, and village leaders are focused on maximizing their use.

In late February, the village board held an informal brainstorming session that included ideas such as midnight movies or poker tournaments.

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