After reading your front page article about the park district conference, I have to admit that I'm disappointed -- not with my local park district, but with the normally fair and objective reporting from the Daily Herald. It's easy to jump on the bandwagon after the recent frivolous spending antics from the GSA and the Secret Service. Your story was quick to point out dollar amounts that make for a nice headline. But it was short on facts.
While, I am not a park district employee, I have had some firsthand experience as I was asked to speak at this conference about 10 years ago. I can tell you, these people are an extremely dedicated, hardworking bunch. When I had the privilege to attend and speak at their conference I saw this group started at 7 a.m. and continued working well into the evening. During the day, it was one class or meeting after another.
Considering the long hours and the difficult, expensive commute into the city, I see no problem with suburban park district attendees staying a couple of nights. Let's not forget it's $52 a day just to park at the Hyatt!
Yes, I'm sure there were a small handful of people who may have taken advantage of a few additional perks. But, this is hardly front-page news. Let's not blindly condemn everyone. I saw nothing in your article about misuse of taxpayer dollars on inappropriate items or behavior. I do not feel staying downtown when working extraordinarily long days was out of line or a waste of my tax dollars. My park district provides a ton of programs for our community. Frankly, it provides a terrific service to all residents at very low cost to the taxpayers.