Bensenville park board officially gives leader his 4th concurrent job
Bensenville park commissioners voted to approve a contract with their new interim executive director Wednesday night, giving Joseph C. Vallez his fourth top management job at the same time in the suburban parks and recreation industry.
By a 2-1 vote with commissioners Jim Geils and Tom Earley absent, the board voted to authorize an employment agreement with Vallez from Dec. 14 through April 30, giving the panel time to conduct a search and hire a permanent executive director.
"What Joe brings is professionalism to bridge the gap," park board President Rich Johnson said.
The agreement pays Vallez $6,000 a month without requiring a certain number of hours on the job. The deal lists duties Vallez will perform as chief administrator, but the lack of specificity about his schedule drew opposition from Commissioner John Wassinger, who cast the dissenting vote.
"My concerns are ... I have a commitment of compensation but I have no commitment to how many hours or what I'm getting," Wassinger said.
Vallez said he needs to evaluate the district before he can determine the time it will take to keep operations running. He said his role is to assist the coaches, teachers, recreation planners and maintenance workers who are the true face of the district.
"My philosophy on being a director is to support the staff and let them communicate to me the things that they need to be successful," Vallez said. "And I would, in turn, try to do whatever I could to give them the tools to be successful in what they do."
But some worried his other jobs -- as executive director of park districts in North Berwyn and Justice and as superintendent of parks and recreation in Marengo -- could take away from the time he can devote to his fourth and newest position.
"I am concerned about your time commitment to the village of Bensenville and the Bensenville Park District and how you're going to manage that time," said resident Allan Devitt, the only person to speak in public comment with concerns about the contract.
Resident Paul DeMichele countered Devitt's worries.
"I think he is the right guy for the job," DeMichele said about Vallez.
In a vote earlier this month to hire Vallez, a majority of the five park commissioners said they did, too. But Wassinger and Earley voted against the hire.
Vallez's contract gives him $100 a month for automobile-related expenses but waives his right to vacation, sick days, health insurance and pension benefits through the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund.
He already made a total of $244,714 at his three jobs in 2015 and stands to make about $27,000 from Bensenville if he serves the contract through its April 30 expiration. The park board and Vallez each can terminate the agreement with five days' written notice.
The need for an interim director arose earlier this month when the board terminated former Executive Director Rick Robbins' contract early. Robbins otherwise would have served through Jan. 31 on a roughly $115,000 annual contract.
Johnson and Commissioner Valerie Karg said they've spoken with commissioners in other districts where Vallez is employed and heard rave reviews.
"I'm fully confident that he can maintain business around here," Karg said. "We do have a good staff and I'm sure he's relying on that so he doesn't have to micromanage."