Naperville Park District board approves diversity resolution after some debate
Naperville Park District board members unanimously approved a resolution confirming a commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion this week, but not without some debate.
Presented by commissioners Rhonda Ansier and Mary Gibson at Thursday's board meeting, the resolution states the park district will continue to strive to "create and maintain an environment where all members of our community feel welcome, safe and valued."
Board member Josh McBroom agreed with the sentiments but questioned why the values need to be reaffirmed if there's no evidence of unacceptable behavior from staff.
Commissioner Rich Janor agreed with McBroom that the resolution needed something actionable to be effective. Janor suggested forming a diversity committee, which the board collectively agreed to consider down the road.
McBroom said he believes the wording of the resolution makes it look like "a political statement."
"I'm not sure that's the intention," McBroom said. "If there's some action that could be taken, I would certainly take that under consideration."
Another resolution failed to pass on Thursday. It would have directed staff not to approach anyone in park district facilities regarding enforcement of the state mask mandate. The vote was 5-2, with only McBroom and Janor voting in favor.
The majority of board members also disagreed with McBroom and Janor on the diversity resolution, saying it falls in line with similar statements by the city and other park districts, including previous resolutions by the Naperville Park District that didn't require specific action.
"It's not necessarily that we're saying the park district is doing anything wrong," board member Alison Thompson said. "But there's always more we can be doing to be inclusive, to be welcoming, especially for such a diverse city as Naperville."