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Embattled Wass Leaves Park Board

Park Board commissioner says his resignation does not mean, "that the Park Board will be free to pursue its old wasteful spending ways without a watchdog in its house."

Effective immediately, Oswegoland Park Board commissioner Leonard Wass has handed in his resignation from the board.

Wass cited issues he has with the board, namely that he believes the board puts the taxpayer's interest last and is out of touch with community interests.

At November's meeting, Wass fought for a 20 percent tax levy reduction, citing examples of where cuts and possible profits could be made, again clashing with board members.

Below is the full text of Wass' resignation that he delivered to the board on Thursday evening:

Dear Editor: 

It has been a great disappointment for me to be part of a board that puts the taxpayer’s interest last, and believes that a 20 year incumbency allows certain board members to do what ever they want at the expense of the community. 

My campaign promise to taxpayers was to fight the unbridled reckless spending of the OPD Board in order to cut expenses, keep spending curtailed, and reflect cost savings in lower property tax bills.  The continued ownership of a lovely, but now vacant, home and lot on the river on North Adams Street is a prime example of this waste.

Our community has over 50 parks which require significant maintenance and upkeep, and yet this board sees no problems with owning more parks, a golf course, and a child care and babysitting facility.  I have requested to see Profit and Loss statements from our “new” accounting system starting 20 months ago but this request has been a low priority and not acted on.  This Board has no interest in knowing whether it prices its services at breakeven, or has taxpayers subsidizing services they do not use.  The elderly on fixed incomes really feel the brunt.

I was pleased that there was limited movement toward realizing some cost reductions. For example: Two vacated senior positions were left unfilled, in one year the golf course went from a loss to a profit, and a modest reduction was made to the 2013 tax levy. Unfortunately for taxpayers, these gains were modest in contrast to what the Board could, and should have, gained had they been looking closely at fiscal operations as their fiduciary duty calls for.

At the last Board meeting I showed how we could easily pass a 20% savings on to the taxpayers in 2013.  This Board refused to give, or even consider giving, these savings back to the taxpayers, stating publicly that it wishes to maintain the prerogative of taxing our already overburdened taxpayers even more in the future, and also by saying that Park District taxes are small in comparison to other taxing bodies.  This attitude is totally disingenuous, but unfortunately consistent with everything I’ve seen over the past two years. 

This Board, many who have overstayed their useful time, are out of touch members who are entrenched in attitudes that are not conducive to either taxpayer or community interests.  They see no reason to make changes, cut spending, or lower taxes.  In fact they see nothing wrong with patting themselves on the back while wasting even more taxpayer money.   This board is almost Jurassic.  It is living in the past and not the present. 

Just a week ago I told the Board in an open Finance Committee meeting that several Park employees told a senior elected official that they knew where many cost reductions opportunities were, but could not bring them forth for fear of losing their jobs- but once again this was met with disbelief, denial, and rejection- a pattern of behavior consistent with what I have witnessed consistently for my almost two years on the board. 

An example of this Board’s hostility to all criticism and suggestion is that after being a member of the Oswego community for over 25 years, raising two sons and putting them through the Oswego school system, this board wasted thousands of dollars of taxpayer money for legal fees, over six months, trying to drum up phony residency charges on me in an effort to discredit me.  Fortunately, my Attorneys and the States Attorney put that issue to rest, but not until after this Board enriched the Park District lawyers with taxpayer money.

In conclusion I hope that the out of touch board members will not seek reelection in the future allowing some new blood to help the community by carrying out its fiduciary responsibilities to the taxpayers in a steadfast manner.   I am ashamed to have served on this Board which, in my opinion, is incompetent. I have spent a 35 year career in managing major corporations and businesses, and this board is a sham and disgrace. 

Therefore, I submit my resignation as a Commissioner of the Oswegoland Park District Board to its President effective immediately. 

Be advised that my resignation does not mean that the Park Board will be free to pursue its old wasteful spending ways without a watchdog in its house. 

My seat will now be open for the April election, and I sincerely hope that a qualified, fiscally responsible voter will come forth to serve.  And I will continue to provide Board oversight from the outside.

Leonard R. Wass

 

READ MORE ON PATCH

  • Park Board Commisioner’s Residency Questioned
  • Park Board Meeting Turns Contentious Again
  • Term Limits Unlikely as Park Commissioners Clash
  • Weis: Park Board Violated Open Meetings Act
  • Confrontation Boils Over at Park Board Workshop
  • Transcript Shows Strain Between Park Board Members
  • Wass Proposes Formal Cost-Saving Goal for Park District

Check Patch later for updates on this story. 

Ralph December 21, 2012 at 08:47 PM
Double S- I apologize. Lets remember when saying the village lowered their levy, that they also increased the sales tax in town, with the village pres casting the tie breaking vote to increase that tax. (was funny to see him at the rally on the bridge with the tea party folks then turning right around and voting for a tax increase) However- Kudos to the township for their work.
Travis McGee December 21, 2012 at 11:36 PM
The only words missing from Mr. Wass's resignation letter were "bah humbug!"
Pat Butler December 21, 2012 at 11:45 PM
Once the OPD has spent the money then there would be no legitimate reason to not authorize the payment of those debts. Not spending the money in the first place is the better idea, but you don't not pay bills once the services have been rendered. So voting in favor to pay bills is in no way an authorization to waste money.
Carol Anaski-Figurski December 22, 2012 at 12:38 AM
happy holidays you'll be missed
Jeri December 28, 2012 at 03:26 AM
This county is all about the "good ole boy' system. Mr. Wass I appreciate you and your efforts. People evidently do not appreciate anyone being questioned. I can appreciate your peacefulness without this corrupt county breathing down your neck. Nobody wants to be questioned and many taxpayers support the "good ole boy" system. The more one digs the sadder the story. What the difference is that there are some looking for the truth. Not the twisted one. I do hope the gals suing this county wins big! Its time to pull the covers. I would much rather give it to them than the good ole boys. They will probably still not see their greed. That is the good ole boy! Peace to you Mr. Wass. May the truth prevail!

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