Laona Heights Sugar River Colored Sands Sugar River Two Rivers Ferguson Hartley Memorial Trask Bridge Four Lakes Pecatonica River Pecatonica Wetlands Crooked River Grove Creek Seward Bluffs Klehm Forest Preserve Severson Dells Fuller Memorial Cedar Cliff Indian Hill Hinchliff Memorial Kilbuck Bluffs Trailside Kishwaukee Gorge South Kishwaukee Gorge North Rockford Rotary Kishwaukee River Oak Ridge Blackhawk Springs Deer Run Espenscheid Memorial McKiski County Line Kieselburg Roland Olson Stone Bridge Clayton Andrews Ledges Hononegah J. Norman Jensen Millrace Isle Macktown Atwood Homestead Forest Preserve Headquarters

Board of Commissioner Minutes April 18, 2018

Forest Preserves of Winnebago County


Preserves Headquarters

April 18, 2018


PRESENT                                                       STAFF

Judy Barnard                                                   Mike Holan, Executive Director

Mike Eickman                                                  Steve Chapman, Finance

Audrey Johnson                                               Vaughn Stamm, Preserve Operations

Gloria Lind-Via phone                                      Tom Hartley, Land and Development

Cheryl Maggio                                                  Ann Wasser, Education

Jeff Tilly                                                            Kim O’Malley, Human Resources/Volunteer Program

Jake Henry



Megan Pease

Jennifer Kuroda



The meeting was called to order at 5:34 PM, by President Barnard.  Recording secretary Ronelle Johnson called the roll.


PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE     Mike Eickman led the assemblage in the Pledge of Allegiance.


APPROVAL OF AGENDA and MINUTES      Minutes for March 21 were approved. Changes to the agenda include the following: (1) the location changed from Colored Sands to the Preserves Headquarters due to the weather; (2) there will be not be a speaker regarding the Rockford Asphalt Plant; and (3) the Sinnissippi Audubon Society was added for a presentation.



Sinnissippi Audubon Society – Megan Pease and Jennifer Kuroda, both whom are members of the Sand Bluff Bird Observatory as well as the Sinnissippi Audubon Society gave a presentation to the Board on the Benefits of Being an Important Bird Area.  They would like to have Colored Sands Forest Preserve and Sand Bluffs Bird Observatory designated as Audubon Important Bird Areas.  A few of the benefits include complete inventories, international networks, leverage in funding, and community pride and awareness.   Judy also wondered if other Preserves could be included.  Jennifer indicated there is bird count data that contributes to the designation, as well as other factors, that would be needed for other sites.



Bills for March – Audrey Johnson made a motion, Jeff Tilly seconded to authorize the payment of the bills for March in the amount of $440,751.45.  Motion passed unanimously. 


Contract Extension – Mike Holan has served as Executive Director of the Forest Preserves of Winnebago County since April 1, 2014.  The Board of Commissioners has been satisfied with his performance as Executive Director and desire to continue his employment as the Executive Director of the Forest Preserves of Winnebago County.  The Board has recommended that the contract with Mike Holan be extended for another 5 years.  The extended contract will be based on terms agreed upon between the Board of Commissioners and Mike Holan.  The Board of Commissioners gives the Board President, Judy Barnard, permission to execute the contract with Mike Holan with the contract considered fully executed by the signatures of the Board President and Mike Holan.  Audrey Johnson made a motion, and Mike Eickman seconded, that the contract for Mike Holan serving as Executive Director for the Forest Preserves of Winnebago County be extended through December 31, 2023.  Motion passed 5-1 (Jake Henry voted no).


Merit Increase – In addition to the contract extension, the Board recommended that Executive Director Mike Holan receive an increase of 1.5% and an additional 1.5% merit increase.  This compensation increase is just for one year, and the Board will decide on any additional increases on an annual basis.  Audrey Johnson made the motion and Cheryl Maggio seconded.    Motion passed 5-1 (Jake Henry voted no).



Executive Director – There was a letter to the editor written by L.C. Wilson in the Rockford Register Star regarding lack of minority employment at the Forest Preserves as well as at Klehm.  Mike Holan and Kim O’Malley met with L.C. Wilson and Tuffy Quinones, prior to Mr. Wilson’s letter written to the Rockford Register Star, to discuss minority employment at the Forest Preserves and explained to them both that we cannot screen applications to determine if they are minorities therefore cannot give preference. We also stated we have many seasonal positions open and asked them to assist us in filling them. After the letter was printed in the Rockford Register Star, Mike clarified with Mr. Wilson that the Preserves always hire the best qualified candidates for the jobs and there are no questions regarding race or gender in the application process. Mike told Mr. Wilson he was disappointed the Forest Preserves was mentioned specifically in the letter despite the conversation that was had earlier with him and Mr. Quinones. They then discussed options about getting the Preserves name out to the different minority groups.  Judy has given Kim a few names and phone numbers to contact regarding minority employment.  Kim will also look into the Academy Expo at the high schools for the fall.


Preserve Operations – Vaughn Stamm, Scott Stewart, Scott Wallace & Bryan Helmold submitted a written report.


Golf Operations – Vaughn Stamm, Rich Rosenstiel, Tyler Knapp & Mark Freiman submitted a written report.


Land and Development – Tom Hartley submitted a written report.


Marketing and Community Relations – Jamie Johannsen submitted a written report.


Environmental Education – Ann Wasser submitted a written report.  Wildflower walk series is starting the week of April 24.   The first one will be at Anna Page Park.  In addition, Thursday May 3 is members’ night at Severson Dells.  There will be a lecture provided by Dr. Karen Oberhauser from UW Madison.


Human Resources/Volunteer Program Report – Kim O’Malley submitted a written report.


Law Enforcement – Sheriff’s Department submitted a written report.



Audrey Johnson made a motion and Jeff Tilly seconded, to go into closed session at 6:00 pm to discuss Mike Holan’s 2017 evaluation and extension of his contract. At 7:22 pm, the meeting returned to open session. No action was taken while in closed session.



April 21 – Nurture Nature at a R.E.A.P. Volunteer Workday at Kishwaukee Gorge North Forest Preserve,           Saturday from 9:00 am-Noon

April 28 & 29 – The Gathering at Macktown Forest Preserve, Saturday & Sunday from 9:00 am-4:00 pm

May 12 & 13 – Birdfest 2018 at Sand Bluff Bird Observatory, Saturday & Sunday from 8:00 am-4:00 pm

May 19 – Nurture Nature at a R.E.A.P. Volunteer Workday at Blackhawk Spring Forest Preserve, Saturday from 9:00 am-Noon

May 19 – Nature Fiesta:  Bilingual Celebration of Local Nature at Blackhawk Springs Forest Preserve, Saturday from 11:00 am-3:00 pm




Meeting adjourned at 7:25 PM.

Next board meeting 5:30 PM, Wednesday, May 16, Klehm Arboretum & Botanic Garden



Respectfully Submitted,

Ronelle Johnson

Recording Secretary