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 June 17, 2020

Forest Preserves of Winnebago County


Preserves Headquarters

June 17, 2020


PRESENT                                                     STAFF

Judy Barnard – via Zoom                               Mike Holan, Executive Director

Mike Eickman                                                 Steve Chapman, Finance

Audrey Johnson                                             Vaughn Stamm, Preserve Operations

Cheryl Maggio – via Zoom                              Ann Wasser, Education

Jeff Tilly – Arrived at 5:45 pm                          Kim O’Malley, Human Resources/Volunteer Program

Jake Henry


ABSENT                                                        GUESTS

Gloria Lind                                                     John Rader from Baker Tilly – via Zoom



The meeting was called to order at 5:35 PM, by Vice President Mike Eickman.  Recording secretary Ronelle Olszewski called the roll.


PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE     Audrey Johnson led the assemblage in the Pledge of Allegiance.


APPROVAL OF AGENDA and MINUTES      Minutes for May 20 were approved.  No changes or additions were made to the agenda.



Baker Tilly Audit Results – John Rader from Baker Tilly presented the audit results for the year ending October 31, 2019.  He was present via Zoom.  All Commissioners were provided a copy of the audit. He reviewed the financial results, including the general fund balance, improvement and development fund, and health benefit fund, as well as the debt service margins, and the required communication. Finally he reviewed the management letter.  John felt that everything looks like it is in good shape.



Severson Dells Dog Ordinance – Judy Barnard prepared a proposed dog ordinance amendment for Severson Dells.  Due to the fact that there are children’s activities and educational opportunities for children at Severson Dells, it is proposed that the ordinance be amended to not allow dogs at Severson Dells.  All of the other Preserves in Winnebago County allow dogs, therefore Severson Dells would be the only Preserves property that dogs would not be allowed.  It was requested that the Severson Dells Board President come and speak to the board before an amendment is voted on. Judy wants to amend the code and regulations.  Judy is asking that it be put on the agenda as an action item in July.  Jake Henry would like to have a survey taken and get the opinion of the people that use Severson.  Mike Holan will look into having an online survey done before the next meeting.



Pig Farm – Mike Holan announced that a property owner near Colored Sands has contacted him regarding a proposed pig farm in the Durand Area.  The property owner was concerned the run-off would affect Colored Sands.  Mike spoke with the zoning division for the County and he also contacted the State Department of Agriculture.  The state said that there is an application in for a pig farm for 1900 animal units.  The state has yet to determine if it is a feasible application and if it is, it will go back to the county at which point the county will hold a meeting for open comment and then it goes back to the State.  At this time the pig farm application is not complete.



Bills for May – Mike Eickman made a motion, Audrey Johnson seconded to authorize the payment of the bills for May in the amount of $577,933.64.  Motion passed unanimously. 


Legal Firm Services – The Preserves sent out a request for quotes to twelve legal firms and posted a notice in the paper to obtain quotes for legal services and representation for the Preserves. The Preserves received quotes from two legal firms with Rockford offices.  Both firms were evaluated based on the firms and assigned attorneys experience, education of personnel assigned to the Preserves, previous work of similar nature and cost.  A decision was made to interview Sosnowski/Szeto, LLP based on the criteria listed above and said firm was interviewed by President Jeff Tilly and Commissioner Judy Barnard.  An audio transcript was provided to the Commissioners that did not attend the interview.  Audrey Johnson made a motion and Judy Barnard seconded to hire the legal firm Sosnowski/Szeto, LLP to represent the Forest Preserves of Winnebago County subject to a reference check which Mike Holan will do immediately.  Motion passed unanimously (subject to the reference check). 


Non-Discrimination and Anti-Harassment Policy – The Workplace Transparency Act amended the Illinois State Officials and Employees Ethics Act to require governmental entities to adopt an ordinance or resolution amending their sexual harassment policies to provide a mechanism for reporting and independent review of allegations of sexual harassment made against an elected official of the governmental entity by another elected official of a governmental entity.  The Workplace Transparency Act also amended the Illinois Human Rights Act and such amendments necessitate further revision of policies prohibiting the harassment.  The Preserves has an Employee Personnel Policy Manual which includes a Non-Discrimination and Anti-Harassment Policy that does not comply with the aforementioned amendments.  The Preserves seeks to amend its current Non-Discrimination and Anti-Harassment Policy in order to comply with the aforementioned amendments and bases its updated Policy on a template provided by PDRMA.  Corporate Attorney, James R. Pirages of Hinshaw & Culbertson, LLP has reviewed the amended Non-Discrimination and Anti-Harassment Policy and agrees that it is in compliance with Public Act 101-0221.   Audrey Johnson made a motion and Mike Eickman seconded to adopt the amended Non-Discrimination and Anti-Harassment Policy. Roll call vote taken.  Motion passed unanimously.



Preserve Operations – Vaughn Stamm, Scott Stewart, Scott Wallace and Bryan Helmold submitted a written report.  Vaughn mentioned that the budget had allocated money to do a cost analysis and engineering survey in preparation of re-doing the electrical service at Hononegah Campground.  Vaughn will have that ready at the next board meeting as to how, and if, to move forward with updating the electric at Hononegah Campground, to be incorporated into the 2020-2021 budget.


Golf Operations – Vaughn Stamm, Rich Rosenstiel, Tyler Knapp and Mark Freiman submitted a written report.  Mike mentioned that due to the COVID-19 restrictions gaming machines are not operating yet, and according to health department guidelines, the gaming machines may need dividers installed.


Land and Development – Natural Resources Staff submitted a written report.


Environmental Education – Ann Wasser submitted a written report.  Severson started camp last week in compliance with state, county and CDC guidelines.


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


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





Audrey made a motion to go into closed session at 7:09 pm.  At 8:18 pm, the meeting returned to open session. No action was taken while in closed session.


Personnel –   The annual evaluation of Executive Director Mike Holan was performed during closed session.  Jeff Tilly thanked Mike for his hard work and the extra efforts he has put into the position, especially in light of Tom Hartley’s retirement.   Mike Eickman made a motion to give Executive Director Mike Holan a performance bonus and a merit increase.  The merit increase is retroactive to April 10, 2020.  Motion passed. 4-1 (Jake Henry voted no).



June 20 – Nurture Nature at a R.E.A.P. Volunteer Workday at Four Lakes Forest Preserve from 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

July 19 – Nurture Nature at a R.E.A.P. Volunteer Workday at Pecatonica Wetlands Forest Preserve, Saturday from 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.



Meeting adjourned at 8:25 PM.

Next board meeting 5:30 PM, Wednesday, July 15, Preserve Headquarters


Respectfully Submitted,


Ronelle Olszewski

Recording Secretary