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 Nov. 20

Winnebago County Forest Preserve District


District Headquarters

November 20, 2013


PRESENT                                                                 STAFF

Judy Barnard- President                                             Mike Holan, Executive Director

Mike Eickman                                                             Steve Chapman, Finance

Audrey Johnson                                                          Mike Durand, Golf

Gloria Lind – 5:38 pm                                                            Tom Hartley, Land and Development

Cheryl Maggio                                                            Vaughn Stamm, Preserve Operations

Mary McNamara Bernsten                                         Jamie Johannsen, Marketing

Randy Olson


Joe Doty                      Mike Groves

Bryan Helmold           Tyler Knapp

Ed Nunez                    Rich Rosenstiel

Scott Wallace              Stacy Bernardi


The meeting was called to order at 5:30 pm.  Recording secretary Ronelle Johnson called the roll.

INVOCATION and PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE     Mary McNamara Bernsten led the assemblage in the Pledge of Allegiance.

APPROVAL OF AGENDA and MINUTES      Minutes for October 24 and November 6 were approved.  No changes or additions were made to the agenda.


Bills for November – Audrey Johnson made a motion to authorize the payment of the November bills totaling $559,675.44.  Motion passed unanimously.

2014 Board Schedule – The Board of Commissioners conducts regular meetings at 5:30 PM on the third Wednesday of every month.  Mary McNamara Bernsten made a motion to accept the 2014 Board of Commissioners schedule.  Motion passed unanimously.

Vehicle Policy – The vehicle policy was presented to all board members at the October 24 and November 6 meetings.  Judy reiterated that since the budget was short last year, there have been many cuts made and this is one area in which cuts can also be made in order to avoid making possible staffing cuts.  Mike consulted with other districts and they have all made cuts to their vehicle policy.  Mary McNamara Bernsten made a motion to approve the vehicle policy.  Mike advised the Commissioners that this policy has been discussed with the majority of the affected staff.  The employees will not have vehicles to drive home at night, just for use during the day.  There will be one pool vehicle, and a possible pickup truck as a pool vehicle.  Implementation of the vehicle policy will be March 1 to allow for employees to get personal vehicles in place.  Motion passed (6-1).  Audrey Johnson voted no.

Contract for auditor – The District requires a complete year-end audit of the financials with an outside auditing firm.  Sikich has previously done the audit for the District.  They have provided a quote for 2013 and 2014.  Randy Olson made a motion to approve the auditing services contract with Sikich in the amount of $13,500 for 2013 and $13,700 for 2014. Motion passed unanimously.

Land Acquisition – Mike Holan gave an update on the land acquisition, and no agreement has been reached.  The realtors are still discussing the offer with the sellers and the District is hoping to hear back from them soon.  All parties are aware of the grant time frame.

Request for tax abatement – Stacy Bernardi is the Economic Development Director for Winnebago County.  The County is working on a tax abatement for a company looking to relocate to the Roscoe area.  They are in competition with a location in Wisconsin.  It is a hydraulics distributor and manufacturer currently located in Illinois, looking to add about 15 jobs next year, if not more.  This company is looking to grow from approximately a 30,000 square foot facility to a 120,000 square foot facility in the next 5 years.  The District would receive $632.00 annually once they build on this property.  Gloria made a motion to approve a 50% tax abatement for 5 years for this company relocating to Roscoe, Illinois.  Motion passed unanimously. 


Law Enforcement Budget – At the October meeting, a motion was made and passed to amend the budget to take the personnel expense for Terry Nordberg and allocate it to contractual services so he gets paid from the Sheriff’s Department.  Mike explained that by doing that it changes the contract and eliminates the law enforcement management position, which is currently a Forest Preserve position, which results in the District not having money for that position.  Steve Chapman brought it to Judy’s and Mike’s attention that there may be implications with changing the contract.  Mike then advised that the Sheriff’s contract is automatically renewed on October 1.  In the Sheriff’s contract there is a 60-day written notification for any changes or cancellations.  Mike discussed the issue with Deputy Ditzler and the Sheriff felt that although that is not insurmountable, it would be tough to pay Terry more money than what the other reserve deputies are getting paid.  It would in essence be considered a reserve deputy position and he wouldn’t be an employee of the District, he would be under the Sheriff’s department contract as a reserve deputy.  The other thing it does is it eliminates Terry’s position, who is working 600 hours for the District and 600 hours for the Sheriff.   The District would lose 600 hours in that contract.  That would cause the District to need someone there to do the scheduling for the other officers, and go through whatever reports and other administrative things that need to be done.  Mike suggested the District only transfer monies that are going towards Terry’s wages commensurate to what the Sheriff’s Department determines Terry’s hourly wage will be.  Audrey made a motion to rescind the motion made on October 24.  The motion made by Randy Olson read as follows:  “To amend the motion to take the salary of Terry Nordberg and allocate it to the Sheriff’s Department so that Terry is paid solely from the Sheriff’s Department”.  That amendment to the budget passed on October 24.  Randy said that he still stands by the original motion.  He feels the 600 hours of Sheriff coverage should be adequate and he feels it will save the District money.  He also feels that the Sheriff will send over whatever personnel he has.  Randy does not feel it is fair that Terry gets paid more than the other part-time employees.  Audrey doesn’t think the District would get the same services since his position would be eliminated.  Cheryl clarified that he does both patrolling and scheduling, along with some administrative duties.  Mike indicated that Terry is in the field 50% of his time.  Judy’s concern is that by moving the money out of the budget, the District would lose the position, and she feels the position is still needed.  Mike mentioned that the contract rolls over every year.  Judy called for a vote in favor of rescinding the motion, and return the law enforcement budget back to original contract.  Randy requested a roll call vote to be taken.  Mike Eickman, Audrey Johnson, Gloria Lind, Mary McNamara Bernsten and Judy Barnard were all in favor of rescinding the motion.  Motion passed, 5-2.  Randy Olson and Cheryl Maggio voted no.  Mary would like it to be noted that in August of 2014, this issue be revisited and discuss options then.

2014 Budget and Appropriations ordinance – re-sign – When the ordinance was signed, it was signed on the wrong date.  The Commissioners re-signed the ordinance.


Preserve Operations  –  Vaughn Stamm submitted a written report.

Golf Operations – Mike Durand submitted a written report.  Judy advised that she and Mike Durand met with Judy Roby and she gave them some advice on fundable projects.

Land and Development – Tom Hartley submitted a written report.  Judy asked Tom to get an update on natural resource activity for the year.  Tom will have it ready for the next board meeting.

Marketing and Community Relations – Jamie Johannsen submitted a written report.  She has the 2014 wall calendars ready and a new brochure that the District produced to explain and educate about the District’s restoration program.  It explains why and how lands are restored and the benefits of burning and other procedures.

Education – Don Miller submitted a written report.  He then invited everyone to the luminary event on the 6th and 7th of December.  There is also a concert on December 14 –  the entertainer is Mike Farris from Nashville.  Road Ranger is helping with the sponsorship.  Judy asked about the schedule and progress of the nature classroom.  Don is hoping for a target date of beginning of summer 2014, and a possible grand opening at beginning of the school year.

Law Enforcement report – Terry Nordberg submitted a written report.


Litigation – Audrey made a motion to go into closed session at 6:15 to discuss litigation.  The meeting returned to open session at 6:24.  No action was taken while in closed session.

Personnel – Audrey made a motion to go into closed session at 6:25 to discuss personnel issues.  The meeting returned to open session at 6:27.  No action was taken while in closed session.  Audrey made a motion to approve the leave of absence for Eric Bednar.  Motion passed unanimously.


Mike Holan announced that Winnebago County had a renewable energy expo, and the District received an award for recyclable practices.

Mike announced that the District was awarded a $15,000 grant for a canoe program at Severson Dells.  The District is only one of two agencies that received the grant.  Don Miller is working on the safety protocols.  The program is set up to engage youths and underserved individuals.

There will be an employee holiday party on December 20, 11:30-1:30 at Klehm.  Service awards will be given as well as some giveaways.

Judy announced that she got a call from a citizen using Stone Bridge Forest Preserve, saying that she saw a deer stand on the property. Vaughn followed up with the citizen and the stand will be taken down.  It was an old stand.



Meeting adjourned at 6:35.

Next board meeting 5:30 Wednesday, December 18, at Macktown Living History Center.



Ronelle Johnson

Recording Secretary