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 Commissioners Minutes May 28

Winnebago County Forest Preserve District


District Headquarters

May 28, 2014


PRESENT                                                                 STAFF

Judy Barnard                                                              Mike Holan, Executive Director

Mike Eickman                                                             Steve Chapman, Finance

Audrey Johnson                                                          Vaughn Stamm, Preserve Operations

Gloria Lind                                                                 Tom Hartley, Land and Development

Cheryl Maggio                                                            Mike Durand, Golf Operations

Mary McNamara Bernsten                                          Jamie Johannsen, Marketing

Don Miller, Education

ABSENT                                                                    GUESTS

Randy Olson                                                               Lee Johnson

                                                                                    Carla Paschal



The meeting was called to order at 5:32 PM, by President Barnard. Recording secretary Ronelle Johnson called the roll.


PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE     Cheryl Maggio led the assemblage in the Pledge of Allegiance.


APPROVAL OF AGENDA and MINUTES     Minutes for April 16, 2014 were approved. No changes were made to the Agenda.



Introduction of new staff – Mike introduced several new staff members. Julie Swanson – Administrative Assistant; Christy Knapp – part time Administrative Assistant; Mark Freiman – Golf Manager at Macktown; and Kim O’Malley – Volunteer Coordinator. Judy welcomed them to the District.


Sikich – Steve Chapman introduced Carla Paschal from Sikich. Carla highlighted a few items in the Annual Financial Report and noted there were no issues with the financial audit. She then reviewed the Auditors Communication Report.   She reported that Sikich received excellent communication and cooperation with management and the staff and there were no disagreements with management regarding accounting issues during the course of the audit. She also stated that during an audit a review of key internal controls is done, and there were no material weaknesses, and no significant deficiencies were found.The internal controls issues that Sikich found were as follows: Sikich recommends the District’s bank accounts and collateral be separated from the County, into the District’s own accounts, since the District is now a separate legal entity with a separate board. Secondly, Sikich recommends correcting the IMRF and Social Security levies.   The levies are currently accounted for in the same fund, but need to be separated and have separate accountings since they are separate levies and have specific purposes. The third recommendation was segregation of duties. Ideal segregation of duties prohibits anybody who records transactions does not touch cash. This has been recently remedied. The fourth recommendation was that vacation and holiday pay be recorded as part of the payroll system. Vacation and holiday pay was recorded separate from payroll but that has been remedied, and is now a part of the payroll system. The fifth recommendation was to terminate using the County policies and the District needs to implement their own policies, since they are now a separate entity. In reviewing capital assets, Sikich is recommending that the District review their capital asset listing to make sure it is current. When conducting inventory evaluations, Sikich recommends an inventory review to account for inventory that still has value to the District. Finally, Sikich also looks for any bond issues that may be outstanding. There is a requirement to file annual financial information so bond holders can look at any point to see if their investment is still valid and current. Sikich recommends that be updated annually to comply. Management was very responsive in addressing the items of concern with Sikich.Sikich found approximately nine minor issues that they recommended the District address before the next audit. Mike reported that most of the issues that Sikich raised, he, Steve and Bryan have discussed and have been working on. Judy then asked Mike, with the assistance of Steve Chapman, to put together some purchasing and purchasing card policies for the District, within the next few months.



Bills for May – Mike Eickman made a motion, seconded by Mary McNamara Bernsten and Gloria Lind, to authorize the payment of the May bills totaling $557,457.44. Motion passed unanimously.


Community Foundation of Northern Illinois – Due to declining revenues from annual reductions in the assessed evaluation of homes in Winnebago County, the District Board of Commissioners and staff are identifying new non-traditional sources of revenue for the District. The Community Foundation of Northern Illinois has programs to grow new sources of revenue. It is being requested that two funds be established, an Endowment Fund and a Land Acquisition Fund. It is further recommended that the Board establish guidelines for each fund and policies regarding the use of those funds. It is also requested the Board establish guidelines for the acceptance of donor gifts. Audrey made a motion, Mike and Gloria seconded, to approve a resolution to establish an endowment fund and a land acquisition fund with the Community Foundation of Northern Illinois. Judy then mentioned that policies will be established for the funds. Policies and guidelines will be made by Audrey and Judy, and those will be passed by the board prior to accepting any gifts. Cheryl wanted two resolutions; one for each fund. Audrey rescinded her motion.


Audrey made a motion, Mike and Gloria seconded, to move forward with and approve a resolution to establish an endowment fund with the Community Foundation of Northern Illinois. Motion passed unanimously.


Audrey made a motion, Mary and Gloria seconded, to approve a resolution to establish a land acquisition fund through the Community Foundation of Northern Illinois. Motion passed unanimously.


Employment matters – Mike Holan has served one year as Executive Director of the District. The initial contract with Mike was for a three-year period. The Board is recommending that the contract be extended for an additional two years resulting in a five-year contract. The remainder of the contract will continue through April 1, 2018. Mary made a motion, seconded by Gloria and Audrey, to approve a resolution to extend the Executive Director contract. Motion passed unanimously.




Strategic Plan – Mike distributed the 2014-2017 Strategic Plan which included 5 main goals. Mike has met with all the staff and asked them for their work plans for this year. Mike then consolidated their work plans into some general categories and included them into the 5 main goals of the strategic plan. In June the quarterly updates will start.



Ferguson Master Plan – Tom Hartley distributed preliminary master plans of the Sophia & Calvin Ferguson Preserve. The plans include planting prairie on the existing cropped area, the main entrance at Winslow Road with parking big enough to accommodate a bus for school programs, a hiking path, a handicapped accessible path, an observation deck overlooking the property, an outhouse, a canoe landing and a fishing access point (no parking available at this access point). Preliminary costs will be approximately $380,000, depending on how it is developed. On June 24, Lee and Linda Johnson are doing a walk-a-bout on this property. All are encouraged to attend.





Concealed Carry Law – Signs have been posted throughout the District that carrying firearms is not allowed in the preserves. The signs are posted at Headquarters, in the preserves, information booths, shops, and nature centers. There are a few issues with the law that are still unclear as to how the law pertains to Forest Preserves. Mike is working with Jason Anselman about the issues. He has also contacted PDRMA, Attorney Mike Scheurich, the State’s Attorney’s office, the Sheriff’s Department, and other Forest Preserve Districts. As it stands right now, until there is further direction and clarification, preserves cannot be posted against concealed carry. Therefore, anybody can conceal carry in the preserves, however they cannot enter buildings, shops, playgrounds, or offices. The signs will be removed from the preserves, but signs will be posted on the buildings.



Preserve Operations – Vaughn Stamm submitted a written report. Vaughn mentioned a setback in the campground electrical renovations at Sugar River. The initial schedule intended that Phase I would be done by Memorial Day. However, the supplier ran into a delay with the switchboard that is being made specifically for this project. The contractor provided a portable generator for the holiday weekend. Until the project is complete, the campground will remain open without electricity.


Golf Operations – Mike Durand submitted a written report. He reported that when the weather is good, the courses have been busy. He said that they have had to discount rounds and rentals because everybody else is discounting their prices because of the slow start to the season due to the weather.


Land and Development – Tom Hartley submitted a written report.


Marketing and Community Relations – Jamie Johannsen submitted a written report. She gave an update on Get Outside Winnebago. There are 68 teams registered equaling approximately 300 people. She reminded the Commissioners about the press conference Thursday May 29, at Stone Bridge Forest Preserve at 11am.


Education – Don Miller submitted a written report. Don said Severson Dells has had a great spring. The staff and volunteers have attended over 50 hours of canoe training, workshops seminars, and First Aid/CPR training classes. The new canoe program begins June 9. The Grove construction has been held up due to the weather, but still planning on an August 9 opening day for The Grove.


Law Enforcement – Terry Nordberg submitted written report. Cheryl inquired as to the gates being broken due to people being locked in, how much it costs to get hem fixed, and the process for the District getting reimbursed. Vaughn reported that a restitution letter is sent to the violator and they are billed for an hour of labor and parts. It is approximately $100-$150 that they are billed.



District picnic will be Wednesday, June 25, at Keiselburg Forest Preserve, Red Cedar Shelter, 11:30-1:30


Mike Eickman reported that BirdFest had a great turn out. There was an estimated 800-900 people that attended. There were 54 different species seen, and the event was a great success.



Meeting adjourned at 7:13 PM.

Next board meeting 5:30 PM, Severson Dells Nature Center. Date to be announced.



Respectfully Submitted,

Ronelle Johnson

Recording Secretary