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

Executive Committee Minutes Nov. 10

Winnebago County Forest Preserve District

EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE MEETING
Headquarters
November 10, 2010 – 5:30 PM

PRESENT STAFF
Scott Christiansen – President-arriving 5:43 PM Thomas Kalousek, Executive Director
Bob Kinnison – Chairman
Doug Aurand
Tom Owens
Kay Mullins
L.C. Wilson
Bob Hastings
Carolyn Gardner-arriving 5:37 PM

GUESTS
Judith Barnard Mary McNamara Bernsten Kevin P. Dennis, Jr. Kevin P. Dennis, Sr.
Jay Ferraro Loren Hainchek Phyllis Hall Audrey L. Johnson
Gloria Lind Cheryl A. Maggio Randy Olson Gwen Patterson

CALL TO ORDER AND APPROVAL OF MINUTES
Chairman Bob Kinnison called the meeting to order at 5:35 PM. Minutes for November 10 were approved, including the closed session minutes.

EAGLE SCOUT PROJECT
Tom Hartley introduced Boy Scout Kevin Dennis, Jr. of Troop 57 from Alpine Lutheran Church who developed, led, and worked on an Eagle Scout project for the Forest Preserve District that involved making benches for Kishwaukee Gorge North Forest Preserve. The project took three days to make and paint the benches. There were 12 volunteers involved. Doug Aurand commented that only three out of 100 Boy Scouts make it to Eagle Scout.

INTRODUCTIONS – NEW BOARD MEMBERS
Kinnison requested that the seven new Board members tell a little something about themselves.

COMMENTS

President Scott Christiansen
I have had the honor of serving as President of the Winnebago County Forest Preserve District for the past eight years. It’s a great organization that plays a very valuable role in the health of our community. I’ve learned a lot from my years in forest preserve leadership, and I can sum it all up by saying that running this organization is not as easy as it looks. The field of conservation and outdoor recreation has gotten very complex in recent decades. It’s not as simple as buying land, planting some trees and mowing the grass. Conservation, resource protection, wildlife management, and the ever-growing list of recreational demands require expertise, resourcefulness and the ability to balance multiple competing priorities. Another insight I can share with you: running county government has gotten more complex, as well. The Forest Preserve District and Winnebago County government have enjoyed a very productive and beneficial relationship for 88 years. We have had a good relationship with the County Human Relations, the IT Department, and the Sheriff’s Department. Law enforcement should stay with the Sheriff’s Department. But it became apparent to the County Board, who also served as the Forest Preserve District Board, that the time had come to adopt a new governance system for the Forest Preserve District. As responsible and responsive public leaders, the Winnebago County Board agreed that, in order to meet current and future challenges, we needed to elect a separate board for the Forest Preserve. And here you are. The Magnificent Seven who will carry on the great legacy of protecting our natural heritage for future generations. I want to personally thank you for volunteering for this very important job. I know campaigning wasn’t easy, but the real work lies ahead. You will have much to learn and consider as you chart the course for this organization that plays such a vital role in our community’s sustainable future. I congratulate you and place my faith in you as you take on the challenges and rewards of serving as Winnebago County Forest Preserve District Commissioners.

Chairman Bob Kinnison
As chairman of the Winnebago County Forest Preserve District Executive Committee, I welcome you what I’m sure you will find to an awesome job. I can tell you my 16 years as a member of the Forest Preserve Board, and more than ten years as a member of Forest Preserve Executive Committee, the last two as Chairman, have been some of the most enjoyable and rewarding experiences I’ve had as an elected official. It has been especially enjoyable, given my degree in natural resource conservation. Governing the Forest Preserve has not always been “a walk in the park”, or more appropriately “forest Preserve”, as we’ve faced some challenges, but really everything the Forest Preserve District does and provides is positive. What’s not to like about nature, beautiful landscapes and outdoor recreation? It’s an incredible organization with dedicated staff. I will definitely miss working on behalf of the Forest Preserve District. But, as Scott has indicated, good government knows when to evolve. It has been apparent to this Executive Committee in recent years that the future success of the Forest Preserve would require governance that could focus solely on its mission and dedicate itself to strategic leadership without the inherent distractions of County Board issues. So, in June 2008, the members of the Executive Committee with Randy Olson and President Christiansen’s leadership approved a resolution to put an advisory referendum on the ballot asking the voters to approve a separate governing board for the Forest Preserve District. On November 4, 2008, the referendum passed with a nearly 70% approval. On August 11, 2009, Governor Quinn signed the bill that would allow the Winnebago County Forest Preserve District to elect its own governing board. Today I would like to congratulate the seven newly-elected Forest Preserve Commissioners. We are grateful for your willingness to serve in this very important role and carry on the work we have been so proud to do on the Executive Committee, and on the full Forest Preserve Board before that. We will be officially “passing the keys to the gate” to you when you are sworn in next month. But today we just wanted to take the opportunity to mark this momentous occasion in the history of this organization and the very pivotal role we all, the Executive Committee and the new directors-elect, are playing in shaping the future of our County’s green space, protected lands, recreational areas, and natural resources. Over the Forest Preserve District’s 88 years, it has been clear that it has been a remarkable journey that has resulted in an enormous legacy for our citizens and future generations. We have the many dedicated County Board members, including those here tonight, to thank for the outstanding forest preserve system we have today. Our high hopes and dreams for the future success of the Winnebago County Forest Preserve District now lie with these public servants just elected. I would add that as a new Board, you are fortunate to have a couple of members who have previously served as Forest Preserve Commissioners, including Judy Barnard and of course Randy Olson. You are further fortunate to have a previous Chairman of this Executive Committee as a member of your Board in Mr. Olson, and I hope that you will take full advantage of his leadership, especially since he played such an integral role in us ALL being here tonight to celebrate this transition. To forever commemorate this historic transition, and to publicly thank those who made it possible, we will be placing this bronze plaque in the lobby of Forest Preserve Headquarters. I also want to thank the Committee, many of whom I’ve served with for years, including Ms. Gardner, Mr. Wilson, Mr. Hastings, Mr. Aurand, Ms. Mullins, and Mr. Owens. I know that we are leaving the Forest Preserve in your capable hands, and I trust that we were good stewards during our tenure here. Thank you for serving, and enjoy your Winnebago County forest preserves!

Doug Aurand, LC Wilson, and Carolyn Gardner added their thanks to the staff of the Forest Preserve District, welcomed the new Commissioners, and wished them luck in their new positions and future endeavors.

INTERMISSION
The meeting was recessed at 6:00 PM and reopened at 6:32 PM.

CLOSED SESSION
At 6:33 PM Chairman Kinnison closed the meeting to discuss union contract. Kinnison polled the members to close the meeting and all approved the motion. Motion passed unanimously to close the meeting. The meeting reopened at 6:37 PM. No action was taken in closed session.

Union contract – Doug Aurand moved to approve the contract with the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 150, seconded by Carolyn Gardner. Motion passed unanimously.

ANNOUNCEMENTS
Next Board meeting—6:00 PM Thursday, November 23, Courthouse (There will be a short meeting of the Committee prior to the Board meeting to approve tonight’s minutes.)
ADJOURNMENT
The meeting was adjourned at 6:40 PM by Chairman Kinnison.

Evelyn Winckler
Recording Secretary

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