Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Other Election in the South Loop: Park 550 Advisory Council’s Term Is Up

You Can Be President
You can also be vice president, treasurer, and/or secretary. And if those offices are not to your liking, there are seven (7) Park Advisory Council (PAC) directors, all up for election too on Tuesday, March 1, 2011. The elections will be held at The South Loop Field House located at 1801 S. Indiana Ave. at 6:30 p.m.

You might not have noticed this announcement  posted at the South Loop Field House

The Current PAC
The present PAC was elected on October 22, 2009. The current senior officers are Jeffrey Ayersmen, president; Rick Seiler, vice president; Tina Feldstein, treasurer; and Elaine Layden, secretary. For the names of all the members of the PAC, click here.

Accountable Leadership
In the South Loop, we are very fortunate to have a Field House in our neighborhood. We are also fortunate to have volunteers willing to serve the community. For a PAC to be effective, it needs to be comprised of a group of community-minded individuals. These elected individuals must ensure that there is accountable leadership focused on serving the community.

The election will be held at the South Loop Field House at 1801 S. Indiana.

Requirements and Guidelines Ignored
In fifteen months, the current PAC has failed to fulfill some of the PACs basic requirements as outlined in guidelines provided by the Chicago Park District (CPD). The current PAC has not established bylaws, they have not organized meeting minutes—I requested a copy of the minutes from the October 22, 2009 meeting on January 27, 2011, but have yet to receive a copy—nor have they registered as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit or worked with a fiscal agent as required by the CPD before any fundraising can be done. For the full text of CPD guidelines and the above requirements, click here.

Questions to Consider
Counting the senior officers, there are 11 members of the PAC. Due to improper notice, the original PAC election scheduled for January 25, 2011, had to be postponed to March 1. Were the 11 PAC members familiar with the CPD guidelines? Did they hold each other accountable? ? Did they make sure a proper election notice was posted at the Field House, as spelled out in the CPD guidelines? When they didn’t receive minutes from the first meeting (and I’m guessing subsequent meetings as well) did they follow up to see that they were completed, approved, and available. If they did not, what is the explanation for their inaction? These are some of the questions you need to ask yourself when voting for the PAC on March 1, 2011, should members of the current PAC seek reelection.
To run for the PAC
I Want You!
One of the most important jobs a PAC can do is to establish a clear path for future PAC members to follow. If you want to see continued progress in governance at the South Loop Field House, why not consider running for the PAC? You can run for president, vice president, treasurer, and/or secretary. You can also run for one of seven (7) director positions.
Are You Ready to Make a Difference in Your Community?
The evening of the election, nominations will be taken from the floor. You can nominate yourself or have a friend nominate and vote for you. Next, be prepared to say a little about yourself and include why you think you should be elected to the PAC (i.e., past board experience, business or finance as your vocation, time available to help, or any other skills/knowledge). And most importantly, any resident can vote for this election so please bring your neighbors with you to this important meeting.

Important Links and References
For information on Park Advisory Councils from the Chicago Park District, see links below.
Advisory Council Guidelines 
Park Advisory Council Bylaws 

The Friends of the Park is set up to help Park Advisory Councils on everything from goals and budgets to acting as third-party fiscal agents so donations made to PACs are tax deductible. Click here for more information on Friends of the Park.


  1. I am suprised to learn about this election today. If someone had not directed me to your blog, I would not have known about it. It really looks like the current advisory council is trying to hold a secret election so that no one else notices and they retain their offices.

  2. I hope you can come out to the meeting/election tonight to make your voice heard.


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