Glencoe Park District pays up for Van Arsdale’s departure
Don Van Arsdale
Updated: August 20, 2012 11:22AM
GLENCOE — The breakup between the Glencoe Park District and former executive director Don Van Arsdale is turning out to be an expensive divorce.
The district is paying Van Arsdale, who officially resigned June 27, five months salary at over $8,800 per month, plus three months of a $500/month car allowance, and three months continued free residence in a Glencoe house owned by the district, according to a document provided to Pioneer Press under the Freedom of Information Act.
The net economic effect may be mitigated through the passage of time, however.
After former executive director Rod Aiken announced his retirement in 2008, the search process took more than six months to complete. If that’s the case again this time, as operations director Steve Nagle leads the district on an interim basis, the cash outlay may essentially be a wash.
That doesn’t include, however, the cost of the search process itself.
In a letter of resignation dated June 27, Van Arsdale outlined the agreement between himself and the Board. He wrote that in exchange for the agreement, he promises not to talk about it, and waives all rights in his 2009 contract.
District President Max Retsky said Van Arsdale and she both signed the agreement.
The fact of the agreement’s existence makes it clear that Van Arsdale’s departure was more than a simple resignation, but the product of a negotiation.
Under his contract, if he were to resign before the end of his current term in 2013, he gets no severance. If he were fired for cause, he would get none. If he were to have been fired for convenience, he would get six months pay.
Under the contract, however, if terminated for convenience, he would have been obligated to stay on for three months as a transition consultant, at the pleasure of the Park Board. That won’t be happening in this situation.
Retsky said that no improprieties of a criminal nature were attributed to Van Arsdale, but she would not discuss his job performance due to privacy considerations inherent in employment matters.
Some of the problems she and the Board majority of Trent Cornell, former president, and Andre Lerman, were recently unsatisfied with included the cancellation of a recent town hall meeting because notice wasn’t posted until two days before.
Also, after a child was temporarily lost in May, and parents and Board members weren’t immediately notified, the entire Board called for changes.
On the day Van Arsdale delivered a report to the Board on how to handle such situations better, he reportedly didn’t tell the Board about a fender-bender involving two buses full of children that afternoon.
Nagle has added initiatives to that report. For instance, referring to camp safety, Van Arsdale promised to “review and revise our camp training materials” and that “the Operations Department will look at their recreational programs and activities to ensure the approach safety in a consistent manner.”
This month, Nagle said the recreational department, having reviewed safety protocols, now holds morning meetings with the camp staff to identify areas of concern to focus on during the day.