Nagle replaces Van Arsdale at Glencoe Park District
Steve Nagle, new interim director of the Glencoe Park District. | District photo
Updated: August 21, 2012 11:09AM
GLENCOE — There’s a new boss at the Glencoe Park District — at least for now.
Steve Nagle, the district’s facilities director, June 28 was appointed interim district director, a day after the announcement of the resignation of Don Van Arsdale.
Nagle has since January 2011 managed district facilities operations, capital improvements and grants. He and recreation director Cheryl DeClerck have been Van Arsdale’s top people since he came on in May, 2009.
Van Arsdale’s performance was to be the subject of a special meeting June 28, but he had already resigned by then.
The special meeting had been scheduled June 19, in a closed Park Board session discussing serious matters of employment after a regular Park Board meeting.
Board Member Robert Kimble asked at last week’s special meeting what had actually happened after the June 19 closed session and before the resignation.
He didn’t get an answer from Retsky and fellow commissioners Trent Cornell and Andre Lerman, who cited the privacy of personnel issues.
“Should we publish the (performance) reviews?” asked Cornell. He said that employment matters should be discussed only in executive session, “to protect the confidentiality of employee evaluations.”
Fellow Commissioner Hilary Lee, Kimble’s ally on the Board, told the Glencoe News June 27, after Van Arsdale’s resignation, “They asked him to resign.”
The same afternoon, Commissioner Max Retsky, elected president of the Board June 19, said only, “I was surprised as the next guy when I got the e-mail (from Van Arsdale) last night.”
Village Trustee Joe Keefe, one of two people in the special meeting audience June 28, maintained that a comment Retsky made to the Glencoe News indicated a violation of the state Open Meetings Act.
Retsky was quoted in last week’s paper talking about the rent-free house used by Van Arsdale and previous executive directors, which had been at the center of controversies at the time of his hiring. Retsky had unsuccessfully opposed the cost of remodeling, and the fact that the Board majority then had allowed Van Arsdale to loan the district the money for it.
“One of the things we’re going to talk about (June 28) is charging rent at the executive director’s house,” she said. “We’ve been told by our attorney that it’s a tax issue.
“He can’t live there for nothing without a tax consequence for it.
“(Living in Glencoe) is not a requirement of his job — either we charge him rent, or it’s considered compensation.”
Keefe maintained June 28 that employee compensation must be handled in public, which some of the commissioners disputed.
Cornell told Keefe that nothing had been decided or even discussed yet. “I don’t think there’s a violation of anything,” he said.
“There’s no connection between Don’s resignation and the house.”
Retsky said after the meeting that she had the matter of the house dropped from the agenda, “because it was a moot point after Don’s resignation,” at least for the present.
She said the district lawyer had advised changing the house’s tax status by July 1, and after the resignation, it didn’t matter.
In a press release approved by Retsky, Nagle’s position is said to be temporary, until a search for a new executive director can take place.
That subject was not broached at the special meeting, however.
Asked Tuesday whether he’d apply for the permanent job, Nagle said, “I don’t know what the search process is. Until I know … I don’t know what I’d be submitting my name for.”
The search may be discussed at the July 17 Park Board meeting, as well as a proposal to erect a seasonal batting cage at Central School.
Immediately prior to arriving in Glencoe, Nagle had been the director responsible for aquatics and fitness at the facilities of the Jewish Community Center of Chicago.
He previously managed recreation programs and facilities at the Rosemont, Wauconda, Bensenville, and Waukegan park districts.
Nagle has apparently already improved on an area of concern to all five commissioners. Tuesday, he immediately informed them by e-mail when people had to be evacuated from the Takiff Center due to a fire alarm mishap, Retsky said.
Such communication became important to commissioners after a short lost-child incident in May apparently was not reported to the Board and concerned parents in a timely fashion.
But when a June 19 Takiff Center parking lot fender-bender involving dozens of kids on two buses occurred hours before Van Arsdale presented a plan to commissioners promising to notify them of such incidences, “He didn’t tell us,” Retsky said.
As for Nagle, “He’s doing a good job; he seems like a good guy,” Retsky said. “He seems very proactive. The staff likes him, and he’s very responsible.”
Kimble said last week that he liked Nagle, too, but he looked at it differently.
“I think Steve is a great guy,” he said. “One of Don’s strengths is his ability to hire good people, and Steve is one of them.”