Tonight's regular meeting of the La Grange Park District board of commissioners will be the last one held on the third Thursday of the month, the night on which the park board traditionally has met for the past several years.
Park commissioners at their Dec. 16 meeting voted unanimously to switch their meeting nights to the second Monday of each month, beginning in February. The meeting time will remain at 7:30 p.m.
Park Board President Mary Ellen said the change in meeting dates was considered because some members had problems attending the Thursday meetings on a consistent basis.
"Each of us have had conflicts over the past year or two that seem to be creeping up more and more often," she said.
Commissioner Tim Kelpsas noted that four regular meetings in 2010 had been rescheduled due to such conflicts. Also, attedance concerns resulted in July's meeting being canceled.
Penicook and Kelpsas each said they favored a Monday night meeting. The second and fourth weeks were suggested because the park district's attorney, Rob Bush, was available on those Mondays.
Commissioner Brad Belcaster supported the motion but said he had no problem attending Thursday meetings. He also expressed concern about having adequate time to review materials over a weekend in order to prepare for a Monday night meeting.
Commissioner Chris Walsh said he had no meeting-night preference. Board Vice President Rob Ashby was present but did not participate in the discussion.
Moving the regular meetings to second Monday nights also creates an overlap with the La Grange village board of trustees, which also routinely conducts a regular session on second Mondays. The park board did not address the overlap in its discussion.
When asked about it after the meeting, Belcaster and Penicook both said it presented no conflict for them because neither usually attends village board meetings.
Both face re-election April 5.
The third candidate in the park board race, Lynn Lacey, last week said that she had not been contacted prior to the Dec. 16 meeting about her schedule availability.
During a Dec. 1 interview with the Citizens' Council of La Grange, Lacey said one of the reasons she decided to seek election to the park board is that her Thursday nights were open.
But attending Monday night meetings would not be a problem if she is elected, Lacey said.
April will be an exception to the park board's new schedule, with that month's meeting occuring on the third Monday of the month. This will allow the Park District's annual budget to be posted for at least 30 days, as required by law, prior to that meeting, Dean Bissias, the park district's executive director, said.