William Lindeman: Candidate Profile

Oak Brook Park Board

  • William Lindeman, running for Oak Brook Park Board

    William Lindeman, running for Oak Brook Park Board

Updated 3/10/2015 5:34 PM

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Note: Answers provided have not been edited for grammar, misspellings or typos. In some instances, candidate claims that could not be immediately verified have been omitted.

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City: Oak Brook

Website: under development.

Office sought:

Oak Brook Park Board

Age: 76

Family: My wife Joyce and I have been married for 56 years. We live in Brook Forest, having moved to Oak Brook with our three young boys in 1974. We have seven grandchildren.

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Occupation: Retired

Education: On the job training and courses qualified me to hold the position of industrial design engineer in the field of automation. I was later self employed designing and building special assembly devices and machines.

Civic involvement: Upon moving to Oak Brook, I continued my interest in civic activities including acquisition and operation of the Sports Core, village signage ordinances, ZBA hearings, commercial area revitalization and numerous current village issues. My interest in local taxing allowed me to discover misdirected real estate taxes paid by McDonald's. My finding allowed McDonalds and the park district to recover over $265,000 in misdirected taxes. I serve on the Oak Brook Civic Association Board and report Oak Brook Park District meetings in the OBCA monthly newsletter.

Elected offices held: I served as trustee on the Bedford Park Village Board. I was the youngest trustee ever elected to a seat on that village board. I chaired the committee charged with police operations and the replacement of the police chief. I wrote the village's business license procedure that was adopted by the village.

Questions & Answers

What programs aren't paying for themselves? Would you keep, eliminate or change them? How and why?

The Oak Brook Park District staff provides a great number of wonderful programs and special events. That is its mission. Not every program should be expected to pay for itself. The issue of whether or not programs pay for themselves should be only one of many factors considered when staff reviews program performance as part of preparing the annual budget. Programs that are more popular with district residents should be given the greatest leeway. Improvement and positive changes should constantly be considered for all programs and activities. My goal would be to strike a reasonable balance between revenues from user fees and funds from the tax levy. I can justify continuing a popular program when it does not support itself, because I consider that to be one of the purposes of the tax levy. I also have no reluctance to use revenues from Central Park profit centers to upgrade or add amenities when and where they are needed. The lighted turf soccer field may very well fall within the category of not paying for itself. It is a new and very unique situation that may never pay for itself and yet does not lend itself to elimination or changes. In addition to the space occupied by the field, there is considerable additional park space dedicated to water detention, a sled hill and parking.


Is there any additional open space the park district needs to acquire? Please describe.

The park district should always be on the lookout for opportunities to better satisfy the needs of its residents. Oak Brook is fortunate to have the Sports Core, The DuPage County Forest Preserves, and open space owned by homeowner associations. Additional land is not available at Central Park, where it is needed most. The Oak Brook Park District initially incurred huge costs with a failed attempt at condemnation of open land to the south of Central Park. The park came up short a second time, despite voter approval of a referendum to fund the purchase of that same property. It is hard for me to envision any way to overcome the serious shortage of space at Central Park.

Are there any unmet recreational needs? If yes, what are they and how would you propose paying for them? Or, should they wait until the economy improves?

The 2011 Oak Brook Park District Master Plan approved by the park board at the November 14, 2011 board meeting included a list of numerous improvements and recreational amenities. Included were restroom facilities in the park, warming shelter, gazebos and picnic shelters, movies in the park, dog park and numerous other additions. Having been approved and not provided, I consider them to be unmet recreational needs. I strongly support fulfillment of the current needs of York Woods residents for playground equipment and I support implementation of long overdue upgrades at the Forest Glen satellite park. A revue of the park facilities at Chillem Park would also be in order. The Oak Brook Park District Board of Commissioners actively solicits memberships from within the 7-mile radius that it considers to be its area of service. This is done through various means including use of banners and advertising in out of town publications to reach those areas. The resulting increased usage now exceeds the capacity of the Aquatic Center, creating negative effects, increased complaints and a less pleasurable experience. Heavy usage creates scheduling and parking problems throughout Central Park. That impacts how our recreational needs are met.

Would you support sharing/pooling resources (i.e. printing, vehicles) with other local governments (school districts, village, etc.)? If so, what areas would you consider combining or merging to save money or improve efficiency?

Sharing of resources is very often not practical except in temporary or emergency situations. The park district currently has an agreement with the village to use public works equipment when needed and available. Park district employees are also covered through the village's insurance carrier. Village employees enjoy resident rates and a waiver of the park's $100 initiation fee. Historically there has been very little pooling or sharing and the reasons should be reviewed.

If you are a newcomer, what prompted you to run for the park board? If you're an incumbent, list your accomplishments or key initiatives in which you played a leadership role.

I am a member of the Oak Brook Civic Association Board of Directors and have attended every park district meeting and public hearing since June 2011, I write a report on each meeting for the association's monthly newsletter. As a result, I understand how the park district works. I was prompted to run for a seat on the park board because I feel fully qualified to contribute to park board planning and decisions. I believe I have a good ability to foresee the negative impact of poor decisions and also judge what is fair and what is not fair. The park board consistently refuses to better inform its residents despite repeated requests by me to take simple actions to increase its transparency. The park board refuses to use its existing equipment to audio record board meetings and public hearings so as to create an immediately accessible verbatim record. The park district refuses to use its simple microphone-amp-speaker system to improve the ability of all persons present to clearly hear what is said during meetings. It was necessary for me to file a request for review with the Illinois Attorney General Office to cause the park district to publish required legal notices in a newspaper that is actually available within the district. As a result, the district began publishing notices in the Doings instead of Shaw Publications. The park district refuses to disclose the substantial legal fees resulting from threatened litigation with the Village of Oak Brook involving soccer field lighting.

What other issues, if any, are important to you as a candidate for this office?

All issues currently facing the park district are important to me as a candidate. One of the most immediate issues is for the park board to change from operating the very successful Tennis Center as an enterprise fund. That will allow the large profit generated there to be used, unrestricted, where needed rather than accumulate as excessive reserves as is required of an enterprise fund.. Despite having received a $400,000 OSLAD grant for phase one of the baseball field reconfiguration plans, I would like to see a full review of all aspects of that two-phase project. The orientation of the baseball fields is questionable and the likelihood of receiving the anticipated second OSLAD grant for phase two is also very questionable. I'm concerned there is no plan to eliminate the hazardous on street parking along Forest Gate Road, despite several reported close calls involving car doors opening and children walking in the street. I will work to eliminate, for taxpaying residents of the district, the present $100 initiation fee. I will also work to create a more transparent administration by posting the agenda packet and the agenda at the same time, several days prior to the meeting as the village does. Oak Brook Park District elections are mostly uncontested. I spearheaded placement of a none-binding referendum question to reduce tenure from 6 years to 4 years to increase candidacy. The voters approved the term reduction by 84 percent, yet the current board refused to consider the will of the voters.

Please name one current leader who most inspires you.

Traveling tomorrow morning. I ran out of time and chose to pass on these questions.

What's the biggest lesson you learned at home growing up?

Candidate did not respond.

If life gave you one do-over, what would you spend it on?

Candidate did not respond.

What was your favorite subject in school and how did it help you in later life?

Candidate did not respond.

If you could give your children only one piece of advice, what would it be?

Candidate did not respond.