Park District casts its lot with Seger, won't open search for executive director

Posted: Nov. 15, 2012 11:04 am Updated: Nov. 29, 2012 12:15 pm

Herald-Whig Staff Writer

The Quincy Park District will get a new home in 2013, but it won't be getting a new leader.

The Park Board on Wednesday night announced that interim Executive Director Ed Seger will stay in the position.

Seger was named interim director when Dan Gibble left the district In January to take a similar position in Sycamore. Seger agreed in March to remain in the position for a year, but the Park Board has scrapped plans to advertise for an executive director next spring.

"The board is very content, and Ed is willing to do it," board President John Frankenhoff said. "Not only do we have the right man in the right job, we are saving a boatload of money."

With Seger taking on the position for the long term, the Park Board has no plans to find a new director of parks, the job that Seger held before Gibble's departure. Sveger is paid $66,314 a year, which includes an extra $250 a week for performing the duties of the director of parks. Gibble's base pay when he resigned was $86,794. Not having to hire a new director, Frankenhoff said, will save the district "roughly $70,000" annually.

Seger is happy the board had the confidence in him.

"I wasn't certain that it was really for me," said Seger, who started with the district as safety supervisor in March 2001. "I liked the director of parks job, but then after having been in the (director's) job and seeing what it's like to work with the board, they make it easy. It's a nice board to work for and with."

Seger said he doesn't plan to do anything differently.

"We had recently gone through comprehensive planning thing and the No. 1 thing was to make sure to take care of what we have," he said. "Our main focus isn't so much to come up with anything exotic; it's to take a look at what we've got and try to make it better."

That no-nonsense approach by Seger, Frankenhoff said, is what appealed to the board.

"We are entirely comfortable with him," Frankenhoff said. "He knows how the board operates. He takes this job, which is potentially complicated, and simplifies it. He stays on task for what the board's objectives are and doesn't create additional work or stuff for us to consider. He is very focused on our priorities. He's not looking to do new things and put a feather in his cap."

The announcement about Seger was one of several moves for the Park Board. It filled a vacancy left by Tom Behrens' resignation last month by appointing Greg Feldberg to the vacant seat. Feldberg was recommended by Behrens. Feldberg will complete the rest of Behrens' term, expires in April.

"We talked to him prior to making the decision, and his background seemed to fit," Frankenhoff said of Feldberg. "He has a good financial background through his professional side. We thought he had a lot of the tools to fit right in with us. He has hit the ground running and is already asking probing and challenging questions and kind of making us justify what we've already decided, which is good."

Feldberg, 35, is a financial consultant at Stifel Nicolaus. He took out a petition to run for a board seat in 2011 but decided against running. He is one of five people who have taken out petitions to run for a seat in the April 2013 municipal election.

"We have this huge asset here in the community, and I want to help," Feldberg said. "I want to learn about the park district in general and see how it works. As a taxpayer, I want to do my best to save us money. My goal is to be a good steward of the taxpayers's money."

Behrens had served as vice president of the board. That slot will be filled by Jeff Van Camp.

Four spots on the board will be up for election in April. Frankenhoff and Commissioners Mike Ridder and Patricia McGlothlin are also at the ends of their terms. Frankenhoff and McGlothlin have taken out petitions and will seek re-election. Chris Blakeman and Abby Schlipmann also have taken out petitions.