Two write-in candidates seek park board seats

March 28, 2019

Don Palmer and John Wade are both running as write-in candidates for Kankakee Valley Park District commissioner. They will face challenger Derek Mullady, who is on the ballot.

There are two seats available on the board in the April 2 election. Two incumbents, Matt Mullady and Duane Tucker, chose not to run for another term. Matt Mullady has been on the board since 2004 and Tucker has been a member since 2013.

What follows is profile candidates of Palmer and Wade. Derek Mullady declined an interview request from the Daily Journal.

Don Palmer

AGE: 67

OCCUPATION: Certified Public Accountant, Chief Financial Officer (Retired)

EXPERIENCE: Ernst & Young, big four accounting firm; Securities and Exchange Commission reporting; controller, The 7-Up Company, Allergan; consulting to Northern Trust Bank, Allstate Insurance, BP Amoco, Sabratek Medical Devices, Altivity Packaging and Iroquois Industrial Group. Over 25 years of volunteerism as Naperville Public Library Trustee, founding board member of DuPage County Botanical Garden, Terra Nova Film Foundation Board Treasurer (Aging and Elderhood); homeowners association president, historic district board member. Active farm family member spanning seven generations of environmental stewardship.

EDUCATION: University of Missouri, Bachelor’s of Science and Bachelor’s of Arts, school of accountancy; Washington University Master’s of Business Administration program; The Seven-Up Company’s executive leadership program

Why are you running for park district board?

“Parks are vitally important to ensuring the health of our families and youth, contributing to our economic and environmental well-being and to the overall establishment of the quality of life in our community. The most desirable communities are those that pride themselves on possessing a robust, active system of parks and recreation programs for public use and enjoyment. Businesses cite quality parks and recreations as one of the top reasons in decisions to relocate to a new area.”

What is the park district’s biggest challenge?

“For the KVPD, it is difficult to single out the biggest challenge. Although I am confident that recreational facilities such as Splash Valley will re-open, a long-term plan must be developed which addresses operational and capital needs. The park district must be fiscally sound and it must maintain its upward trend to restore its tarnished reputation created by the former park district director.”

What improvements would you like to make to the park district?

“We must offer programs that appeal to multiple generations, interests and abilities. We must know our community and the residents we serve. National trends show that park and recreation agencies are expected to be innovators that involve health and wellness, societal equity and conservation. For conservation, this includes planting of tree varieties favorable to the prevailing climate of 50 years hence. Trees benefit society by moderating climate, reducing atmospheric carbon dioxide, improving air and water quality, mitigating rainfall runoff and flooding and enhancing human health and social well-being and lowering noise impacts. Parkland management must become a higher priority.

John S. Wade

AGE: 68


EXPERIENCE: Local sports coach for more than 50 years: basketball at the CYO, special ed basketball and at St. Joseph, St. Teresa, Sts. Patrick and Teresa and Aquinas grade schools; girls JV basketball at Bishop McNamara Catholic High School; baseball at Jaycees Little League, Elks Pony League and Palomino; softball in an adult men’s and women’s league; and flag football at the YMCA. I also served as president of Little League for several years, on Booster Clubs and parish committees. I am past-president and a current member of the Kankakee Art League.

EDUCATION: Graduate of Bishop McNamara High School and attended Kankakee Community College.

Why are you running for park district board?

“I am running as a write-in candidate for the Kankakee Valley Park District board because currently it is getting on the right path. I would like to help the park district get reestablished in a positive way. The park district can offer a lot to our community and I hope to be a part of this.”

What is the park districts biggest challenge?

“I feel that the biggest challenge for our park district is getting the faith of the public back and to be able to offer opportunities for better use of the facilities.”

What improvements would you make to park district government?

“I could not answer that until I would become involved as a board member and be able to look at the information and assess what is needed.”

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