Expert: forest preserve board members justifed in feud

Jul 19, 2012

Members of the Winnebago County Forest Preserve Board have asked Randy Olson to step down as board president.  They're upset with Olson for not including their input on a new hire.  Olson says he plans to keep his title.

Curt Wood is a retired public administration professor at N-I-U.  He says even though state law appears to allow Olson to make the hiring decision on his own, board members are right to criticize him:

"There's a lot of research on this-- that the most effective mayors or presidents of boards, regardless of form of government, are the ones that use a facilitator-leadership style, respecting their fellow elected officials and working in tandem as a team." - Curt Wood, retired NIU public administration professor

He also says smaller governing boards need more administrative help to avoid a scenario like this one:

"It would be ideal if there was an administrator who the department heads could work with on a daily basis and not have to then turn only to the president for guidance."

Commissioners could vote to replace Olson as board president. The board's next meeting is August 15th.