Olson out as Forest Preserve president

Aug 23, 2012

Randy Olson was removed Wednesday as president of the Winnebago County Forest Preserve District Board over his management style, exemplified by his creation of a new public safety position and filling that post without board consent.

Commissioner Mary McNamara Bernsten, who was named the new president, was joined by Judy Barnard, Lee Johnson, Audrey Johnson and Gloria Lind in voting to oust Olson. Cheryl Maggio voted to retain him. Olson remains a commissioner.

Olson announced he had created a new public safety and risk management job to coordinate police patrols of forest preserves with nearby police departments rather than maintain a contract with the Winnebago County Sheriff for law enforcement needs.

He then selected 13-year Roscoe police veteran Theresa Rawaillot, a fellow Law Enforcement Aviation Coalition pilot, to fill the position.

The board may vote at its next meeting Sept. 5 to eliminate Rawaillot’s job effective Sept. 12. McNamara Bernsten said commissioners have already consulted attorneys and believe they’re able to terminate the woman Olson hired without their consent.

McNamara said the district can focus on its budget, its strategic plan, and replacing Executive Director Tom Kalousek, who retired in October but is working part-time until his replacement is named.