ROCKFORD - Things got pretty heated at Wednesday's Winnebago County Forest Preserve Board Meeting. Four board members asked for board president Randy Olson's resignation.
The call for a step-down stems from an issue that arose earlier this week. Olson hired part-time Roscoe police officer Theresa Rawaillot to fill a new public safety coordinator position. The position came about to fill the void the Winnebago County Sheriff will leave when their contract to patrol the forest preserves will end in September.
Several board members called out Olson on the hiring process because he did it without their consent. The board members calling for his resignation say that what he did was illegal, and just the tip of the iceberg in regard to problems between Olson and the board.
"If you were to look into our minutes you'd see the land purchase near the Four Lakes Forest Preserve was highly contested," said Commissioner Mary McNamara Bernsten. Bernsten is also the board vice-president.
"You could see that in other meetings too, our natural governance between each other is not ideal."
But it's a case of he said, she said. Olson says he had every right to do what he did in hiring Rawaillot. He called out board members saying they haven't gotten anything done since they all took office back in 2010.
"That's the kind of thing we've had all year long. They just don't want to get involved," said Olson.
"Status-quo seems to be the norm here, and I understand that it's a new board and most have never served on a board. They're afraid to move forward but in politics and if you're on a board you have to move forward."
Olson will continue to be the board president until at least next month, when the board will take its vote on whether or not to remove him. They will need 5 of 7 board members to vote for removal.
Rawaillot will continue to be in her newly appointed position, but her job too was put on the chopping block Wednesday night in a resolution to be voted on at that same meeting where Olson's job may be taken away too.
If Olson is removed from his position, Mary McNamara Bernsten will take over as board president.