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Springfield Park Board Releases Audit, Narrowly Approves Dog Park Fundraising
Springfield Park Board Releases Audit, Narrowly Approves Dog Park Fundraising

The Springfield Park Board’s president says a forensic audit didn’t uncover anything they didn’t already know.

The board ordered the audit after former park district executive director Mike Stratton resigned amid questions about a $2,100 pay advance without telling the board.

“We recovered quite a bit of money from our former executive director before he left,” said Sgro. “This audit basically says we got it all.”

Stratton maintained he’d done nothing wrong as employees are eligible for pay advances, as long as they’re paid back. The audit, released to the public Wednesday, found the district recouped the $2,100 out of Stratton’s final paycheck.

Sgro says the audit also made a few recommendations, some of which the district has already implemented. For example, it no longer pays employees for unused sick time upon resignation. The audit, conducted by Kerber, Eck and Braeckel, cost the district about $10,000 — money Sgro says is well spent.

“We needed to be assured that what we looked at was correct and we didn’t miss anything,” she said. “I think we owed it to the public to go through that process and to reassure the public that the monies to the district were recaptured.”

Fundraising for Washington Park Dog Park Green Lighted

Fundraising can get underway for a new dog park in Springfield’s Washington Park. But the 4-3 decision from the park board shows there are still concerns

About 1.2 acres on the park’s west side are being targeted, and the start-up and maintenance money would allegedly come entirely from fundraising. Board member Sara Wojcicki-Jimenez isn’t convinced that’s sustainable.

“If there are any glitches or issues with that, we’re just not in a condition, in my opinion, for the park district to take on an expansion,” she said. “We have had to cut back hours at pools, we had to cut back seasonal workers, we even closed Eisenhower Pool for the summer.”

The park district already operates a dog park in Stuart Park west of Veterans Parkway but there are no options more centrally located. Land use plans for the park would still have to come back to the park board for final approval.