BLACKBERRY TWP.—Blackberry Township Supervisor Dennis Ryan resigned his position last week, following numerous disagreements with township trustees on a variety of issues.
“I’m sorry to have to do this,” Ryan said on Tuesday. “There were just too many disagreements as far as policy.”
Ryan said that he was consistently outnumbered 4-1 in votes on issues.
One issue that had recently become problematic was regarding a lease the township had on McNair Field. The lease, which expired in 2013, was with Burr Ridge company Transmission Relay Corporation, and included a provision that granted use of 5 of the 20 acres for Kaneland area athletic leagues in exchange for a fee of $1 per year. According to officials, the checks were never cashed.
The township has been in the process of attempting to renegotiate a lease with the owners. Ryan was to follow up with the owners during the past month, but according to trustee Harley Veldhuizen, he had not contacted them.
Ryan said he did not agree with the township’s involvement with the property, and felt that the trustees were trying to create an “under the table” park district, without a referendum.
After the township meeting on Tuesday, trustee Tim Norris said that Ryan had been “out of his element” and that the position had been “more than he could handle.”
Norris defended the township’s involvement with the Kaneland athletic groups and McNair Field.
He said the township was simply enabling the local clubs to use the field. According to Norris, the township holds the lease for the property, but the clubs have done all the work on the field.
The township is now trying to come up with a reasonable dollar amount of rent per acre for the new lease. He said the township pays the rent and the liability insurance, and the clubs do everything else.
Trustee Jim Michels is taking the lead on the communication with the owners.
“We’re stepping in the right direction for Youth Baseball,” trustee Veldhuizen said.
Trustees on Tuesday unanimously voted to accept Ryan’s resignation and then tabled a decision to appoint a successor to replace him until the March meeting.
“The township has 60 days to replace him,” Township Road Commissioner Rod Feece said.
Ryan has only been in the position about a year, so unless the township has a special election, residents will have to wait another three years to elect someone else.