Last week the Oak Park park board welcomed its newly elected members at a Committee of the Whole meeting. Newly elected members Jessica Bullock and Lise Valentine were sworn in by Oak Park Village Clerk Sandra Sokol, along with returning Commissioner Mark Gartland.

Departing Vice President Tom Philion and President David Kindler said their final goodbyes.

“Service to the park district has been sort of a gift to me by the community,” Kindler said. “Things are 200 percent better than they have been.”

“It has been a wonderful trip,” said Philion.

Gartland said that he will miss his former colleagues.

“It has been a wonderful four years with Dave and Tom on the board,” Gartland said. “The park district is, we feel, in a much better place because of you guys.”

Village President David Pope and village Trustee Ray Johnson also spoke briefly expressing their thanks to Kindler and Philion.

After being sworn in, Bullock and Valentine said that it would be hard to replace Kindler and Philion.

“We have big shoes to fill,” said Bullock.

“Thank you for modeling a functioning board and a functioning staff that I wanted to join,” said Valentine.

Bullock and Valentine agreed that it was an exciting time to serve on the park board.

“I think this is a great time to be on the board,” Valentine said. “A lot of positive things are going on in the district.”

At the Committee of the Whole meeting, the park board members unofficially divvied up the park board offices for the nest two years. Although official action will not take place until Thursday night’s park board meeting, the commissioners decided Gartland will become president of the park board, Marty Bracco vice president, and Christine Graves will remain as secretary. Valentine will serve as treasurer.

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