Dan Hust | Democrat
Michael Greco apologizes to the Monticello Village Board on Tuesday regarding his actions after being suspended by Mayor Gordon Jenkins.
Suspended Monticello rec director apologizes, gets job back
By Dan Hust
MONTICELLO March 8, 2013 A battle between Monticello Mayor/Acting Village Manager Gordon Jenkins and Recreation Attendant Michael Greco ended with verbal fireworks and an apology at Tuesday’s village board meeting.
Greco was suspended from his job by Jenkins on February 13 after a heated disagreement over events being held at the Ted Stroebele Recreation Center on Lincoln’s Birthday, a holiday when village offices are typically closed.
In various reports and a letter written by Greco, Greco accused Jenkins of unreasonably yelling at him and creating a difficult work environment.
But on Tuesday, Greco apologized to the board and audience, saying he had already apologized to Jenkins for his behavior after the suspension.
“My actions after I was suspended… were inappropriate,” he stated. “I did speak out of bounds.”
However, he added, “The day I was suspended I do not apologize for, because I was doing my job, as I always have.”
Greco received support from several in the audience, including Janette Williams, who was a member of a funeral party that had rented out the center for a post-funeral reception that day a gathering where Jenkins allegedly dressed down Greco.
“You were cold, insensitive and callous at the time of the loss of a person,” she told Jenkins during public comment.
“This man needs to be back to work,” added Tom Mack, the mayor’s brother-in-law, speaking of Greco.
It appears that’s already in the works, as Jenkins told the Democrat Greco is welcome back to work.
“Yes, he’s got his job back,” the mayor said. “There’s no hard feelings.”
On Wednesday, Jenkins said he hasn’t heard of an exact return date yet, but on Tuesday, Greco indicated he is coming back, saying he would not question the suspension, which he said was to ultimately last three weeks.
The controversy, however, remains and has evolved into a disagreement over what Jenkins says is a mandate in the village code for proof of a million-dollar liability insurance policy from any groups using the Stroebele Center.
“When you go by the law and code, that’s what keeps everyone honest,” Jenkins told the Democrat. “You can’t be selective. You have to treat everyone the same.”
But evidently that rule has not been uniformly enforced in the past, if at all, and Trustee TC Hutchins and resident Deb Mack (Jenkins’ sister) questioned its wisdom.
“I’ve used that [center] forever and never paid a fee,” said Mack, who runs the Community Progressive Response group. “... What is going on here? I don’t understand it.”
“We didn’t create that law,” Trustee Carmen Rue pointed out.
“So why are you enforcing it now?” wondered Williams.
“Then grandfather us in,” added Mack.
Resident David Gilman thought it potentially unfair, too, pointing out that non-residents use the village’s parks, yet the village cleans up after them at no charge.
“We have the ability to change the law to make that building community-friendly,” Hutchins noted. “... We need to continue letting our community folks use that building.”
Jenkins seemed agreeable to having a board discussion about it at a future date.