To the editors:
After returning from vacation this week, I had the opportunity to read your December 11 Hot Type regarding Colette Holt. In the article, Park District Associate Superintendent Holt claims that I participated in the Park District's handling of personnel matters involving her and that this conduct was politically motivated. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Had I been interviewed prior to the writing of this article, I would have made two points. First, I would have verified the statement by Park District General Superintendent Robert C. Penn that by design I have not been involved in any way in personnel matters involving Ms. Holt. Shortly after my primary victory, I became aware of Ms. Holt's strong support for my opponent in the General Election. At that time, I informed the General Superintendent that I would remove myself from all personnel matters involving Ms. Holt. This way, there would be no basis for claiming political motivation in the handling of any matter and, hopefully, Park District operations would not be encumbered by this awkward situation.
Second, I would have explained my strong advocacy as the Park District's chief lawyer to assure compliance with the Shakman decision prohibiting political involvement in personnel decisions and strengthening the terms of our plan of compliance. Upon accepting the position of General Attorney in 1987, I promptly reviewed the existing plan of compliance and, with the approval of the United States District Court, implemented a stronger, more workable plan. Under the new plan, any complaints we have received of violations of the plan have been fully investigated and reported to the Court.
I am confident that any allegations of Shakman violations by or against Ms. Holt will be handled according to these Court-approved procedures.
Nancy L. Kaszak Chicago Park District General Attorney State Representative-Elect
Michael Miner replies:
I regret that my attempts to reach Kaszak before writing the Hot Type she cites were unsuccessful.