Parks commissioner joins harbor bid
Updated: December 2, 2012 6:56AM
WILMETTE — Weeks after the Wilmette Park District backed away from bidding on a $67,000 management lease for Wilmette Harbor, it has distanced itself from Commissioner Mike Murdock’s involvement in a private bid for the same business.
After a closed session Oct. 27, the board issued a statement saying it wasn’t connected with Murdock’s effort, didn’t endorse it and that Murdock “should have advised the board of his relationship with the group.”
Murdock has resigned as chairman of the parks and recreation committee, which oversees district parks, and to which beachfront and harbor-related issues have often been referred.
If the bid by Wilmette Harbor Management is accepted by the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District, which owns the harbor, Murdock will be expected to refrain from discussions about or voting on “any issues related to the harbor, adjacent park, beach or parking issues during the remainder of his tenure,” the board stated.
That would theoretically exclude Murdock from any upcoming debate on the future of the district’s lakefront master plan.
Murdock said Tuesday he was asked to be part of the WHM group on Oct. 19, and that he checked with district Director Steve Wilson and district attorneys the next Monday, Oct. 22, to make sure there were no legal barriers to doing so. WHM registered the same day as a non-profit, just one day before the MWRD opened bids on Oct. 23.
In an emailed answer to questions from The Life, Murdock said the bid process is ongoing. He also said he told other board members Oct. 23. He said his Sept. 20 park district vote against the park district pursuing a lease was a separate issue, since it came well before he was asked to join WHM: “While I was disappointed, I do believe it was the right decision, given the potential financial burden on taxpayers.”
Park District Board President Jim Brault, who Monday called the incident “unusual,” said Murdock hadn’t breached any district rules.