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Justice Park District Commissioner Mark Leahy (left), Judge Ed King (center), and Justice Park District Commissioner Tabatha Sutera. (Photos by Carol McGowan)

Justice Park District Commissioner Mark Leahy (left), Judge Ed King (center), and Justice Park District Commissioner Tabatha Sutera. (Photos by Carol McGowan)

Sutera, Leahy sworn onto Justice Park Board

By Carol McGowan

A new era is underway for the Justice Park District.

Commissioners Tabatha Sutera and Mark Leahy were sworn in as full-time commissioners of the park board May 24 by Judge Ed King during the regularly scheduled meeting.

Gone are former board president Louie Longhi and commissioner Roger Cerny.

Sutera, a lifelong resident of Justice, was elected to a six-year term in April after being elected in 2019 to a two-year term. She and her husband are raising their four children in Justice.

Justice Lib Leahy sworn in

Commissioner Mark Leahy being sworn in by Judge Ed King.

Sutera is active in coaching her children’s sports teams as well as being involved in the Parents for Education at Brodnicki School in Indian Springs District 109. She also works as an assistant preschool teacher.

Mark Leahy was elected to a six-year term in April. He’s a graduate of Governors State University with a degree in Information Systems and Technology and is working on a master’s degree in cyber security.

He’s a lifelong Justice resident, and an active member of Two Holy Martyrs Church. He looks forward to helping make the park district a thriving foundation for the entire community.

They join Carrie Bernardoni, who was elected to a six-year term in 2019.

Longhi was not present at the May 24 meeting, but new board president Bernardoni showed the crowd a plaque that will be given to him for his past service to the park district.

Longhi was first elected to the board in 2011, but finished last out of four candidates in the April election.

Bernardoni said the board is in the process of vacating Cerny’s spot on the board. He was elected to a six-year term in 2017, but has attended only one meeting in the past year, she said.

“We have our attorney taking the steps necessary to vacate his position,” she said. “Then we’ll be able to appoint a commissioner to the fifth spot on the board.”

Bernardoni said controversial part-time Park Director Joe Vallez is also leaving.

“We are not renewing his contract,” she said. “We’re working on that now. He may be leaving us at the end of the year.”

Justice Lib Sutera sworn in

Commissioner Tabatha Sutera being sworn in by Judge Ed King.

Vallez has been criticized for being an absentee park director. In his defense, he’s a busy guy, as he is also a full-time park director for the North Berwyn Park District and a part-time park director for the Bensenville Park District. He also had been director of the Marengo Park District for five years. He was replaced at the end of January when his contract expired.

The Justice Park District operates a Community Center at 7747 S. Oak Grove Ave., and three parks.

The Community Center serves as home to the district’s administrative office. It was initially constructed in 1988. The center is equipped with one office, a preschool center, a multiple purpose room, restrooms, mechanical room, and general storage areas. The community center rents out its multiple purpose room and accepts registration six days per week.

Larry Noyes is the fourth board member. He was elected board vice president on May 24.

Bob Bong contributed to this report.

Justice Lib Board 2021

Justice Park Board commissioners (from left) Mark Leahy, Tabatha Sutera, Carrie Bernardoni, and Larry Noyes hold their first meeting as the new board.

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