Fired Cedar Lake parks director not commenting on dismissal

2013-11-03T19:15:00Z 2013-11-04T12:03:05Z Fired Cedar Lake parks director not commenting on dismissalMary Wilds Times Correspondent nwitimes.com
November 03, 2013 7:15 pm  • 

CEDAR LAKE | Former Parks Director Mary Joan Dickson and her attorney so far are not commenting on a town-generated document regarding her dismissal.

The recently released document states Dickson was insubordinate because she “failed to properly account for a cash donation and donated equipment.” The document goes on to say Dickson failed to disclose she was “in possession of a cash donation and donated equipment.”

“These violations were in addition to a previous instance of improper financial management within a six-month period and constituted serious misconduct,” the document said.

Dickson referred questions to her attorney, Theresa Massa, of Valparaiso.

“I have no comment,” Massa said.

Town Manager Ian Nicolini confirmed the document was released by his office in response to a public records quest by an individual. The individual then sent it to The Times.

“We responded to a records request pursuant to the Indiana Public Records Act,” Nicolini said.

The cover letter states, “These are all public records that are not protected by attorney client privilege pursuant to the Indiana Public Records Statute.”

There have been howls of protest from residents since Dickson was dismissed roughly two months ago. Residents have called for her to be reinstated with back pay, and described her dismissal as the culmination of a “witch hunt.”

Last month, the Town Council eliminated Dickson’s old position and added a new, part-time parks recreation coordinator position.

Dickson spent 34 years working in one manner or another for Cedar Lake and the Hanover Community School Corp. — as a volunteer, teacher, coach and as the town's parks director.

Town officials also have declined to comment on her dismissal. Nicolini declined to discuss the newly released document any further.

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