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New Chicago Heights Park District Head To 'Clean Up' Board: Pres

Patch logo Patch 2/24/2022 Eileen O'Gorman
According to officials, some people on the park district board were attempting to award contracts that would benefit their friends and family. © Peggy Bayard/Patch According to officials, some people on the park district board were attempting to award contracts that would benefit their friends and family.

CHICAGO HEIGHTS, IL — A longtime Chicago Heights resident will take over as superintendent of the Chicago Heights Park District, officials announced last week.

Shari Demitrowicz will replace Mayor David Gonzalez who had been serving as the interim superintendent since August of 2021 in addition to his mayoral duties.

Last year, current park board president Jessica Mangiaracina ordered an investigation into the 2021 park board's spending and contracts. According to the findings, certain contracts benefitted then-board members' family and friends.

“Under the previous park board majority and previous district superintendent, financial mismanagement, wasteful contracts, and expensive political cronyism plagued the district,” Mangiaracina said in a press release.

According to the board president, Demitrowicz will "clean up" the park district.

Demitrowicz received her doctorate in education from University of St. Francis in Joliet and recently served as the principal of Kankakee High School and Serena Hills Elementary School. Demitrowicz told Patch her prior roles helped her develop a new approach to programming.

“Innovative programming is vital to creating diverse multigenerational to intergenerational experiences and interactions,” said Dr. Demitrowicz. “It is essential to provide a vision for programming that focuses on the present as well as the future in developing healthy lifestyles.”

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