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DuPage forest preserve director may be out after only months on the job

WHEATON – The Forest Preserve District of DuPage County may be on the hunt for a new executive director only seven months after hiring the last one.

The district's Board of Commissioners met for several hours Tuesday in a closed executive session to discuss the future employment of director Arnie Biondo. After emerging, the commissioners announced he had been placed on paid leave.

Both sides are "evaluating employment options," according to a statement from the district.

Biondo was hired in January to replace Brent Manning, who stepped down in June 2012 due to health and family concerns.

When he was hired, the former Carol Stream Park District director said he was looking forward to the opportunity, and hoped to expand strategic partnerships across the county and turn the district into a "resource for the residents."

Biondo signed a three-year contract worth $188,000 per year, according to the document. The contract also includes a without cause termination clause.

The district said in the statement that further details will be made public in the next two weeks.

District spokeswoman Susan Olafson said the decision now rests with Biondo and that the district won't release any further information until the matter is resloved, as it is a personnel issue.

Biondo's possible departure comes at a time of transition in district leadership. President D. "Dewey" Pierotti Jr. will retire after the November election and be replaced by Republican commissioner Joseph Cantore, who is running unopposed.

Operations across the 60 forest preserves and 25,000 acres of preserve land will continue throughout the process, according to the statement.

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