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DuPage County forest preserve executive director retires after 7 months

District taps county court administrator Lapinski as replacement

After only seven months at the helm of the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County, Executive Director Arnie Biondo will retire Sept. 2, according to a news release from the district.

Biondo will be replaced by Oak Brook resident John J. Lapinski, a 53-year-old court administrator for the Office of the Chief Judge of the 18th Judicial Circuit Court.

“John is an outstanding administrator and well-respected throughout DuPage County,” said preserve President D. "Dewey" Pierotti in the release. “He manages the high expectations of nearly 300 employees and judges throughout the county and I’m confident that he will be able to handle the high expectations of the DuPage community as well.”

Biondo began his duties in January, but was placed on paid leave Aug. 5 by the district Board of Commissioners.

Officials said at the time he was "evaluating employment options" and that the decision of whether he would remain with the district was his alone.

Pierotti said Biondo's choice was based on an early retirement incentive program enacted in July through the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund.

The program was touted as a way for the district to cut costs by restructuring or eliminating many positions, saving upwards of $1 million annually, according to a previous district news release.

Starting Aug. 31, employees who are at least 50 years old and have 20 years of service credit with the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund can purchase five additional years of credit before retiring.

Biondo signed a three-year contract worth $188,000 per year, according to the document.

The soon-to-be-retired director did not make a statement on his departure in the release.

Lapinski is a long-time DuPage County resident and has served in administrative roles for the Illinois Supreme Court and the DuPage County State's Attorney's Office. He has been a court administrator since 2009, and is also a law professor for the Chicago-Kent College of Law.

He was given a three-year contract and will be paid $160,000 annually, beginning Oct. 1.

“I’m excited to start a new chapter in my career,” Lapinski said in the release. “The Forest Preserve District’s conservation and preservation mission is one I personally believe to be important, and I look forward to leading the district into the future.”

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