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- Position sought: McHenry County Board, District 5
- E-mail address: email@example.com
- Family: Wife: Carol, Children: Charlotte and Anna
*Bachelor’s Degree in Operational Management/Informational Systems, Northern Illinois University, 1994
*Cary Grove High School: 1989 graduate
- Occupation: Owner/President: Innovative Component Sales, Inc.
- Related experience:
1997-Curent: Board Member, Consolidated School District 158 (Board President for 7 years)
I am a life-long McHenry County resident with an extensive background as a volunteer community servant. For the last 14 years as a member and as President of the District 158 Board of Education, I have been an advocate for the families and taxpayers in Huntley, Lake in the Hills, Algonquin, Lakewood and Union. I have worked very hard to provide the best possible education for the students with the limited revenue from the taxpayers. Recently I led that board to a flat tax levy so that the school portion of tax bills would not increase next year. The skills I have utilized in helping District 158 become the high achieving and fiscally responsible district it is today will be used to keep McHenry County a desirable place to live, work and raise a family. I also own a small business with offices in Huntley and Woodstock. These last few years have been very difficult and I am keenly aware that business owners are having a hard time meeting financial obligations given the terrible economy. Just as members of the private sector have had to decrease their spending, I believe there are ways that McHenry County can cut spending and lessen the burden on the taxpayers without sacrificing the quality of service that we have all come to expect and enjoy.
- What would your priorities be if elected to this office?
Priority #1: Improving the Business Climate:
Illinois has a reputation for being a very business unfriendly state and I believe McHenry County’s #1 priority needs to be creating a climate that makes our existing employers want to stay here, and businesses from outside our county and state to want to relocate here. I believe this is especially important for McHenry County since our county borders Wisconsin, a state that is actively trying to lure our businesses over the border. Policies regarding new businesses starts and relocations need to be reevaluated so they are competitive with what others are offering as incentives. Policies for existing business owners who wish to hire more employees or expand must also be reevaluated so that procedures for expansions are easy, yet fair. Incentives could include job training, rebates on taxes, and low interest loans for capital improvements. Zoning laws, as they relate business development, should also be reviewed and made less restrictive, and the county should continue working with the Economic Development Corporation to actively solicit companies to move to the county. Being this close to Wisconsin does not have to be a detriment to job creation. It can be a benefit if the proper enticements and regulations are in place.
Priority #2: Streamlining the Functionality of County Government:The County has many committees, sub committees and special committees that do the work and governance of the County. I believe the County Board members should look at the function of each of these layers and streamline them to make the system as a whole more efficient. Under my leadership as Board President for School District 158, we cut the number of regular scheduled meetings from four per month to two. We also cut the average length of each meeting from five or more hours per meeting to today’s average of two or three. This was achieved by putting the proper processes, procedures and policies in place so that the Board could efficiently and effectively govern. One thing that is very common in local units of government is that board members try to do the work of the administrators. A healthy board provides the administrative staff, which was hired because they are experts in their field, with clear and concise direction and then relies on staff to provide recommendations based on data and research. Administrative staff should be held accountable for their actions and the Board should not interfere with staff work.
Priority #3 Improving the Budget Process:
I believe the budget process in McHenry County can be improved for efficiency and transparency. For the last 14 years, I have been involved with creating budgets for District 158, so I can bring a fresh perspective to board discussions about creating budgets that meet the needs of the residents, but also show accountability to the taxpayers. In my research into McHenry County’s budget process, I learned that the County Board does not look at the budget until August, only three months before they are statutorily required to adopt it. In my opinion, the Board should establish the variables that they want to use every year before the budget process is started so that staff can present relevant and meaningful data for discussion. Each month some aspect of the budget could be discussed at the Board level, and as more accurate information is obtained it could be inserted into the next year’s proposed working budget.
- What sets you apart from the other candidates?
I would bring a Huntley voice to the McHenry County Board. Last year Huntley was the second-fastest growing municipality in the state, yet Huntley currently has no representation on the County Board. I have a proven record of success in managing large, balanced budgets and for demanding accountability from employees. I would also bring a small business-owners voice to the board.
- What are your ideas on promoting job growth in McHenry County?
Please see my Priority #1 above.
- The County Board recently voted to increase its tax levy, which raises property taxes for county residents. Do you support this decision? Why or why not?
I would have voted against the increase in the tax levy. Any increase in taxes on the people of the County during these tough economic times creates a hardship for families and business owners. In my current role as President of the District 158 Board of Education, I recently led the board in the approval of a flat levy for next year so residents will not have an increase for the school portion of their tax bills. It was the right thing to do. We made this decision based on a belief that a tax increase during a declining economy is not in the best interest of the residents we serve. I believe the county board should have shown an equal level of sensitivity, especially since they have a healthy fund reserve.
- What is your stance on open land in McHenry County?
I believe it is the job of the County Board to establish a plan that protects open space while maximizing existing municipalities’ potential to bring new businesses to the area. Balance is important, so that the rural character of the western part of the county can remain untarnished, while the more developed parts of the county can continue to grow and prosper. While growth is important, it must be controlled growth so that open space can also be integrated into future development.
- What major issue would you like to address?
As stated in one of my priorities above, I believe the budget process in McHenry County can be improved for efficiency and transparency. I was very surprised to learn that the county board members do not look at the complete budget until two months before their annual budget vote. I was also surprised and disappointed to learn that the County does not utilize a zero-based budget process. Rather than asking department heads to only justify new expenses they want to add to their budget, a zero-based budget process would require department heads to justify every dime, every year.
- Who are your political heroes and why?
I don’t really believe in political heroes because I have yet to see the perfect politician. For me, the real heroes are the men and women who wear a uniform and defend our liberties.
- Have you ever been convicted of a felony, sued successfully or had a restraining order placed against you? If so, please explain.
No, I have not.