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Note: Answers provided have not been edited for grammar, misspellings or typos. In some instances, candidate claims that could not be immediately verified have been omitted.
City: Vernon Hills
Website: Candidate did not respond.
Office sought: Vernon Hills Park District, 6-year term
Family: Married 22 years (Joyce), two children (Sara 18 and Eric 15).
Occupation: Account Manager, W. W. Grainger, Lake Forest, IL.
Education: Bachelor of Liberal Arts, Monmouth College with a concentration in Business Management, 1983
Civic involvement: Involved in several groups and committees with the community including the Vernon Hills Stingers Fastpitch Softball Program, Vernon Hills High School Project Turf, Hawthorn School District Future Search Committee and 2010 Senior Class Party. Active in the support of the Special Recreation Association of Central Lake County by caddying at the Women's Only Golf Fundraiser and refereeing basketball tournaments.
Elected offices held: Commissioner, Vernon Hills Park District 2006-2012
Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: No
Key Issue 1
Working with other governmental agencies to provide the best services possible for the community. As elected officials, we are responsible for the effective use of the dollars that are brought into our agencies. Building on the partnerships with the other governmental agencies, as the Park District has been doing, makes effective use of those monies and brings the most value to the residents of Vernon Hills.
Key Issue 2
Continued improvement in the parks and the programs we offer. While our Park District provides our residents with beautiful parks and excellent programming, I feel we can always improve on the quality. Being a four time finalist for the National Gold Metal and an Illinois Distinguished Agency (one (1) of only 33 in the state of Illinois which has over 350 Park Districts) shows our residents our commitment to the quality of the Park District they are provided. That should never hold us back from always trying to reach higher to provide even more beautiful looking parks with different and better quality programming.
Key Issue 3
Cost effective management and proper planning. Being involved in an agency such as the Park District in these times can make for some difficult decisions. Budgets must be squeezed while residents expect the programs and facilities remain at the highest level they have come to expect. We must continue along the path of providing a Park District our residents enjoy and are proud of, while being financially responsible in building our reserves and increasing the scholarship opportunities available during these difficult times.
What programs aren't paying for themselves? Would you keep, eliminate or change them? How and why?
Profitability can depend on the program and their strategic role in the function of the Park District. Sometimes programs don't pay for themselves immediately and need time to gain momentum in the community before they can achieve the profitability you desire. I believe you need to give programs a chance to gain that momentum before you can consider eliminating them. Other programs provide value to the community (baby sitting class, CPR) that doesn't necessarily need to be profitable based on the value they bring. As for changing programs, we consistently are offering new programs and send out surveys at the end of each program to evaluate feedback from the participants of the programs as well as internally evaluate what we can do better or more efficiently to provide better programs for our residents.
Is there any additional open space the park district needs to acquire? Please describe.
In Vernon Hills, we are blessed with a fantastic park system that provides our residents with wonderful outdoor and open space alternatives. That being said, as a Park District Commissioner, I believe we should always be on the lookout for additional open space. We are the caretakers of the parks for years to come and once land is developed, that opportunity is lost if not forever or at least the foreseeable future.
Are there any unmet recreational needs? If yes, what are they and how would you propose paying for them? Or, should they wait until the economy improves?
Within a community the size and diversity of Vernon Hills, there is always going to be some unmet recreational needs. We are constantly looking to provide new and different opportunities to our residents (ping pong, adult kick ball) that can be offered in a cost effective manner. The real unmet recreational need for this community is indoor programmable space. Even with using our partners in the Hawthorn School District, we need to have more gym space, a year round indoor walking track for the residents, open indoor ""green"" space that can be used in a variety of ways. As for the timing of this indoor facility, now is not the time. We must first pay off our existing debt (completed in 2014) from a previous bond and then we can examine the economy and begin discussion of the needs and requirements of this facility and how is the best method of paying for it.
Would you support sharing/pooling resources (i.e. printing, vehicles) with other local governments (school districts, village, etc.)? If so, what areas would you consider combining or merging to save money or improve efficiency?
As a commissioner, I not only support it but have worked very hard in my six (6) years to utilize every opportunity to take advantage of shared resources. During my time as a commissioner, we have made an intergovernmental agreement with the Hawthorn School Board, to maintain their outdoor athletic facilities, create the enrichment program after school, utilize their indoor gym space and partnered to develop open space across the street from two (2) of their schools to provide open green recess/gym class space. We have also partnered with the Village of Vernon Hills on the improvements to Century Park providing the residents with a showplace to hold community events as well as the sharing of equipment and staff to provide the best possible solution for the residents of Vernon Hills. We also partner with the Police Department for the security in our parks. This is something we have been very effective with and I look forward to doing much more of this in the future.
If you are a newcomer, what prompted you to run for the park board? If you're an incumbent, list your accomplishments or key initiatives in which you played a leadership role.
While serving as President for two (2) years and Vice President for three (3), the Park District has enjoyed several accomplishments. Being named an Illinois Distinguished Agency (one (1) of only 33 in the state of Illinois which has over 350 Park Districts) and four (4) time finalist for the National Gold Metal for Park Districts highlight the list. Signing of intergovernmental agreements, the Century Park north end renovation (including a $400,000 grant), shoreline stabilization, recycling in the parks, energy efficient lighting within the Sullivan Center continue a tradition of leadership and environmental stewardship this Park District has become known for. Lead the search that resulted in the hiring of the new Executive Director who has worked to take the daily operations and customer service to its highest levels. Received the 2009 Illinois Association of Park Districts Rising Star award for demonstrating exemplary performance in duties and responsibilities as a board member and has performed significant or noteworthy projects demonstrating positive impact and dedication to the field of parks and recreation.