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updated: 2/10/2012 4:26 PM

Bob Getz: Candidate Profile

Kane County Board District 22 (Democrat)

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  • Bob Getz, running for Kane County Board District 22

    Bob Getz, running for Kane County Board District 22




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.

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City: Elgin

Website: Candidate did not respond.

Office sought: Kane County Board District 22

Age: 68

Family: Married, three children and five grandchildren

Occupation: Officer, United States Army, 1965-2003 - Retired Facilities/Construction, University of Illinois-Chicago and William Rainey Harper College, 1976-2007 - Retired Trustee, Elgin Community College, 2003-Present

Education: Bachelor of Science in History, Loyola University, 1965 Command and Staff Officers Course, Command and Staff College, 1983

Civic involvement: Edgewater Community - Since moving to this community in 2006, I have been an active member of a variety of committees and activities to include the Neighborhood and Civic Committees. Through those experiences, I have worked with our local government officials in resolving problems that have developed within and around our community. Those actions included working with Elgin's Park District to enhance our access to the surrounding bike paths, Elgin's Downtown Economic Development Group in introducing our citizens to Elgin's entertainment opportunities, Elgin and Kane County in providing Edgewater (plus the surrounding communities) with the Cross Walk on Randall at College Green and Kane County's Forest Preserve District in making our community aware of the future development/funding of the environmental area within our community. VFW 1307 and the Inter-Service Family Assistance Committee (ISFAC)- I work to support our Veterans. I have developed a network of individuals who refer current and former Service Members to me for assistance. Three examples: A Sailor in the Navy on an Aircraft Carrier in the Pacific emailed me to ask for assistance in seeing his Mother who was diagnosed with Cancer and a short time to live. I was able to put him in contact with the various responsible agencies that were able to bring him home to Elgin before his Mother passed. A former Soldier who lost his job, his wife was pregnant, they had a sick child and were evicted from their home was referred to me for assistance. This was during the last Congressional Campaign where I was part of a group that worked with both the Democratic and Republican Candidates as well as community members in caring for his family, finding a home and locating employment. A former Marine had serious Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) problems and his wife with two children needed assistance. As the group I formed was assisting them, there was a fire in their home (the damage was paid for by their insurance company which had recently had its premium paid by a member of the group I formed). Their needs were provided for and losses not covered by insurance were provided. Resurrection Catholic Church - While a resident of Bartlett, IL, my family belonged to Resurrection. During that time, I provided Religious Education Classes for 17 consecutive years, served on the Parish Board and was an active member.

Elected offices held: Trustee, Elgin Community College (ECC), First Term 2003-2009, Re-Elected 2009-2015. In that position, I have served District 509 in a number of different efforts. Following are four examples: Alliance for College Readiness. I have been a member of the Parents (STEPS) Committee from the beginning. There is a difficulty in our community where 60-70% of the students applying to ECC are not capable of entering college level courses and require remedial work before attaining the necessary academic level to proceed into a college level course. Over the past six years, ECC has developed a very positive relationship with the supporting school districts which has resulted in positive results and increased abilities on the part of those students to proceed from high school graduation to college level work without remedial course work. ECC Visit to the U.S. Department of Education. In February 2012, Trustees and staff from ECC will participate in a Legislative Visit to Washington DC as part of the annual Association of Community College Trustees (ACCT) Lobbying Efforts. I initiated and provided the opportunity, as part of ECC's Visit, to brief the Special Assistant and Advisor to the Secretary on the Secretary's Initiative on College Access on our progress with the Alliance for College Readiness at ECC. The White House Community Leaders Briefing Series. Since attending this Briefing, I have become a White House Volunteer. Being a Volunteer means acting as a conduit between the White House Staff and our Community. I relate the message from the staff to the community and reaction of the community to the staff -- focusing on educational issues. U.S. Department of Education's Community College Summit. I was invited to attend and submitted a paper to this event. The focus upon which I submitted my report was on our Veterans who would be attending college on the Post-9/11 GI Bill of Rights.

Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: No

Candidate's Key Issues

Key Issue 1

Fiscally Responsible.

As I walked the community within District 22 to have my petitions signed, the greatest concern I observed in conversations with the voters was REAL ESTATE TAXES.

Once I mentioned I was running for a Kane County Office, the almost inevitable comment was on the increase in their REAL ESTATE TAXES.

Since we were in the process of developing our 2012 Tax Levy at Elgin Community College (ECC), I began to review the alternatives to determine if it were possible to lower the Tax Rates for ECC.

I am convinced that we can lower that Levy at ECC and have challenged my fellow Trustees to do so at the College.

Should I be elected as a Kane County Board Member, I will do the same in that Office.

My first efforts will be to review the budgets in an effort to determine where savings are possible.

I will then extend that effort into reductions in Kane County's Tax Rates.

The economy has reduced the value of the County's Assessments, new properties with additional taxes are not coming on line and TIFs are no longer coming due with increases in tax dollars.

The 2012 Elected Officials of Kane County must set the example of taking the initiative in reducing the Tax Rates on our community.

Key Issue 2

Community Dedicated.

Kane County Board Members are responsible for two communities


their District and the County.

Within their District, they need to be aware of and support the various needs of their immediate neighbors.

When a new economic opportunity develops, they cannot turn their backs on their neighbors and aim to please the new initiative at their neighbors' expense.

When an initiative in new roadwork becomes necessary, that work needs to be accomplished without damaging adjacent neighborhoods.

When a need surfaces and lives are in danger, the county needs to focus and support those needs and not turn away because funds are not available.

Within the County, we need to support a very diverse population.

Along the east side, we have many densely populated 'city' environments while the west side of the County is largely rural/agricultural.

We need Members who are able to respond to the needs of both within the County no matter their residence/District.

While we have a need to be fiscally concerned and responsible, we have significant needs that must be addressed.

We cannot fail in our responsibilities to our citizens.

We need to dedicate ourselves to these two communities and develop methods of practical support within our economic means.

Key Issue 3

Bi-Partisan Respect.

As we observed the elections of the past and those in progress, it is disgusting how the candidates attack one another without respect.

It has become so prevalent to campaign in the gutter that it appears no longer a Republican vs. Democrat vice but to have turned into an accepted ritual not only between but also within our political parties.

Those who conduct such campaigns should be ashamed of themselves and such campaigning should be a signal for a negative vote against the propagator of divisive politics.

The same holds true for those who are elected to office.

Our Elected Officials need to walk away from a 'winner takes all' attitude and return to the ?compromise?

Holding positions until the last moment to force the opponent to flinch and give in is not acceptable to me.

We are not conducting a game but are developing directions for our communities.

Members of both parties need to learn how to come to an understanding which may be supported by a majority from both sides.

We need to not hold malice against those within our ?party? who may break the ?party line? and vote with the ?other side? when the issue is of importance to the community from which they are elected.

As I noted above, I am neither seeking endorsements nor donations so that the only ones I owe are those from my community irregardless of their political affiliation.

While I am a life-long Democrat and strongly believe in the Democratic Party and its initiatives, I will not hesitate to vote what I understand are my Community's desires and respect those from both parties who do likewise.

Questions & Answers

Do you support a more stringent ethics ordinance for Kane County governing the conduct of elected officials and county employees' Why or why not? If so, what should the ordinance contain?

Our Ethics Ordinances at every level should be simple to understand and easily enforced.

One of the CEO's of Avis expressed a thought that Business Policy Manuals should all be discarded and replaced with the 10 Commandments.

As I have read Ethics Ordnances, they appear to be similar to the dos and don'ts of a Policy Manual.

They are a sting of reactions to incidents of the past baring practices which can be identified as un-ethical.

What do we expect of our Elected Officials'

We expect them to be honest and not to steal.

Let's ask our Circuit Court Judges to identify the most efficient three amongst them to develop an Ethics Ordinance of 50 words or less that says our Elected Officials will be honest and not steal with a penalty for each.

I sat through one of the discussions the Kane County Board had on a recent Ethics Ordinance and determined that they didn't want an Ethics Ordinance and seemed to just haggle over various points in the proposal to keep it from coming to a vote.

If we can't do the 10 Commandments, let's find a way to develop a simple code which says the same thing with penalties for violations that everyone can understand without three consulting attorneys.

The county's portion of gambling proceeds has been decreasing every year for several years. What is your plan to prioritize use of that money? What might be done to wean the agencies and programs that receive this money off of it?

It is not just the dollars from the casinos that are dwindling.

The same is happening across the board in all the revenues except where the Board is able to identify ways to increase the dollar streams.

You ask how do we 'wean the agencies and programs that receive this money?"

There are three ways.

Increase the other dollar streams as they did with the increase in fees for the Circuit Courts to provide for pay raises to their employees, cut budgets or develop profit centers.

In one of my previous positions, I was responsible for refuse removal.

I had roll offs and garbage trucks with crews.

We were in the Medical Center in downtown Chicago and there were a number of agencies who were having their refuse removed by private haulers.

I was told there was a budget cut possible and to be prepared to make recommendations on cuts in crews and equipment.

Instead, I contacted the agencies within close proximity, established inter-governmental agency agreements and began to haul their refuse at a profit.

The new revenue stream was utilized to cover the costs of the crews and equipment I would have lost in the budget cut.

To end the story, in all aspects of our County's operations and activities, we need to be entrepreneurial.

We can't just do the same thing each time there's a budget crunch as I would expect we'll be encountering them not only with the loss of casino money but in a wide variety of other revenue streams.

We need to develop an entrepreneurial attitude across the various County agencies and activities and not forget the goal to find a way to lower the County's REAL ESTATE TAX RATES!

Do you believe the Kane County court system needs a computer system upgrade that might cost as much as $12.6 million? If so, do you support using RTA sales tax money to fund the cost, or do you have a different plan? If not, what is your alternative plan?

I happened to be at a meeting where this problem was reviewed.

One of the individuals at the meeting reported that he had surveyed the other local county judicial IS people to determine which county had the best system/procedure.

It appears that DuPage County is the most efficient claiming the ability to process some files through the offices of their judges in hours rather than days.

Their system was internally developed and the individual reporting this advised they would be willing to share the system at no cost other then an agreement to utilize the staffs of both IS Units in concert with one another in managing the system.

Before I'd spend $12.6 million, I would investigate this alternative.

If this alternative was not possible, I would continue interviewing other IS Units among the collar counties.

If DuPage is not acceptable, one of the others must have a system that supports their circuit courts.

I would go that route in an attempt to avoid a $12.6 million dollar cost.

I would also like to hear if our Kane County IS Unit had an entrepreneurial idea of how to proceed at a lesser cost to obtain an acceptable system.

Do you believe county board members and the chairman should receive health insurance and pension benefits' If you are running for one of those positions, do you plan on accepting those benefits' Why or why not?

Are the Kane County Board Members' or Board Chairman's positions considered as employment?

Are they required to spend time on the job to provide a service to the community?

Or, is this a voluntary responsibility for which they agree to accept no recompense?

I do not see them as voluntary positions.

I see them as positions of responsibility for which pay and benefits should be provided as they currently are distributed.

I will accept the pay and benefits provided.

How do you resolve the ongoing debate over the county board setting budgets for departments run by other elected officials whom the county board has no control over? How should the county board enforce the budgets it sets'

Does anyone really want to open the Pandora's Box of allowing each Elected Official to determine their budget?

For each such Elected Official, a separate tax rate would have to be established and they would have to have personnel to develop and submit the documentation for processing.

There would be innumerable duplications of effort and cost to the Taxpayer through their REAL ESTATE TAXES.

No, as I've noted before, we need to learn to work together for the good of our community.

We need to ensure equitable budgets for every department from which each Elected Official may provide the services required for their unit's responsibilities.

As for enforcement, let's go back to the 10 Commandments.

If you're responsible for a budget and you do not properly control it resulting in monies being expended beyond what is available, I'd see that as a form of 'stealing? and deal with it appropriately.

We all live under budgets and have to maintain them.

A failure to maintain a budget is not acceptable.