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.
Office sought: DuPage County board District 5
Family: Married to Ann for 14 years, three children ages 11, 10 and 6.
Occupation: Partner/Chief Operating Officer at Ruettiger, Tonelli & Associates
Education: MBA - University of St. Francis MS - NIU - Urban/Economic Geography BS - Carroll College - Geography and History
Civic involvement: Naperville Development Partnership Board of Directors, Vice-Chairman Naperville Heritage Society Board of Directors Oktoberfest - Event Co-Chairman Naperville Sunrise Rotary North Central College Board of Trustees Associates St. Margaret Mary/All Saints Catholic Academy Scholarship Committee Volunteer Youth Sports Coach - Heritage YMCA Group
Elected offices held: DuPage County Board - 2009 to Present
Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: No
Key Issue 1
Fiscal Responsibility/Accountability - It is the responsibility of government to do more with less and work to keep more money in its citizens pockets through lower taxes while still delivering necessary governmental services in a transparent and efficient manner.
Key Issue 2
Economic Development - While there are signs the economy is improving, there is still much work to do. Therefore, we must do everything possible to attract and retain business to DuPage County. We are a world-class County, where global investment is not only possible, but necessary if we are to remain competitive in a shrinking world.
Key Issue 3
Investment in our Infrastructure Systems - long-term planning and maintenance of our critical infrastructure systems is imperative to the long term economic health of our county. We must continue to invest in projects that protect our quality of life such as the expansion of our trail systems, investment in our roads and bridges, as well as critical stormwater management projects. These are all areas where the return on investment can be measured in the ease of movement of goods and services, the direct investment from the private sector and economic loss prevention from flood prevention and control.
Why are you running for this office, whether for re-election or election for the first time? Is there a particular issue that motivates you? If so, what?
I am proud of the work I have accomplished in my last three years on the County Board. Much has been accomplished in the way of budgeting, transparency and ethics reform, as well as economic development. While we have reduced the size of the County's budget by $45,000,000, and added and retained thousands of jobs in District 5 in the last three years, there is still much work to do as we navigate an improving but challenging economic environment. I want to continue to play a key role in making the decisions that make for smaller and more efficient government and promote economic development for DuPage County.
If you are an incumbent, describe your main contributions. Tell us of any important initiatives you've led. If you are a challenger, what would you bring to the board and what would your priority be?
Over the last three years we have reduced the size of the County's budget by $45 million dollars which will result in a combined savings of over $450 million over the next ten years. We were able to accomplish this through investments in technology, strategic planning, and operational efficiencies, many of which I led as the Chairman of the Committee for Government Efficiencies and as a member of the Strategic Planning Committee.
I am also proud of my work on the commitee that was formed to institute compensation and benefit reform. The work on this committees has already found a projected $28 million in savings as the County moves to make our compensation and benefit structures more in line with the private sector.
How can the county best manage its growth, growing diversity?
The County can best manage its growth by being aware of its development and demographic trends. In 2011, the Census Bureau released a trove of data it had collected from the 2010 Census. Though DuPage County did not grow as fast in the last ten years, it still managed to grow by 1.4% adding about 12,000 people. The average age of our residents increased from 35.2 to 38.2 as the population of residents 65 and older increased by nearly 20% since 2000. We also became more diverse culturally, with significant growth in most ethnic groups. These changes in demographics will present opportunities for DuPage County Government as our services will need to be adapted to meet the growing needs of an aging and diversifying population.
If incumbent, are you satisied your attendance at county board/committee meetings has been adequate? Describe the rough percentage of meetings you've attended. If non-incumbent, are you aware of the incumbent's attandance record and is it adequate?
I am very satisfied of my attendance record on the County Board. I did not miss a single County Board meeting in 2011 and achieved an overall attendance record of over 90%, one of only five members to achieve that rating. Of my very few absences at committee meetings, most were because other committee meetings ran long and I could not break quorum to attend the conflicted committee meeting.
What is your stance on county board members' pay? Too high, too low, just right? Would you propose any changes' Do you think county board members should receive pensions' If not, would be willing to pledge not to take one?
I think County Board pay could be reduced again. In 2010, I voted to reduce my own pay by 7%. Over the next several months we will again vote on our pay and I will advocate for another reduction as our employees and taxpayers have cut back, so must its representatives.
I think pensions should be eliminated moving forward for County Board members. For members currently enrolled in a pension program, I believe they should be given the opportunity to opt-out or migrate to a 401K program (neither option is currently available).
Currently only the Illinois State Legislature can eliminate or change the pension system (such as allowing members to opt-out as currently you cannot withdrwaw as an individual). As such, the County Board will propose legislation in the upcoming session that will allow an opt-out provision for County Board members. I will support the legislation and if it is successful as currently contemplated - also opt-out.