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updated: 2/10/2012 4:16 PM

Richard Furstenau: Candidate Profile

DuPage County board District 5 (Republican)

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  • Richard Furstenau, running for DuPage County board District 5

    Richard Furstenau, running for DuPage County board District 5




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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BioKey IssuesQ&A



City: Naperville


Office sought: DuPage County board District 5

Age: 67

Family: Married 46 years to Connie 5 children and 13 grand-children

Occupation: AT&T/Western Electric/Lucent 1967-2000,Retired Furstenau Condo Rentals 1981-present,Owner D?Oro Suites 1989-present,Owner Furst Homes,LLC 1991-present,Partner

Education: B.S. Business (1966), M.B.A Finance (1967) University of Utah

Civic involvement: Naperville Special Events Planning Committee, Member, 2008- May 2011

IMEA (Illinois Municipal Electrical Agency) Developed Electrical Production Facility, Member, 2006-May 2011

DPIC/DAC (Naperville Downtown Advisory Commission), Member, 2004-May 2011

Naperville Chamber of Commerce and Legislative Committee, Member, 1989-present

NCTV-17(Naperville Community Television), Director, 1999 to May 2011

Carillon Foundation, Member, 2006-2008

Naperville Solid Waste Committee, Refuge Contract Council Representative, 2006-2007

DuPage Mayor and Managers Conference, Legislative Committee, Member, 2005-2009

Goldman/Sachs Naperville Electrical Purchase Contract Committee, Member, 2005-2006

DuPage Mayor and Managers Conference, Regulatory Committee, Member, 2004-2009

Naperville Financial Advisory Board, Member, 2004-2006

Naperville Fleet Economic Commission, Member, 2003-2008

Kids Matter, Director, 1999 to 2010 >Selection Committee for Naperville's Springfield Legislative Lobbyist, 2007

Selection Committee Member for City Manager, City Attorney and Finance Director, 2005-May 2011

Elected offices held: DuPage Water Commission, District 5 Representative, May 2010 to present Naperville City Council, 1999-2011 Naperville Township Republican Organization, Precinct 10 Committeeman, 1996-present

Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: Yes; I was exonerated in a court of law in a DuPage County courtroom and found not guilty. All arrest records have been expunged.

Candidate's Key Issues

Key Issue 1

The budget. Simply stated the county's expense-to-revenue ratio is out of balance. As tax payers are expected to adjust their needs to their income, the county should be held to the same expectation. Everyone is aware of the condition of our finances not only in DuPage County but across the country. As everyone has had to make adjustments, so should the county. At this time, there must be team work and compromise between all parties. Achieving a balanced county budget that enables the delivery of services to the tax payers and accomplishes the missions of the county is my number one issue.

Key Issue 2

Pension reform is my number two issue. This topic is a key component of the county's financial picture and is a topic I have dedicated my time to and addressed with our State elected officials. I am part of the Illinois Pension Fairness Coalition team that worked with Springfield and local municipalities.

The efforts these parties resulted in a change to the 'new hire' pension systems. It is my goal to achieve additional reform to the current employees pension. The existing system is failing. Overly rich programs and low returns on investment require more tax dollars to fund the program. To ensure current employees and tax payers a solvent program, reform must continue to happen -- sooner than later.

I will continue to dedicate my personal time to see that change takes place.

Key Issue 3

When elected, I would work with my constituents on important issues such as the following: 1) Protecting quality of core services while stream-lining government. 2) Bringing county employee health care contributions parallel with the private sector.

3) Lobbying for an interest arbitration process which balances needs/wants of tax payers and unions. 4) Addressing and mitigating land management decisions that have created flooding issues. 5) Improving transparent procurement process which would require more of an open bidding process.

Questions & Answers

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 want to stretch the resources available to the county without increasing tax rates and reduce the crushing burden on all DuPage County tax payers.

Lack of growth, wage increases, unbalanced health care contributions and extended priority lists will continue to 'eat up' county resources and result in higher property tax rates if not properly managed.

Along with my education, experience as Purchasing Director for AT&T/Lucent, experience with governmental budgets and my knowledge of municipal operations, I can bring common sense and good judgment to the operations of the 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?

My priority is the tax payer. In order to properly represent them, I will be in attendance at all meetings -- 100%.

I will bring to the board my reputation for asking questions, listening to all involved, researching the details and requiring direct answers.

I will join efforts with the other board members and develop synergies to promote the best possible decisions which will bridge our county into one united community.

How can the county best manage its growth, growing diversity?

We all have the same basic needs, regardless of our background, so I would strengthen communications and not lose focus on the needs of each county resident.

Protecting these basic needs by running an efficient and stream-lined government will balance our growth and our community's unique demographics.

It is vitally important that all citizens feel they are being treated equally and that their concerns are reviewed and addressed expeditiously.

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?

Yes, I have read the article that was printed in the Daily Herald on November 28, 2011, featuring the attendance records of the current county board members.

As I have attended the DuPage County Committee and Board meetings since September 2011, I was not surprised by the attendance information that was in the article.

My public office record of 100% attendance illustrates that, and in my opinion, anything less is not adequate.

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?

Salaries, benefits and the like are typically based upon comparables. I do believe that the DuPage County Board pay is reasonable based upon the size of the county. However, I do support a ?pay by attendance? program and a four year freeze on this compensation.

If an elected official attends 83% of the meetings, the pay received should be 83% of the salary. If attendance is projected into the future at the same rate, there would be an automatic reduction of 17% of the total cost of the salaries over the next year which would hopefully encourage attendance.

Twelve years ago, I was eligible as an elected official and joined the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund (IMRF) pension plan.

Currently, my benefits are based upon a final rate of pay of approximately $12,000 per year which translates to a $208 per month pension check that is available to me.

I choose not to draw on this plan while I have an interest in serving as an elected official in the State of Illinois.

Upon reviewing the program with the IMRF, I was informed that I am not able to ?pull out? of this plan and forfeit the investment of 12 years. I will pledge not to draw on this pension while representing the tax payers of Illinois.