Gary Grasso: Candidate Profile
DuPage County board District 3
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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: Burr Ridge
Office sought: DuPage County board District 3
Family: Married to Janet Ryan Grasso since 5/20/78 (33 years) 6 children: 5 sons and Princess Emily
Occupation: Litigation attorney since Nov '78 Spellmire Grasso Bass, LLP (newly formed)
Education: Fordham University School of Law - JD '78 Georgetown University, DC - BS Foreign Service '73 Johns Hopkins School of Adv Internatl Studies, Bologna, IT European Diploma 1973 (conjunction w Georgetown studies)
Civic involvement: President of DuPage Mayors & Managers Conference 2011-12 St. John of the Cross - Parish Council 1992 St. John of the Cross - School Board 1990 Thomas Ford Library Board, Western Spgs. 1990-95
Elected offices held: Mayor, Burr Ridge (2005-current) Trustee, DuPage Co. Board of Health 1999-current Trustee, Burr Ridge 2003-05
Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: No
Key Issue 1
Fiscal restraint and efficiency through: (a) continuing consolidation and shared services of government, including fire and police (and sheriff) services, by horizontal cross utilization of employees, elimination of overlapping programs, and value analyzes of private-public partnerships and intergovernmental agreements with municipalities for shared public services; (b) evaluation, accountability and elimination of inefficent boards and units of government. That said - maintaining and improving infrastructure, especially our roads, is good use of taxpayor money.
Capitalization of these programs can be done through responsible borrowing (historically low interest rates!) with a defined financing revenue stream for each project.
Key Issue 2
Responsible pension programs with no additional sweetners of current benefits and introspective justification of current benefits. Transparency of pension programs has been amazingly absent and must be brought into the public spot-light and compared to the private sector. We are a capitalistic country too often with socialism based pensions for government workers unheard of in the private sector. That is wrong. Realistic benefits, properly funded programs, without allowing double dipping or spiking of benefits, that are reasonable and sustainable should be the standard. Abuse has to be eliminated where found.
Key Issue 3
Assuring that Springfield does not pass anymore unfunded mandates or raids our county and municipal revenues, or cuts off our health programs as a way to fix Springfield's budget problems and transfer liabilities to us.
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?
Government's size too often has exceeded its effectiveness, and fails to live first within its means before asking for more taxes.
While I believe in public-private partnerships for economic growth or efficiencies, government cannot be a panacea for all perceived needs or wants. While the County generally provides good examples, I can bring my municipal, local and county health board experience to work with like-minded officials to improve the quality of life and direct tax money to maintain infrastructure, and provide for the health and safety of DuPage residents. I have a record of success and responsible decisions in my elected offices and want to bring that record and leadership to the County Board and keep DuPage a standard to emulate.
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?
I would bring my legal acumen, knowlege of various municipal and health issues, success and lessons learned, and advocacy skills to the Board as a voice of can-do in hard fiscal times.
How can the county best manage its growth, growing diversity?
I doubt anyone has the answer yet.
I do not. But just recognizing that there is a serious issue of managing our diversity is a good start.
I believe the County actually lost Caucasian population but exponentially gained in diversity.
This growth will be felt first on our public health and tranporation services.
But that population largely is willing to work hard, get their children educated and do better for their families.
We have to encourage business to grow and help to provide jobs for this available work force. Infrastructure improvements, strong support of our Board of Health, and Choose DuPage initiatives are short term vehicles - western access to O'Hare is a necessary long term goal.
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?
Government sessions are like going to school - you get things done and learn when you listen, participate and lead.
You cannot represent the citizens if you're not there regularly.
I am aware attendance in Dist #3 was an issue, but the two incumbent Dist #3 members running have good attendance records.
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?
The pay is probably about right if the Board size is reduced. I think 18 members is too large. I would support a salary reduction as a symbol of fiscal restraint in these times. I would certainly also look into a significant reduction of the Forest Preserve Board, benefits and pay as a fiscal responsibility issue.
There should be no pensions for public officials, but they do exist. Frankly, I am not aware of what the pension program is for County Board or other elected officials.
I do not get one as Mayor. I could pledge not to take one in an effort to get others on the Board to do so.
What we need more desparately is term limits in this state. I will advocate for term limits and no pensions for all elected officials.
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