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updated: 2/10/2012 4:13 PM

Paul Fichtner: Candidate Profile

DuPage County board District 1 (Republican)

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  • Paul Fichtner, running for DuPage County board District 1

      Paul Fichtner, running for DuPage County board District 1

 

 

 

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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.

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BioKey IssuesQ&A

 

Bio

City: Elmhurst

Website: Candidate did not respond.

Office sought: DuPage County board District 1

Age: 50

Family: Married to Monica Tommy , age 14 Megan, age 16

Occupation: Financial Planner, Member: Chicago Board Options Exchange

Education: University of Illinois - School of Business - B.S. Finance DePaul University - MBA - Finance

Civic involvement: Former Alderman, City of Elmhurst City Centre Board of Directors, Elmhurst Elmhurst College, Student Mentor Adult Leader, Boy Scouts

Elected offices held: Alderman, City of Elmhurst, 9 years DuPage County Board, since 2004

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

Candidate's Key Issues

Key Issue 1

Taxes

Key Issue 2

Transparency

Key Issue 3

Consolidation

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?

Taxes, transparency and consolidation motivate me.

I would like the board to study government consolidation to see which areas could be consolidated.

But, it will have to be studied carefully.

The county has made major improvements in transparency during my time on the board.

The county now has contract bidding on the internet for all vendors or residents to observe in real-time.

The county has received the Sunshine Review's 'Sunny Award' honoring the nation's most transparent websites and all our board meetings are on video available on our website.

Regarding taxes, all elected officials talk about keeping taxes low.

The DuPage County Board has delivered, keeping the DuPage County property tax line on your property tax bill unchanged for each of the last 4 years.

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?

As an incumbent, and Chairman of the Finance Committee, my main contribution has been to work with the entire board and Chairman Cronin to minimize property taxes.

County government is still only 2.8% of your property tax bill (slightly less than it was 4 years ago) and there have been no property tax increases over the past four years on the ?DuPage County? property tax line item.

Also, recognizing the need to more with less, we have reduced headcount by 90 people at the county since I was reelected in 2008.

I fought against red light camera approval on county maintained roads, and won.

The county's website (Dupageco.org) now includes live video broadcasts of county board meetings and instant public access to all committee meeting minutes and county budget documents.

During the annual budget preparation time, public hearings are held around the county soliciting public input.

I also am very proud of the fact that actions taken by the finance committee and county board have allowed DuPage county bonds to be reaffirmed recently as AAA rated by all three rating agencies -- the highest rating available.

Less than 1% of all counties in the country have this rating.

What a contrast when compared to other units of government.

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

Regarding diversity, I think the county's growing diversity comes from race, age and economic factors.

I am non-discriminatory when it comes to race and make decisions on the county board with that in mind.

For age diversity, I want to make sure seniors are aware of the many services offered by the county -- from property tax deferral programs to home care services -- and improve wherever possible those services.

For economic diversity - creating a low regulation, low property tax and welcoming business environment is a must by working with our Springfield legislators and our Choose DuPage business group that helps strengthen DuPage County as a global business location by retaining and expanding our current business base and attracting new business to DuPage County.

Regarding growth: As a non-home rule county, the municipalities - not the county - have most of the say in how growth is managed.

The county board only controls zoning in unincorporated areas -- which encompasses approximately 15% of the total area of the county. If managing growth becomes an issue, which I don't believe it is right now, I would look to work together with the DuPage Mayors and Managers Conference.

I understand the importance of working together with municipalities in areas of regional interest as a former member of the Elmhurst city council.

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?

The official record shows my board and committee meeting attendance at approximately 85% of meetings.

The record does not include my additional attendance at other committee meetings where I was not a member and does not take into account having to miss meetings because I was meeting with staff, department heads or countywide elected officials at the time of a committee meeting where I was counted absent.

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?

No matter what the pay is, there are those that will always think it is too high.

I believe it is very important to have a professionally diverse board with as many career experiences as possible to help make important decisions.

To attract these experts, proper compensation is a must to encourage a fair cross section of expert candidates from all careers and professional life to become board members.

After all, the county board is making weekly decisions involving a $435million annual budget for nearly 1 million people, 9 countywide elected officials (sheriff, states attorney, clerk, coroner etc.) and 10 different departments (public works, transportation, health and human services, etc.).

If the compensation is too low, our board would probably be made up of mostly the rich or retired.

Too high and people may become candidates for the wrong reason.

It's not easy to set compensation, but many competent professional people that would make excellent board members already stay away from public service because they can't afford to take a hit to their career by staying away from the office full days of the week.

Doing the job properly requires a lot of time, even more time when a board member becomes chairman of a committee.

So why not have all board meetings at night?

County board is not a volunteer board of directors or a village trustee post where participation can be designed around the after-work hours of the day.

Most meetings are during the day because of the large numbers of employees and staff needed to be on hand to answer questions and discuss issues involving a $435mil annual budget encompassing 10 department heads and 9 countywide elected officials for a county of nearly 1 million people.

I am proud to have been part of the initiative to successfully get rid of ?chairman stipends' for board members and also remove reimbursable ?travel costs' from travel within the county to attend county board meetings.

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