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updated: 2/10/2012 4:11 PM

Patricia Horton: Candidate Profile

Metro. Water Reclamation District (Democrat)

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  • Patricia Horton, running for Metro. Water Reclamation District

    Patricia Horton, running for Metro. Water Reclamation District




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: Chicago


Office sought: Metro. Water Reclamation District

Age: 55

Family: four children, eleven grandchildren.

Occupation: Part-time Commissioner for Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago.

Education: I studied at North Park University earning a B.A. in Organizational Management, obtained a Liberal Arts degree in Applied Science at Truman College and studied at DePaul University .

Civic involvement: As Public Relations Director for Tree of Life Ministries in Portland, Oregon and Faith Tabernacle Church in Chicago, my role was to develop programs for teachers, as well as to arrange seminars and conferences. Such initiatives provided opportunities for teachers to enhance their skills, resulting in more effective teaching methods and more scholastically successful students. Creating these programs and seminars was just one of many ways in which I was able to reach out to communities in need during my tenure as Public Relations Director. While traveling to Bangladesh under the sponsorship of the Women's Self-Employment Project, my primary goal was to learn more about systems for providing bank loans to women starting their own business.

Elected offices held: Commissioner of Metropolitan Water Reclamation District (2006 thru 2012).

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

Candidate's Key Issues

Key Issue 1

My number one campaign issue is protecting the health and welfare of Cook County residents in dealing with wastewater issues.

Key Issue 2

My number two campaign issue is protecting our environment from water borne issues such as invasive species, pollutants from industrial waste, and chemicals and toxins from prescription meds.

Key Issue 3

My number 3 campaign issue is educating the public on the efficiency of a special-purpose agency such as MWRDGC; where we are ranked, and the job that we handle.

Questions & Answers

What special knowledge or experience do you have that particularly qualifies you for this office?

I feel that the experience I have gained from my past 5-1/2 years as a Commissioner at MWRD,

on-line seminars, outside study sessions, and meeting with the public on wastewater issues well qualifies me for the position.

What should the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District do to prevent disasters like the widespread flooding that affected the North and Northwest suburbs in July 2011?

Unfortunately, all disasters cannot be prevented.

The climate change that is now coming about makes for severe weather; most of which includes rainfall that cannot be predicted leaving scientists with less data to work with.

Disaster preparedness and educating the public are two key factors that will help alleviate widespread flooding and damage to property.

The district changed its severance policies last year, prompting 78 employees, including the executive director and a commissioner, to quit and resulting in a payout of $2.4 million. Do you support how that change was handled? Why or why not?

Late last fall our agency announced that it was facing a huge budget deficit.

With that in mind, cost-cutting measures were taken to insure that our agency would not face an even bleeker 2012 financial end.

The severance pay that was issued went to many who were faced with either "leaving money on the table" or losing much of their long awaited retirement perks.

I support how it was handled although many had to make last-minute decisions regarding quitting their jobs.

I believe the policies were done in the best fashion possible maintain financial sustainability and averting a repeat scenario

What should the district's policies be with regard to severance, sick time and pensions' Please explain in detail.

I feel that the District's policies should fall under the guidelines of most county employee packages.

Although unionized and non-represented employees typically have to shelter the burden in cost, the retirees package should be adjusted to at least 45% contribution on the cost of their own health care.

I believe that currently about 50% of the appropriated cost for health care in our budget goes to the retirees.

The Water Reclamation District voted in June to disinfect sewage before dumping it into waterways. Are there more steps the board should take to protect the environment? Please be specific.

One step could be putting the Deep Tunnel project into fast forward.

Unfortunately, its' projected completion is 2029, a ways off from curtailing record rain falls that are predicted.

Partnering with like agencies and outside vendors - seeking out more answers to protecting the environment and avoiding chemical and toxin pollution.

Higher fines and more stringent laws for polluters should be imposed to control debris on water surfaces and the dumping of chemicals.