Kathleen Bergan Schmidt: Candidate Profile
McHenry 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: Crystal Lake
Office sought: McHenry County board District 3
Age: Candidate did not respond.
Family: Married, two sons
Occupation: Instructor of History, 1967-71
Education: Bachelor of Arts in History, Quincy University Master of Arts in History, University of Illinois - Urbana
Civic involvement: The Land Conservancy of McHenry County Environmental Defenders of McHenry County McHenry County Historical Society McHenry County Women's Cancer Task Force
Elected offices held: McHenry County Board, 2008-
Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: No.
Key Issue 1
Issue #1: Transparency and accountability of the County Board. As a committee member, I am especially proud of the work of the Management Services Committee in improving transparency and accountability. That work includes the new ?blue form? for financial disclosure, strong support for the codification of county ordinances, adding an information portal and record of attendance at county board meetings to the county website, and adoption of the new agenda management system and audio streaming of board meetings. If the need arises, I will again speak out in protest to any violation of the open meetings act such as that which occurred on May 26,2011. I am expecting that more thorough up-front orientation fo the board elected in November will result in no repeats of a ?walking quorum? or any other maneuver to circumvent the open meetings laws .
Key Issue 2
Issue #2: Answering the increasing need for services in this time of decreasing revenue, especially in the area of public health and human services. State and federal funding continues to be reduced and not-for-profit agencies are also being stretched to the max. The question of needs vs. wants should be applied in all instances. The county has two unique revenue sources to assist our senior population ? the tax-funded senior service grants to help people stay in their own homes and the Valley Hi levy. Continuing to work with other local agencies as has been down in the past will help leverage those funds as best possible.
Key Issue 3
Issue #3: Protection of McHenry County?s groundwater resources. What the county has accomplished in the last few years is impressive, especially the formulation of the recent Water Resources Action Plan. But now it is time to put that plan into action, to get the best practices it advocates actually into practice. One particular I support strongly is a county-wide ban of coal tar sealants. Many municipalities have restrictions for outside water use. I support the development of a set of recommendations for water use in the unincorporated areas. Moreover, I support a ?meeting of the minds? on such regulations so that from community to community, neighborhood to neighborhood, similar recommendations/regulations are in place to make it easier for all to follow. The water belongs to us all, we all would help each other by following similar practices.
McHenry County has managed the recession without a budgetary crisis like those in other counties. How do you ensure the county continues on that path and that reserves aren?t depleted? Are there specific budget areas that need more attention?
The county can avoid a budgetary crisis by maintaining the sound financial practices it has been following. But no resting on past achievements ? more than ever, the county must be sure it is attending to its needs before any wants. Due to the large number of employees needed to carry out the work of the Sheriff?s Department and the Health Department, those 2 areas should have special scrutiny. It is very possible that budgetary constraints may force the county to discontinue some of the discretionary programs it has undertaken such as Teen Parent Services.
Does the McHenry County Board have a good transportation improvement plan? Please be specific and suggest whether you think anything is missing or should be scrapped.
McHenry County has a good transportation plan and has been making good progress in implementing it. The progress of bridge replacement/repair is an especially strong point. The vast amounts of money and great amount of time needed to get a transportation project done make dealing with our transportation problems seemingly endless. Advocating for federal and state funds needs to continue. The issues associated with the ?private? or non-dedicated roads in the county needs more attention. Some progress has been made this year but the cost of maintenance and upgrading is becoming impossible in the present economic climate. There are also health and safety issues associated with these roads that should not be overlooked.
Does the county need to address its ethics policies? Why or why not? If so, how?
In the past year, the county has taken steps to address its ethics policies and is now requiring all employees to take the online ethics training it has devised. The next step is to evaluate the success of the efforts to date, and make what changes are necessary. Ethics should be a matter of continuing concern, especially for county board members.
Assess McHenry County?s efforts thus far in terms of groundwater preservation and protection. What needs to be done now and in the future?
As I stated previously, what the county has accomplished in the last few years is impressive, especially the formulation of the Water Resources Action Plan. But now it is time to put that plan into action, to get the best practices it advocates actually into practice. Two items to begin with are: 1. County-wide ban of coal tar sealants: 2. Revision of the Stormwater Management Ordinance
Assess how the county health department approached the whooping cough outbreak. What should have been done differently?
The county health department gave an excellent response to the spring whooping cough outbreak. But as the national news tells us, outbreaks of whooping cough and west nile virus continue to be of concern. I expect the health department to be extra vigilant in looking for signs of possible outbreaks of these and other communicable diseases such as flu that may appear in our region in the future ? especially in the immediate future of this coming winter.
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