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.
Office sought: Kane County Board District 22
Family: Married, three children and five grandchildren
Occupation: Officer, United States Army, 1965-2003 - Retired Facilities/Construction, University of Illinois-Chicago and William Rainey Harper College, 1976-2007 - Retired Trustee, Elgin Community College, 2003-Present
Education: Bachelor of Science, Loyola University, 1965 Command and Staff Officers Course, Command and Staff College, 1983
Civic involvement: Edgewater Community - I have been an active member of a variety of committees and activities to include the Neighborhood and Civic Committees. Through those experiences, I have worked with our local government officials in resolving problems that have developed within and around our community. Those actions included working with Elgin's Park District to enhance our access to the surrounding bike paths, Elgin's Downtown Economic Development Group in introducing our citizens to Elgin's entertainment opportunities, Elgin and Kane County in providing Edgewater (plus the surrounding communities) with the Cross Walk on Randall at College Green and Kane County's Forest Preserve District in making our community aware of the future development/funding of the environmental area within our community. VFW 1307 and the Inter-Service Family Assistance Committee (ISFAC)- I work to support our Veterans. I have developed a network of individuals who refer current and former Service Members to me for assistance. Three examples: A Sailor in the Navy on an Aircraft Carrier in the Pacific emailed me to ask for assistance in seeing his Mother who was diagnosed with Cancer and a short time to live. I was able to put him in contact with the various responsible agencies that were able to bring him home to Elgin before his Mother passed. A former Soldier who lost his job, his wife was pregnant, they had a sick child and were evicted from their home was referred to me for assistance. This was during the last Congressional Campaign where I was part of a group that worked with both the Democratic and Republican Candidates as well as community members in caring for his family, finding a home and locating employment. A former Marine had serious Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) problems and his wife with two children needed assistance. As the group I formed was assisting them, there was a fire in their home (the damage was paid for by their insurance company which had recently had its premium paid by a member of the group I formed). Their needs were provided for and losses not covered by insurance were provided. Resurrection Catholic Church - While a resident of Bartlett, IL, my family belonged to Resurrection. During that time, I provided Religious Education Classes for 17 consecutive years, served on the Parish Board and was an active member.
Elected offices held: Trustee, Elgin Community College (ECC), First Term 2003-2009, Re-Elected 2009-2015. In that position, I have served District 509 in a number of different efforts. Following are four examples: Alliance for College Readiness. I have been a member of the Parents (STEPS) Committee from the beginning. There is a difficulty in our community where 60-70% of the students applying to ECC are not capable of entering college level courses and require remedial work before attaining the necessary academic level to proceed into a college level course. Over the past six years, ECC has developed a very positive relationship with the supporting school districts which has resulted in positive results and increased abilities on the part of those students to proceed from high school graduation to college level work without remedial course work. ECC Visit to the U.S. Department of Education. In February 2012, I initiated and provided the opportunity for representatives of ECC to brief the Special Assistant and Advisor to the Secretary on the Secretary's Initiative on College Access on our progress with the Alliance for College Readiness at ECC. The White House Community Leaders Briefing Series. Since attending this Briefing, I have become a White House Volunteer. Being a Volunteer means acting as a conduit between the White House Staff and our Community. I relate the message from the staff to the community and reaction of the community to the staff -- focusing on educational issues. U.S. Department of Education's Community College Summit. I was invited to attend and submitted a paper to this event. The focus upon which I submitted my report was on how we could provide housing for our Veterans who would be attending college on the Post-9/11 GI Bill of Rights.
Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: No
Key Issue 1
Reduce REAL ESTATE TAXES: I am the only candidate in District 22 who has voted against a Tax Levy. Walking our communities, I have found the greatest concern noted in conversations with the voters is REAL ESTATE TAXES. Once I mention I am running for a Kane County Office, the almost inevitable comment received is a frustration with the increases in REAL ESTATE TAXES. Thus, my Number 1 Campaign Issue is to reduce REAL ESTATE TAXES. There is a wide range of ways this could be accomplished with one of the first opportunities in lowering those taxes being the Elimination of the Township Level of Government Why does Kane County need to have 16 Assessors, 16 Supervisors and 64 Trustees? I took a look at my REAL ESTATE TAXES for the year 2012 and found that I am paying $150 for my Township. I expect, if we consolidated the 16 Townships under the responsibility of the appropriate County Offices, we would cut our Township REAL ESTATE TAXES in half without any reduction in services. That does not take into consideration the Operation and Maintenance Costs of the equipment and facilities operated by our Townships. How much more efficient in overhead costs would it be to consolidate that equipment under Kane County's maintenance staff? How many dollars would be saved by closing approximately 40 township facilities? It is time to make a change. If elected, I will work to lead the way to reducing our REAL ESTATE TAXES and providing for more efficient County Government Operations!
Key Issue 2
Community Oriented and Communication with Citizens of District 22: As I have talked to the voters within our District 22, I have found that I am the first Candidate or County Elected Official who has personally visited their neighborhoods. I have also found they are surprised when I give them my card with my personal phone number. When I ask if they have any issues with the County, they provide them. Thus, I have already developed a listing of items to review/correct within District 22 if I am elected: Correct flood waters on College Green from Randal Road during rain storms. Provide pedestrian crossings where required on primary roadways. Prevent basements from flooding on Beckman Trail due to storm water drainage meant for detention areas. Upgrade the crosswalk/bike crossing on Bowes Road at the Library. These are just a few of the items related to me on my "walkarounds" which I have developed into a listing of projects for review if elected. Since I am available and committed to serving you as a Full-Time Kane County Board Member, I will not only be in attendance at the Board and Committee Meetings to which I am assigned but will also be available to attend the other Board Committee Meetings to keep abreast of the issues pertinent to District 22. I will not be voting on issues as advised by my fellow members but will be there to hear the issues first hand and be knowledgeable on how they affect District 22. In addition, he will be available to you -- the Community. If you have a question, request or some other reason to contact and talk to me, I will be available. I will not put you off time and again until you give up making the contact. I will be there FULL TIME for you and the Community. This type of communication and community based support has been lacking within District 22 and my Number 2 Campaign Issue is to bring it to the fore over the next 4 years.
Key Issue 3
Master Plan for Saving Real Estate Tax Payer's Dollars: We have Master Plans for every type of spending possible. We've developed them for highways, facilities, wages, forest preserves and every other imaginable opportunity within Kane County: Have we ever developed a "Master Plan for Saving Real Estate Tax Payer's Dollars?" I am not aware of any such Master Plan. We seem to be able to develop every conceivable way to spend our Tax Dollars but never seem to exert the same energy on saving Tax Dollars. We are now in a very difficult economic time frame. As I walk District 22, I finds papers on home after home with Foreclosure or Bank Notices. We cannot continue to increase the Real Estate Tax Rates on our Commercial and Residential properties. We need to begin the development of a Master Plan to reverse this trend and reduce the Tax Rates for both Commercial and Residential properties. That includes close coordination with our County's workforce. The Kane County Board in conjunction with its entrepreneurial employees, supervisors and directors must find a way to reverse the spending trend and reduce the costs to the Tax payers. If elected as your County Board District 22 Member and I will do all I can to develop a Master Plan for Saving Real Estate Tax Payer's Dollars! Efficiency in County Operations is Common Sense! NUMBER 4 CAMPAIGN ISSUE Road Improvemen?t Impact Fee: I able to attend a variety of meetings on the Kane County Road Improvement Impact Fee. This initiative began in 2004 to aid the County in obtaining funds to offset the costs of roads requiring improvement due to the increase in the population and congestion due to the new construction - both commercial and homes. Its a good idea and one that worked very well for the County until our economic problems developed. During the boom in Kane County, it provided dollars to augment those coming from other governmental sources to allow many improvements to avoid grid locks during travel time in the County. However, Bob notes the County is now in a different situation. Following are a few examples of the current Impact Fees through April 10, 2014 for Kane County: $1,835.56 per Single Family Detached Home $5,743.70 per 1,000 sq ft for a Supermarket $6,308.95 per 1,000 sq ft for a Medical-Dental Office $583.49 per 1,000 sq ft for a Warehousing/Distribution Terminal $3,414.31 per 1,000 sq ft for a Restaurant $401.15 per bed for a Nursing Home $1,002.87 per 1,000 sq ft for a Religious Institution On February 7, 2012, the Village of Hampshire submitted their comments which are quoted in part below. I concurs with the direction provided by the Village of Hampshire. If elected as the 22nd District Member of the Kane County Board, I would propose to the County Board that we lower these fees until the current economic situation improved and then raise them accordingly. "One of the goals of the Road Improvement Impact Fee was expressed by the consultant hired by the County as follows: 'New development should bear its fair share of costs to meet demands for road improvements.' While it would be difficult to argue with the intent of this goal, it is not an exaggeration to suggest that the impact fees assess on new development are proving to be considerable deterrents to economic development in Hampshire. On several occasions in the last twelve months, potential developments have been lost in our community when the developer became aware of the Road Improvement Impact Fee and the costs it would add to the potential project." "In a specific situation, the parent company of a new convenience store and gas station nearly walked away from the project when they became aware of the $50,000 impact fee added to the cost of their project. Ultimately, to save the project, the Village entered into a sales tax rebate agreement to reimburse the store for nearly $30,000 of their impact fee. In this instance, the Village had to financially participate to reduce the burden of the fee on the development." "As a community in the far northwest corner of Kane County, developers have other local options when considering whether to build in Hampshire and several of these other locations in DeKalb and McHenry Counties do not assess the Road Improvement Impact Fee. We feel as if we are at the competitive disadvantage when competing against our neighbors due to the Impact fee in Kane County. If a 50,000 square foot grocer can locate in Genoa or Huntley (McHenry County portion) and avoid the $156,550 in Road Improvement Impact Fees assessed by Kane, why would they develop in Hampshire?" "In summary, the difficult economic environment in which we have all been operating these last several yers has all governmental entities fighting for their economic lives. We believe that the County and municipalities should be eliminating deterrents to economic development to spur growth." Further comments on issues important to the County may be found on my web site -- WWW.GetzForKaneCo.com
Did the county board get it right when they decided to leave an ethics ordinance that is more stringent but more open to a legal challenge in place? Would you support the creation of more detailed economic interest statements?
What do we expect of our Elected Officials? We expect them to be honest and ethical. As Robert Townsend might say, "Why don't we just establish the 10 Commandments as our Kane County Ethics Ordinance?" If we can't use the 10 Commandments, let?s ask our Circuit Court Judges to identify the most efficient three amongst them to develop an Ethics Ordinance of reasonable length (not 30 pages)which says our Elected Officials will be honest and ethical with a penalty for each offense. In developing such an ordinance, they need to be counseled that it must be easily understood by the electorate and not require the interpretation and argument of three or more lawyers in its utilization. After the last County action on this issue, I wrote the following Letter to the Editor to our local newspapers: Letter to the Editor, Last December and again this June, I sat through over an hour's deliberation by the County Board on their Ethics Ordinance. This deliberation by the County Board began about two years ago when the States Attorney for the County advised the Ethics Ordinance was "un-enforceable". In December 2011, they came to a tie vote on the new Ethics Ordinance and the County Chair sent it back to Committee. At the June 2012 Meeting of the Board, the Chair advised the Ethics Ordinance had proceeded through Committee, Executive Committee and the Committee of the Whole with three proposed amendments for consideration. After passing two amendments with the third failing, the Ethics Ordinance came to a vote. It was defeated. After discussion on the vote and the possible alternatives, the Board agreed to let the current Ethics Ordinance stand. In talking to the current States Attorney, I was advised there are some portions of the document that might not be enforceable and other portions that may be enforceable. We have got to do better than that! Signed - Bob "RAGMAN" Getz No, the County Board did not "get it right."
Would you support the buildout of the shell space in the Kane County jail if it could be shown that the space could/would be used to increase profits from housing federal inmates?
My Number 3 Campaign Issue is to develop a "Master Plan for Saving Real Estate Tax Payer's Dollars." In other words, MONEY TALKS. There would have to be some type of Inter-Governmental Agreement in place with the Federal Government detailing the number of inmates and escalating payments that would be guaranteed. That Agreement would then have to be evaluated with the cost of construction/renovation and budget for the operation and maintenance of the Federal portion of the facility. Only after a significant, long-term "profit" was shown would I be in favor of such a buildout. All too often, we find that decisions are made before all the contingencies are considered and weighed into the opportunity. As I have noted on my Web Site, I am in favor of an Entrepreneurial Attitude. If a sufficient Profit is shown in this opportunity and there are no negative considerations to the contrary, I can support this buildout and housing of federal inmates.
Do you believe the county court system needs a computer system upgrade that might cost as much as $12.6 million? If so, do you support using RTA sales tax money to fund it, or do you have a different plan? If not, what is your alternative plan?
Ed Nendick, candidate for Clerk of the Circuit Court of Kane County, has noted the following in regard to a $12.6 million expenditure to upgrade the current computer system: ?The Clerk of the Circuit has outsourced their current computer program out to Jano Justice Systems for the past several years costing taxpayers millions of dollars. We have all heard of the problems caused by outsourcing jobs. One of the multiple issues needing to be dealt with is this program. This computer program controls the source of the courts fines and fees. Corruption or glitch of any kind could be a major problem. The opposition party is pushing to throw away the current system replacing it with a system outsourced to another company out of state. This program would be designed and built by a company outside of Illinois while costing Illinois taxpayers, specifically Kane County taxpayers, approximately $12,600,000.00. Ed found a System that works in DuPage County. This system was developed on Government time using Government employees. The Clerk in DuPage is willing to share that system with Kane county for $0.00. The system in place in DuPage operates well and would transition for Kane County?s needs easily.? I concur with this recommendation with an in depth study of its validity prior to the expenditure of $12.6 million.
Do you support the call by the state's attorney and public defender for raises for their staffs? Where should that money come from?
There is a problem across the entire County in every department with pay. Some employee groups go years without any pay increases, other employee groups receive pay increases on a regular basis while some have been provided with pay increases well above the norm. An equitable system of pay needs to be developed for all the employee groups within the County. I was present when the former Chief Judge made the case for increased Court Fees to provide the funds for those employees within Circuit Court who had not been equitably compensated. That was approved at a meeting following by the County Board. We now have to go beyond that to determine equitable compensation for all County Employees. A compensation system needs to be developed across all employee groups where those funds which are available for additional compensation are distributed equitably for services provided. In order to increase the funds available for distribution, there should be a freeze on pay raises for County Board Members.
What aspects of the Fabyan/Settlers Hill campus redevelopment vision created by the task force do you support? What should happen to the old county jail property?
The Conceptual Development for the Fabyan/Settlers Hill campus redevelopment is a fantastic vision. I don't know how one could not support the entire presentation. The only problem is the dollars to make the vision a reality. If we can't provide for the daily operational and maintenance costs of the County without increasing the REAL ESTATE TAXS every year, how can we turn this Fabyan/Settlers Hill vision into a reality. And, how much did this Conceptual Development cost the County? Let's go back to the basics. We have a troubled economy, the County's Assessments are going down and the REAL ESTATE TAXES are going up, homes are foreclosing, small businesses are losing money and we're looking at a redevelopment vision for Fabyan/Settlers Hill. It's time to get our priorities in order. Let us first ensure we are on a firm financial footing within the County without breaking the backs of our taxpayers with increases in the REAL ESTATE TAXES. We need to do a Master Plan for Saving Real Estate Tax Payer's Dollars and lower our REAL ESTATE TAXES first. As for the old county jail property, has anyone looked at remodeling that facility for the housing of federal inmates? If that would be a reasonably profitable enterprise with the proper Inter-Governmental Agreements, why not?