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updated: 9/21/2012 4:35 PM

Sue Klinkhamer: Candidate Profile

Kane County Board Chairman (Democrat)

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  • Sue Klinkhamer, running for Kane County Board Chairman

    Sue Klinkhamer, running for Kane County Board Chairman




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: St. Charles


Office sought: Kane County Board Chairman

Age: 58

Family: Married, two children, one grandchild

Occupation: Consultant

Education: Elgin Community College "Fabulous Forty" alum Harvard University, John F Kennedy School of Government, Senior Executives in State and Local Government

Civic involvement: Former Vice-President, Metropolitan Mayors Caucus Former President, DuKane Valley Mayors and Administrators Council Former Vice-President, Illinois Municipal League Former Member, Governor's Illinois Main Street Council

Elected offices held: Alderman, St Charles, 1989-1997 Mayor, St Charles, 1997-2005

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

Candidate's Key Issues

Key Issue 1

Retain a County Administrator. As all of our neighborhing counties have learned, a professional administrator is vital to ensuring that a county is functioning eficiently. Reaching this goal will help to ensure that information from all county departments is funneled through to all board members through a single office, which will ensure greater efficiency, eliminate duplication of effort, and allow for greater transparency.

Key Issue 2

Move to a Committee of the Whole structure. This will eliminate the Chairman's current ability to award "plum" Committee Chair assignments to select board members. Adopting this format should also prevent projects from moving forward in such a way that not all County Board Members are aware of their details before they come up for a vote. This should assist in relieving some of the tensions that have in the past resulted in lawsuits which have been very costly for Kane County taxpayers.

Key Issue 3

Cut from the top! Any time elected officials start talking about cuts, taxpayers should absolutely demand they talk about cutting their own salaries and benefits before they go after services vital to the health and safety of taxpayers. I'm committed to that, and will push to cut the County Board Chairman's pay by a full 25%, as well as asking County Board Members to give up the full-time benefits they, and only they among the County's part-time workers, enjoy.

Questions & Answers

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?

Considering the amount defending lawsuits has cost Kane County taxpayers over recent years, I can't think it is ever right to choose to extend an ordinance that is open to legal challenge. The ordinance should be revised to a more enforcable - and legally defensible - standard. Kane County's current economic interest statement form is such an accepted and defensible standard, used by most governmental entities, from municipalities all the way up to federal government, so should be retained.

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?

Kane County residents have real concerns about housing more prisoners within the county that should be considered. That said, if this option would prove to be an available source of revenue that the county could tap in to, I would be open to considering it. I think the issue needs further study before the County Board can be asked to consider it.

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?

Yes, I do believe the county court system needs a computer system upgrade, but think it may well be accomplished for less than $12.6 million, and that less expensive upgrade options should be investigated. RTA sales tax funds were intended to be used for public safety items (and justice is a public safety issue)and other counties have consistently used these funds for such purposes, while Kane County has restricted their use to public transportation. I think this needs to change and RTA sales tax should be an option in funding this upgrade.

Do you support the call by the state's attorney and public defender for raises for their staffs? Where should that money come from?

Yes. Kane County's states attorney and public defender staffs are woefully underpaid in relation to comparable staffs in nearby counties and this needs to be rectified. Again, cuts should come from the top, and cutting the County Board Chair's salary, and the full benefits enjoyed by Board Members, can help pay these salary increases, as can redirecting RTA sales tax funds to this purpose. The County has lost many lawyers to other counties because of the disparity of salaries. The citizens of Kane County need to know that if they are a victim of a crime the case will be handled in a timely fashion by an efficiently run office.

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?

I think Fabyan Forest Preserve is a unique natural resource for the county, and while I do support aspects of the plan that leave trees and open space, and add bike trails so these areas can be better accessed and enjoyed by members of the public, I am less in favor of some of the more intensive development in the plan, which encroaches on natural areas and open space. I grew up around Ravinia so I have my doubts that a similar venue would work on this property. I don't think it's possible to use the old jail property in its current condition, and it should be left vacant until such time as a good determination for its use can be found. I've heard the suggestion, for instance, that it be used as a facility for law enforcement training as there are only a handful of such sites in the nation. I think options like this should also be explored and considered.