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: DuPage County board District 5
Family: Wife, Ann 14 years Three children
Occupation: Chief Operating Officer/Partner at Ruettiger, Tonelli & Associates, Inc.
Education: MBA - University of St. Francis MS - Northern Illinois University BS - Carroll College
Civic involvement: Naperville Development Partnership Board of Directors, Vice-Chairman, Choose DuPage Board of Directors, Naperville Heritage Society Board of Directors, Sunrise Rotary Club, North Central College Board of Trustees Associate, Volunteer Youth Sports Coach - YMCA
Elected offices held: DuPage County Board - January 2009 to Present
Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: No
Key Issue 1
Economic Development - We have made tremendous strides in the last several years in the local economy. However, there is always more work to do to foster an environment where companies want to locate, employees want to live and entrepreneurs want to invest. As such, I will continue to partner with our local economic development agencies, businesses and local governments to attract and retain business, maintain a strong workforce, and provide a healthy environment that fosters the quality of life we enjoy in DuPage County.
Key Issue 2
Fiscal Responsibility and Accountability - It is the responsibility of government to provide the highest quality of services to its citizens at the lowest possible cost. I have worked very hard to ensure that DuPage County delivers its services in an efficient and transparent manner, while maintaining the high level of service our citizens expect.
Key Issue 3
Investment in our Critical Infrastructure - Long term planning and maintenance of all of our infrastructure systems is key to the long-term economic health of our County. We must continue to invest in projects that enhance the quality of life of our residents such as trail systems, roads and bridges, and critical stormwater management systems. These are all areas where our return on investment can be measured in the ease of movement of goods and services, direct investment from the private sector and economic loss prevention from flood control and prevention.
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?
I am very proud of the work I have done on the County Board over the last 3 years. Much has been accomplished in the way of budgeting, transparency and ethics reform, and economic development. We have reduced the size of the budget by $45,000,000 over the last three years without resorting to layoffs or a drop in the level of services the County provides. We have passed strong ethics and transparency measures and worked to provide an economic environment that companies want to invest in and that is evidenced in the thousands of new jobs that have come to District 5 in the last several years. I want to continue to play a key role in making the decisions that provide of more responsive and efficient government and promote economic development for DuPage County.
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 noted above, we have reduced the size of the budget by $45,000,000 over the last three years without resorting to layoffs or a drop in the level of services the County provides. This is real savings to the taxpayers of DuPage County totaling nearly a half a billion dollars over the next ten years. We have accomplished this through prudent decision making and investment in technologies and policy changes that have created significant operational efficiencies, several of which I led as the Chairman of the Committee for Governmental Efficiencies. This committee advocated for changes to our compensation and benefit structures that will result in $28,000,000 in savings to our taxpayers.
How can the county best manage its growth, growing diversity?
The County can best manage its growth by closely monitoring its development and demographic trends. In 2011, the Census Bureau released a tremendous amount of data about DuPage County it had collected during the 2010 Census. While DuPage County did not grow quite as fast as in previous decades, it still managed to add 12,000 residents. The average age of our population increased from 35.2 years old to 38.2 years old with the over 65 population increasing by nearly 20%. We also became more diverse culturally with significant growth amongst all groups of people. These factors provide a tremendous opportunity for DuPage County Government to achieve additional efficiencies as our services adapt to the growing needs of an aging and diversifying population.
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?
I am very satisfied with my attendance record over the last three years. I have attended well over 90% of all County Board meetings and Committees in the last three years, one of only five members on the Board to accomplish this level.
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?
I think County Board pay could be reduced further. In 2010, I voted to reduce my own pay by 7% and I think further reductions would be merited the next time we vote on this topic. I think pensions should be eliminated moving forward. Members currently enrolled in a pension program should be given the opportunity to opt out or migrate to a 401K plan. Currently, neither of those options are available as only the Illinois State Legislature can eliminate or change the pension system. I would support and participate in either of those options that would become available as the Legislature contemplates comprehensive reform.