John Curran: Candidate Profile
DuPage 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.
Office sought: DuPage County board District 3
Family: Married with three daughters
Occupation: Chief of the Special Litigation Division for the Cook County State's Attorney's Office
Education: -Juris Doctor, Northern Illinois University College of Law (1998) -Bachelor of Science, University of Illinois (1995)
Civic involvement: -Member, St. Scholastic Parish, Woodridge, Illinois -Buildings and Grounds Board Member, Coach Care Center (2006-2008) -Member, ASPIRE
Elected offices held: -Trustee, Village of Woodridge (2005-2008) -Committeeman, Lisle Township Republican Organization
Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: Candidate did not respond.
Key Issue 1
Property Taxes: The County portion of your property tax bill is still less than 3%, a smaller portion of your tax bill than when I was first elected 4 years ago. No property tax increase all four years I have been on the Board on the DuPage County Property Tax Line Item of your bill. At the same time, DuPage County has maintained AAA Bond Rating by all three bond rating agencies. Less than2% of all U.S. Counties can say that.
Key Issue 2
Managing the County's budget and finding ways to reduce costs through consolidation of services and more efficient ways to provide necessary County services. DuPage County has passed a balanced buget every year I have been on the Board and NO Deficit Spending Is Allowed. Managing the yearly budget pressures involving personnel, including rising health insurance costs is critical. In recognizing the need to do more with less, over the past 4 years, employee headcount has been reduced by 90.
Key Issue 3
Transparency in County Operations. DuPage County's website has been awarded the "Sunny Award" honoring the nations's most transparent websites. Bidding for County Contracts is now on-line forcing vendors to compete against each other in real-time, monitored by the public and other vendors. In addition, all budget documents, ethics code and financial policies now on-line. Annual budget meetings are held around the County, night Board meetings are held quarterly and all Board meetings are live-streamed on the County website.
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?
As Vice-Chairman of the DuPage County Board, I want to continue my work in lowering the cost of the services the County provides through improved efficiencies, stream-lined processes and, where it makes sense, consolidation of governmental units or departments, like the DuPage County Juvenile Youth Center.
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 Vice-Chairman, I have led in reducing spending in DuPage County Government and their has been no increase in the County Board's property tax levy in my three and one-half years on the Board. I led on reforming our employee benefits, which included ending the practice of paying out cash-value for unused sick days at the end of an employee's career, which was causing a corresponding increase ("spike") in the employee's pension based upon their additional compensation in their last year of service. The overall savings to DuPage County taxpayers of these benefit reforms is anticipated to be areound $20 million over the next twenty years. Additionally, consolidating our Juvenile Offender Services with Kane County when we closed the DuPage County Youth Center has provided even greater savings than anticipated, with over one-milliion dollars a year in savings with no reduction in the services these juvenile offenders receive while in the Juvenile Justice System.
How can the county best manage its growth, growing diversity?
While DuPage County's population growth has slowed, our county population has aged and has become more ethnically and racially diverse. This presents a greater challenge to law enforcement as senior as more susceptible to crime. Children and Seniors are our most vulnerable residents and we must continue to be vigilant in protecting both groups. That is why it is important to give law enforcement the tools they need to protect children, like the new DuPage Children's Center, which will assist our law enforcement agencies in protecting children and prosecuting those who commit crimes against them.
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 have a good record of attendance at county board/committee meetings, but there are times when committee meetings conflict and you must do your best to attend to the matters that are of most significant to your district residents.
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 voted to cut county board member pay by 6% two-years ago and voted most recently to freeze all county elected officials' pay, including county board members, for the next four years. We have asked for sacrifice from our County workforce over the last several years, including two years of no pay increases, reduced vacation days, a reformed sick-day policy and increased employee contributions to their health insurance coverage. As elected leaders, we need to lead on this issue and my record reflects such leadership. I fully support the Illinois General Assembly ending the Elected County Officers' Pension Plan last spring, and believe we need more comprehensive pension reform from Springfield that is both fair to the pension participants that have invested a portion of their pay into their plan over many years and the taxpayers, who are facing a burden that will wipe-out many governmental services if the pension system is not reformed.
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