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Office sought: DuPage County board District 1
Family: Married 19 years to Monica Son Tommy (15) Daughter Megan (17)
Occupation: Owner, Financial Trading Company
Education: Finance, University of Illinois Business School MBA, Finance, DePaul University
Civic involvement: Former Alderman, City of Elmhurst, 9 years
Elected offices held: Alderman, City of Elmhurst (former) DuPage County Board 2004 - present
Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: No
Key Issue 1
Key Issue 2
Key Issue 3
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?
Past success in minimizing taxes, consolidation of government functions and increasing transparency motivate me. The county's portion of your property tax bill is only 2.8% of your total property tax bill. That portion of your property tax bill has had a 0% increase for each of the past 4 years.
I was a strong supporter of last year's consolidation of the county's youth home with Kane county where proven savings have been $1.3 million this past year alone.
I have helped advocate for major improvements in transparency as well. The county now has contract bidding on the internet for all vendors to bid against each other in real-time and can be observed live by any resident or vendor. During my chairmanship of the Technology committee, the county received the Sunshine Review's "Sunny Award" honoring the nation?s most transparent websites. all our board meetings are on video available on our website as are many budget documents.
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 an incumbent, and Chairman of the Finance Committee, my main contributions have been in the following areas: Budgeting, Minimizing Taxes, Improving Transparency and Consolidation of Government Functions.
- Less than 3% of your property tax bill goes to fund the county. Working hard to minimize your property taxes, this year is the fourth year in a row that there has been no property tax increase for the only line on your property tax bill that the county board is responsible for.
- Our County budget is required to balance every year (no deficit spending).
- While the federal government lost its AAA bond rating earlier this year, DuPage County is one of only 2% of all counties in the US that still has a AAA rating.
- Recognizing the need to do more with less, the number of county employees has been reduced by 90 people over the past 4 years.
- I was a strong supporter of the successful consolidation of our home for youth offenders with Kane County, saving DuPage residents $1.3mil last year.
- I fought against red-light-camera approval on county maintained roads, and won. The county's website (Dupageco.org) now includes live video broadcasts of county board meetings and instant public access to all committee meeting minutes and county budget documents.
- To further increase transparency, during the annual budget preparation time, public hearings are held around the county soliciting public input. Also, the number of county board night meetings has doubled since I was first elected making it easier for residents to attend.
How can the county best manage its growth, growing diversity?
Much of the county's growing diversity comes from age and economic factors. I want to make sure seniors are aware of the many services offered by the county -- from property tax deferral programs to home care services. Seniors can order a "DuPage County Senior Services" book by going to "dupageco.org/seniorsvcs" or calling 630-407-6500.
For businesses, helping to create a low regulation, low property tax and welcoming business environment is a must by working with our Springfield legislators and our Choose DuPage business group that helps strengthen DuPage County as a global business location by retaining and expanding our current business base and attracting new business to DuPage County. As a non-home rule county, the municipalities -- not the county -- have most of the say in how growth is managed.
As a former City Council member in Elmhurst, I know the importance of working with municipalities as both levels of government work hard to make DuPage County a balanced place for both business and residents.
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?
Yes. I am satisfied with my attendance. The official record shows my board and committee meeting attendance at approximately 85% of meetings. The record does not include my additional attendance at other committee meetings where I was not a member and does not take into account having to miss meetings because I was meeting with staff, department heads or countywide elected officials at the time of a committee meeting where I was counted absent.
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?
The voters at election time set all incumbent?s pay. If a majority feel we are not doing a good job, our pay goes to zero.
No matter what the pay is, some people will always think it is too high. I believe it is very important to have a professionally diverse board so we must encourage as many people with varied career experiences as possible on the board to help make the important decisions of our $440million annual budget. Proper compensation encourages a fair cross section of candidates from all careers and professional life to become board members.
If the compensation is too low, our board would probably be made up of mostly the rich or retired. Too high and people may become candidates for the wrong reason. It's not easy to set compensation, but many competent professional people that would make excellent board members already stay away from public service because they can't afford to take a hit to their career by staying away from the office a full day or more every week. Being a county board member requires a lot of time, even more time when a board member becomes chairman of a committee.
I am proud to have been part of the initiative to successfully get rid of "chairman stipends" for board members and also remove reimbursable "travel costs" from travel within the county to attend county board meetings.