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updated: 10/30/2012 5:38 PM

Kane County Dist. 21 candidates talk budget cuts, meeting attendance

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Becky Gillam and Darren Parochelli, who are competing to represent District 21 on the Kane County Board, couldn't be more different.

Gillam, a Republican, has raised $2,700 for her campaign and is enjoying endorsements from West Dundee Village President Larry Keller and her brother-in-law Tim Haley, who now holds the seat she's seeking.

Conversely, Parochelli, a Democrat, is running a grass-roots campaign and has received $650 from a pair of Democratic groups, hasn't sought endorsements and doesn't have a website.

"I'm old school," Parochelli joked. "I go from door to to door. That's my website."

The 21st District includes parts of East Dundee, West Dundee and Carpentersville.

Both Gillam, 51, and Parochelli, 49, live in West Dundee.

Gillam has been a West Dundee trustee since 2007, while Parochelli has never run for public office.

While Gillam would bring five years of governing experience to the county board if elected, Parochelli says he brings a "fresh approach" to politics.

He advocates listening to the people, increasing transparency and saving money by eliminating waste in the county government, namely the pay increases board members give themselves. One of his ideas is to put their pay increases to a referendum.

"I'm not a cookie cutter, I have a different view, I'm not radical," Parochelli said. "I just believe that if we work together and you have to cross party lines and compromise, but you have to be leaders."

There have been two property increases within the last five years in West Dundee. Gillam voted for the first one in 2008 so the village could continue providing services to residents -- a year after the village made cuts wherever it could. She opposed raising the tax levy the following year, but a majority of the board went against her. The levy has remained frozen at $3 million since 2010.

The approach Gillam has taken in West Dundee has been saving money through attrition and using volunteers for certain projects, like the village website's redesign. In Kane County, she'd also be open to constantly evaluating the effectiveness of certain programs, eliminating them if they don't and finding creative solutions to secure raises for county staff.

As for meeting attendance, Gillam has gone to at least 90 county meetings since she announced her candidacy in August 2011. Parochelli, owner of a bricklaying company, says he hasn't been to any, as he's constantly looking for work. If elected though, he insists he'll have time to serve.

"I always said, just because you go to a football game doesn't mean you know how to play football," Parochelli said of Gillam's attendance. "You can watch it all you want."

But Gillam says she's the one who would hit the ground running.

"Unless you've been going to the meetings, you can't answer the questions," Gillam said. "How do you know what's been discussed, what solutions are being presented and which the boards have discussed? To me, it's research."

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