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updated: 2/22/2013 6:36 PM

Gerry Heide: Candidate Profile

Naperville Park Board (4-year Terms) (Republican)

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  • Gerry Heide, running for Naperville Park Board (4-year Terms)

    Gerry Heide, running for Naperville Park Board (4-year Terms)




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: naperville

Website: Candidate did not respond.

Office sought: Naperville Park Board (4-year Terms)

Age: 49

Family: Married, 6 year old daughter

Occupation: Small Business Person

Education: AA-College of DuPage BBA- Management and International Bus. Univ. Wisconsin-Madison MBA- Marketing, Product Management Univ. Wisconsin-Madison

Civic involvement: Naperville Park District Commissioner since August 2008 Millenium Carillon Foundation member 2009-2010 Riverwalk Commission Member 2010 to current Last Fling Volunteer World Vision (a unicef org) Volunteer MS Society Volunteer Precint Committeeman 2007-current

Elected offices held: Naperville Park District Commissioner 2008-current Lisle Township Precinct Committeeman 2007-current

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

Candidate's Key Issues

Key Issue 1

Over the past 4 years, we have developed a culture of excellence(e.g. national and state accreditation), an esprit de corps among board and staff(we may disagree, but we respect and embrace divergent opinions), and a history of delivering desired amenities to the citizens of Naperville (Centennial Beach renov, expanded trail system, Seager Park Interp. center). And we have done these things while implementing minimal levy increases. In fact, our levy went down this year. So, while it's a bit nebulous, my top priority is to ensure that these things continue. We are elected to serve the citizens of Naperville, not to outsmart them. That means keeping taxes at a level commensurate with the amenities we deliver, never endorsing a project that doesn't serve the best interests of our constituents, and maintaining the highest level of fiscal responsibility, i.e. a AAA bond rating.

Key Issue 2

It is critically important to maintain, at the highest level that is practicable, our assets and resources. We have made huge strides in implementing our self imposed park maintenance standards, and this must continue. Additionally, I'm interested in such things as depreciation funding and making better use of the assets and resources that we currently own. For example, I spearheaded an exploration of a public/private partnership, with an established and expert company, for the purpose of building a zip line park on property that we own. While it proved to be a substandard fit, I think it is essential to continually explore ways to better utilize our assets. Another prime target, in my opinion, is the numerous retention ponds that we have acquired over the years as part of the land/cash ordinance. These ponds require very expensive maintenance and deliver very little, if any, return.

Key Issue 3

Responsible environmental stewardship It is important to perpetuate our culture of environmental stewardship, but I believe a cost benefit analysis must be weighed against the incremental environmental benefits derived from a product or program. For example, with the added cost associated with LEEDS Platinum certification, is LEEDS Silver or Gold adequate for our purposes? We should be looking at any and all areas to reduce our waste stream and minimize our impact on the environment.

Questions & Answers

What programs aren't paying for themselves? Would you keep, eliminate or change them? How and why?

The Garden Plots, Special Programs such as Halloween Happening. We generally subscribe to a pyramidal cost recovery/pricing model wherein programs that benefit the community as a whole are located at the bottom of the pyramid and are suitable for subsidization. The Garden Plots and many special programs fall into this category. As an activity becomes more advanced and/or individual oriented, it approaches the apex of the pyramid and should be priced to cover all costs and return a profit. Our philosophy isn't to maximize profits, so I have no problem with programs characterized by broad community interest breaking even or even losing some money.

Is there any additional open space the park district needs to acquire? Please describe.

We are substandard, in terms of open space, in several of our planning areas. However, open space is hard to come by in these areas. I advocate examining all tracts of land (that are contiguous and meet certain minimums) that become available in an effort to determine if any community needs can be met by acquiring them. I am not an advocate of acquiring land solely for the purpose of forestalling or preventing development, as we did with Hobson Ponds.

Are there any unmet recreational needs? If yes, what are they and how would you propose paying for them? Or, should they wait until the economy improves?

We are lacking in terms of indoor recreation space, and we are constantly exploring methods to reduce this deficit. We recently brought the 95th street center on line, and we did this through a cost effective lease, rather than a purchase or build. Additionally, partnerships are a viable means of increasing our indoor inventory, and we are exploring several. I do not advocate building a large, expensive recreation center at this time. The need for this type of project could be obviated with smaller, more cost effective incremental additions to our inventory.

Would you support sharing/pooling resources (i.e. printing, vehicles) with other local governments (school districts, village, etc.)? If so, what areas would you consider combining or merging to save money or improve efficiency?

I always advocate sharing costs. I thought we should share the vehicle maintenance facility of the public works building with the city, instead of building our own. Unfortunately, the city doesn't possess surplus capacity. We currently utilize the city's job cost contracting system, but I believe we should pool purchasing on commodities, such as asphalt sealer, sno-melt, and fuel, wherever possible. Further, we must continue to explore private/public and public/public partnerships so that we can maximize our ROI.

If you are a newcomer, what prompted you to run for the park board? If you're an incumbent, list your accomplishments or key initiatives in which you played a leadership role.

Incumbent Accomplishments: Advocated for the hiring of Exec. Director Ray McGury-We needed a strong leader at the time, and I saw Ray as that person. Chaired the committee that evaluated our legal counsel, and ultimately switched to Ancel-Glink. One of the most beneficial changes we've made. Chaired the legislative Committee, and facilitated the passage (along with Mike Reilly) of SB 3809, dealing with the access to the adjudicated criminal records of minor employees. Pushed for open discussion of pending issues at special meetings,with staff and other commissioners, instead of individual evaluation, followed by a quick vote at the regular meeting-the way it was for many years. Pushed for a physical group tour of pending projects, or projects that are under construction, with staff and other commissioners so that issues could be discussed. We currently do this at least once every year. Advocated for a focus on non-tax revenue, and increasing our sponsorship revenue-I provided specific ideas. Have offered many suggestions to improve the operational efficiency and user friendliness of the agency, e.g. motorcycle/scooter parking at the beach, Park naming policy update,etc.