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.
City: Downers Grove
Office sought: Downers Grove Township Board (4-year Terms)
Family: Married, two daughters
Education: University of Dayton Chicago Academy of Fine Arts Licensed Illinois Real Estate Broker
Civic involvement: Elected Member, Community High School District 99 Board of Education, 2003-2011 Co-chair, Policy Committee, 2005 - 2011 Member, Downers Grove/Woodridge/Lisle League of Women Voters Ex-Officio Member, Village of Downers Grove Plan Commission, 2004 2011 Vice President, District 99 Education Foundation, 2011 present Downers Grove Community Advocates, Secretary and Founding Member
Elected offices held: Community High School District 99 School Board Two Terms 2003-2007 and 2007-2011
Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: No
Key Issue 1
As Trustee I will bring a fresh perspective and balance to the Township Board of Trustees. I will focus on consolidation, collaboration and cooperation with other governmental bodies. I will work to create Intergovernmental agreements with the goal of improving services and lowering costs. Creating positive productive working relationships with other taxing bodies will eliminate duplication of services and better serve the taxpayers.
Key Issue 2
The Township Board of Trustees needs a focused plan to guide future decisions. Recent decisions of the Trustees indicate confusion about the role of township government. I will work for a comprehensive long range plan that states the mission of the township with an emphasis on saving tax dollars and reducing the size of township government wherever possible.
Key Issue 3
The Downers Grove Township Board of Trustees owes its constituents a comprehensive examination of the budget. A detailed look at the programs and services provided needs to be analyzed to determine success, sustainability and necessity. Further, the best way to serve the taxpayers is to provide 100% transparency. A transparent government can and will be held accountable by the people it serves, and I will work to ensure open access of all township records.
Name the three most important goals or objectives this board should tackle in the coming term. Prioritize them, and briefly discuss why you believe each to be critical, and how the board should go about addressing them.
1. The most important function of a Township is the tax assessment of properties. To this end, the Assessor's office needs to be properly funded and staffed in order to ensure the timely and accurate assessment of properties. 2. Downers Grove Township needs a comprehensive long range plan based on the mandated responsibilities of township government. The township recentlydonated? its resources to run a program for an area school district which has a budget that exceeds $90 million. Giving resources and the time of employees for other governmental bodies is not within the scope of township government. Instead, the township needs to focus on the consolidation of services and following the best practices in municipal governance. 3. In today's challenging economic times, the Township needs to examine the reason for every taxpayer dollar it spends on services. To that end, I propose the Township use a zero based budgeting system to examine the expenses of every department and program. Last year's budget should no longer be the automatic starting point, and nothing except for mandated services should be taken as a given. Taxpayers deserve a full accounting of where their money is being spent, and why.
In the 21st Century, with municipalities gobbling up vacant land, why are townships needed? Should they be serving a new role? If so, what?
When Illinois was young and sparsely populated, township government was an effective model of governance. However, now that townships overlap municipalities and county governments are in place, it is appropriate to question the continued need for townships. Until the state no longer statutorily requires township government, they should be streamlined and provide only the basic services mandated. Intergovernmental cooperation and agreements can be sought to provide more cost efficient services for township residents. There may be a role for townships to provide social services that have been eliminated in other governmental bodies, but the answer to that can only come after a comprehensive long range plan has been created.
What should be the primary responsibility of township government?
The primary responsibility of township government should be to provide accurate property assessments, to maintain and repair roads in unincorporated areas and provide services as mandated by law.
In these hard economic times, can you identify some township expenses/programs that could be trimmed or eliminated to reduce the tax burden?
Again, this is why a comprehensive plan is essential for Downers Grove Township. We need to examine every program for efficiency and effectiveness. If a social service program costs as much to administer as it gives out in assistance- as is the case in Downers Grove Township- then the program is neither efficient nor effective. In many cases, the Township might not need to be the conduit for services, and programs could be more effectively administered by other governmental agencies. Most township residents don't benefit from many township services; the taxpayer dollars of many fund the services for a few. If we are able to enter into cooperative agreements with the county and/or municipalities for services such as snow plowing, we can eliminate many of our administrative, personnel and equipment costs.
What specific background or experience do you bring that makes you the best qualified candidate to serve as an elected official in the township?
I have been following Township government for almost two decades, and understand its strengths and weaknesses. As a licensed Realtor, I understand the need for a professional, efficient Assessor's office. I was elected by the residents of Community High School District 99 to serve two terms representing them on the school board. I know how a taxing body should be administered, and I respect the taxpayer. I believe in small, efficient government that provides exceptional services at the best cost. As a school board member, I was part of a board that cut costs and staff while increasing services and improving programs. I will bring this competency to the Downers Grove Township Board of Trustees. I look forward to serving all residents of the township.