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updated: 2/22/2013 6:34 PM

Karol Sole: Candidate Profile

Downers Grove Township Supervisor (4-year Term) (D)

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  • Karol Sole, running for Downers Grove Township Supervisor (4-year Term)

    Karol Sole, running for Downers Grove Township Supervisor (4-year Term)




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: Westmont


Office sought: Downers Grove Township Supervisor (4-year Term)

Age: Candidate did not respond.

Family: one son, four grandchildren

Occupation: Accomplished management professional with extensive experience in a broad range of environmental, health and safety projects, compliance and regulations. Organized and efficient leader with strong skills in managing people, and utilizing resources.

Education: Bachelor of Science in Industrial Engineering, University of Iowa, 1983

Civic involvement: Past President and Board Member of the Chicago Chapter of the Alliance of Hazardous Materials Professionals, President of the Friends of the Westmont Public Library, Past President of the Democratic Women of DuPage County, and Vice Chair of the Downers Grove Township Democrats.

Elected offices held: Trustee, Southeastern Iowa Community College

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

Candidate's Key Issues

Key Issue 1

Key Issue 1: Citizens deserve a township government that operates in an efficient, fair, and open manner. As Supervisor, it is my responsibility to provide leadership and direction to the Township to insure that the citizens? needs are served. This will be accomplished by capably managing the business of the Township, performing financial and reporting duties, chairing the Township Board meetings and all other duties as found in the Illinois Code.

Key Issue 2

As urbanization continues to expand, the number of Township unincorporated area residents is decreasing, yet the Downers Grove Township budget increases annually. Township Government in Illinois is over 160 years old, and it is time for the Township to re-evaluate its role and relevance. Township Government needs to develop a Long-Range Plan to identify and prepare for its roles of today and tomorrow.

Key Issue 3

Strengthen Township financial management through sound budgeting and reporting systems.

Questions & Answers

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. Planning: the Township currently does what it has always done, with no clear vision or mission beyond continuing to exist. It is time to do a thorough assessment of what the Township does, what it does well, and what in the opinion of Township stakeholders it should be doing. Based on the assessment and a comprehensive statement of its current mission, the Township should develop strategic long range plans as a guide to where the Township is going for at least the next 3-5 years. 2. Budgeting and Reporting: with a strategic long-range plan in place, the Township can evaluate what expenditures are actually necessary to meet their goals rather than simply budgeting based on what was budgeted before. Annual budgets should reflect actual costs of detailed planned activities, and regular reports of actual expenditures compared to budget should be provided to the Board to support timely, responsible financial management. 3. Accountability: in the four-plus years I have been attending regular Township meetings, I have never seen a representative of the media, and rarely any members of the public attend a meeting. The web site contains minimal clues about Township decision making, for example: meeting minutes are approved at the following meeting, one month after the meeting they record, and only then are published to the web site. Agendas are on the web site, but not the agenda packet with the details. How many times have I heardI don't live in Downers Grove Township, I live in Darien?? Why would a resident of Darien know anything about the Township, when the Township makes so little effort to be known? Announcements, press releases, a web site with easy-to-find and complete meeting and financial information along with videotapes of the meetings there is much that can be inexpensively done to make it easier for citizens to be informed about what the government they are paying for is doing.

In the 21st Century, with municipalities gobbling up vacant land, why are townships needed? Should they be serving a new role? If so, what?

Many people are attracted to living in unincorporated areas due to their more rural settings, lower taxes and fewer regulations. These are the people directly served by Township government, and they should not be forced into annexation in an effort to eliminate Township government. To the extent that unincorporated areas continue to exist, they deserve a dedicated, responsive government. Over a million dollars worth of Downers Grove Township assets have been annexed in the last two fiscal years, decreasing Township responsibilities. As Township responsibilities are decreased and as Township services are identified as inefficient or redundant, it is better for Townships fade into the sunset rather than create new roles to justify their continued existence.

What should be the primary responsibility of township government?

There are three mandatory functions of Township government: administering a General Assistance program; maintaining the Township road district and bridges; and appraising property values. The Township should excel at these functions, and limit other activities to carefully selected programs that are best and most effectively provided at the Township level.

In these hard economic times, can you identify some township expenses/programs that could be trimmed or eliminated to reduce the tax burden?

Elected school board trustees serve as unpaid volunteers why are the four Township trustees each paid $4,800 per year? Total Township salaries, NOT INCLUDING BENEFITS, are more than 30% of the Township budget. Are the salaries of the other elected Township officials in line with their responsibilities? The Township owns several parcels of land sitting vacant in Downers Grove keeping them off of the tax rolls. Sale of the property would provide revenue into the township government and generate tax dollars for the public taxing bodies. In addition, the Township should examine the feasibility of selling its current office building and either building or renting office space more proximate to the unincorporated areas that benefit most from Township services. Committed to cost-efficient government, I will carefully scrutinize these and all other financial matters seeking opportunities to save the taxpayers? money.

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 bring decades of leadership and management experience in the workplace and in a wide assortment of volunteer activities to the position of Township Supervisor, and with the planning, project management, budgeting and people skills I have developed and utilized in my career, I will bring a higher level of professionalism to the Township of Downers Grove. I earned a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Engineering, which is the branch of engineering focused onoptimization?: industrial engineers are sometimes referred to asefficiency experts?. Throughout my career, this training has been enhanced by hands-on experience in planning, project management and budgeting large scale projects that required scheduling over multiple years. Applying these experiences to management of the township government will result in increasing the efficiency of the township operation and reducing redundancies that do not add value for the taxpayers.