Michael Childress: Candidate Profile
Bloomingdale Township Highway Commissioner (4-year Term) (D)
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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.
Website: Candidate did not respond.
Office sought: Bloomingdale Township Highway Commissioner (4-year Term)
Family: Married, 2 children, 2 Stepchildren, 9 grandchildren
Occupation: Customer Service Manager
Education: Bachelors of Science (Organizational Psychology, Sociology, Business Management MHRM (Masters of Human Resource Management)Keller Graduate School of Management MBA (Masters of Business Administration) Keller Graduate School of Management
Civic involvement: Mike began community service work during a time in which he was unemployed. Never one to sit around and feel sorry for himself, he began volunteering with the Fairy Godmother Foundation. The Fairy Godmother Foundation grants wishes for individuals 18 and older facing terminal illnesses. The Fairy Godmother Foundation, is based in Chicago, IL, and is 1 of only 2 organizations that grant wishes for adults. Also, unlike most of the other agencies, they grant wishes to all adults regardless of their sex, illness, or location. He was just recently vote to the board of directors of Family Rescue, one of the largest Domestic Violence Advocacy programs in Chicago. He also volunteers with the Mentoring Program at the Position of Pressure Youth Center on the west side of Chicago. He is the chief Volunteer Trainer and Speaker for Sister Against Abuse Society (SAAS, a domestic violence prevention organization in Southfield, Michigan. He has personally acquired close to $10,000 in grant funding through his volunteer efforts as well as writing the training modules. He is also a volunteer training developer for Dominion Family Service, also a domestic violence prevention organization and has obtained over $10,000 in grant funding for that organization also. The focus of this organization is to change the behaviors of the mostly male perpetrators. He has also did the research and wrote the training modules and facilitated several sessions. He is currently working as a volunteer curriculum developer forOn the Wings of Love? a rape and incest advocacy organization. He developed most of the presentations for the speakers at the Michigan'sWoman of Color Coalition? forum in August, 2012. He is serving as a advocate for the consultant and advocate for the Michigan Coalition to End Domestic and Sexual Violence and well and with the Michigan Women of Color Coalition. He was elected as Bloomingdale Park Commissioner in February 2011, to a six year term. He is currently serving as the Political Action Chair for the DuPage County Branch of the NAACP and launched a county wide voter registration drive and well as voter education initiatives at local universities. He is been serving as a Bloomingdale Precinct Committeeman since 2006, spearheading the Get Out The Vote effort in DuPage County. He is a core member of Real Men Cook for Charity Group (Thirteen Year Member) and recently participated the last 2 years in 50 Men Who Cook in Bloomingdale to raise money for the school system.
Elected offices held: Bloomingdale Commisioner of Parks
Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: No
Key Issue 1
My first priority is to reform in the highway department. With a strong background in Human Resource Management we will do away with any hit cronyism in our hiring practices using qualification and merit as a basis for hiring and promotions. All job vacancies in the township will be posted on the township web site. All contracts that are up for bid will also post on the website. Taxpayers will see that highway department funds are being used efficiently and ethically. I will also bring reform and efficiency to the day to day operations of the highway department. The highway department is responsible for snow removal for over 65 miles of roads throughout the township. These roads are mostly at the extreme north, west east and south of the township. We will seek to collaborate with and enter into inter-government agreements with municipalities that border these areas. This would increase efficiency and cut costs both long and short term.
Key Issue 2
My second priority is to bring more transparency to the highway department. Citizens don't realize that the highway department budget is separate from the general township budget. I will post the highway department budget on the township's website. I would also post annual financial reports and financial disclosures on the web site. The fact that this is the taxpayers money, they should know what how it's being used.
Key Issue 3
My third priority would be to provide more services for our township. One service I feel that needs to be looked at is mosquito abatement. Until a few years ago the township was responsible for providing this service. This service was recently handed over to the municipalities. This resulted in varying levels of coverage throughout the township. Unfortunately mosquitoes do not recognize municipal borders! This is a service that can be more efficiently administered at the township level.
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)Improve services while at the same time cutting costs within the highway department. Snow removal is perhaps the most obvious way. 2) Mosquito abatement is another. We need to look for other ways for the highway department to increase its efficiency and to bring greater value to our taxpayers. 3) We also have to raise awareness to the general public about how the highway department operates and how they serve. As I already mentioned,most taxpayers need to know that the highway department budget is separate from the general township's budget. The citizens of Bloomingdale Township have a right to know how their money is spent. This can be achieved through better use of the township's website. We will be transparent and let the citizens know what contracts are out for bidding, who these contracts are going to and where the highway commissions dollars are being spent. We also need to reform how we perform some of the basic functions of the highway department. Road salting is an obvious area this can be achieved. Road salt is an expensive method of ensuring safe roads in winter conditions that has a negative impact on our environment. We need to explore alternatives to the traditional methods we use to salt our roads.
In the 21st Century, with municipalities gobbling up vacant land, why are townships needed? Should they be serving a new role? If so, what?
With over 65 miles of roads under the jurisdiction of the township's highway department we provide many necessary services to the residents of Bloomingdale's Township. As municipalities crowd out unincorporated areas in our township, we need to look at ways to provide these services in a more efficient manner. We need to bring greater value to the taxpayers. Through the use inter-government agreements and constant communication with the municipalities we can find these ways. We must be open to new ideas as we move into the 21st century. We must also be willing to embrace new technologies. Alternatives to traditional fossil fuel trucks and well as other green technologies are being developed and improved every day. We must be open to new ways of performing the services our residents while respecting the enviornment.
What should be the primary responsibility of township government?
The people of Bloomingdale township count on the highway department to provide services in a timely manner. It should be snow removal in the winter and storm clean up in the summer. the highway commission has a direct effect on the township's quality of life. The highway department has major responsibilities to provide these services at a moment's notice. The impact of these services cannot be overestimated. If roads are impassable due to ice, snow or fallen branches the community cannot function at the level residents expect. We need to constantly look for new and better ways of providing these services while keeping an eye on the taxpayers? dollars.
In these hard economic times, can you identify some township expenses/programs that could be trimmed or eliminated to reduce the tax burden?
The highway departments budget for 2012 was over 3 million dollars. As things stand today the average citizen can't know where all this money is being spent. Through more transparency, budgets posted on the web site and the public posting of bid out contracts the taxpayers of Bloomingdale Township can see a greater value for their tax dollars.
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?ve lived in Bloomingdale since 1988 so I know firsthand what the issues are that we face today. I'm uniquely qualified because of a well rounded education, Corporate work history and public service. I have a Bachelor's degree, in Organizational Psychology, Sociology and Business Management, from the University Of Dubuque in Iowa. I have a solid background in Human Resources as well as Training and Organizational Development. I have an MBA and MHRM from Keller Graduated School of Management that provide me the tools to deal with any issues that will arise. My time in public service on the board of directors at Family Rescue as well as volunteering with the Mentoring Program at the Position of Pressure Youth Center on the west side of Chicago brought home to me how valuable community service is. Serving on the Bloomingdale Park District since 2010 has shown me the importance of being available and responsible to the people I represent. I will be bring fresh eyes to the highway commission that will seek out inefficiencies, waste, and new green technologies to bring greater value to our taxpayers.
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