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updated: 2/22/2013 6:34 PM

Tom Suhrbur: Candidate Profile

Bloomingdale Township Supervisor (4-year Term) (Democrat)

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  • Tom Suhrbur, running for Bloomingdale Township Supervisor (4-year Term)

    Tom Suhrbur, running for Bloomingdale 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: Glen Ellyn

Website: Candidate did not respond.

Office sought: Bloomingdale Township Supervisor (4-year Term)

Age: 66

Family: Married to Barbara for 46 years, three children and five grandchildren

Occupation: I taught social studies for 17 years. My last teaching job was Geneva H.S. I recently retired from the Illinois Education Association after 26 years

Education: Received a BA and MA from the University of Illinois, Chicago and a Certificate of Advanced Studies in labor history from Northern Illinois University.

Civic involvement: I am currently the Vice-President of the Illinois Labor History Society. My wife and I were very active in Queen Bee School District 16 that our children attended. We organized a PTO at Glen Hill School. We were also active in the Concerned Parents of Queen Bee Schools that investigated corruption in the District resulting with a felony conviction and firing of the Superintendent in 1985.

Elected offices held: Candidate did not respond.

Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: Candidate did not respond.

Candidate's Key Issues

Key Issue 1

Reform Township government is long overdue for reform. Township governments were created to provide local government for people living in rural, unincorporated areas. Today, municipal governments (cities, towns and villages) have taken over many of the services once provided by townships in DuPage. According to the U.S. Census, only 8.5% of the Bloomingdale township residents live in unincorporated areas yet everyone pays township taxes and receive very few benefits in return. My highest priority is increased public awareness of Bloomingdale township government. Most residents know very little about township government. Hardly anyone attends the monthly township meetings that usually take 10-20 minutes. The longest meeting that I attended in the last four years was 25 minutes. The township website is totally inadequate. It does not include hiring practices, job vacancies, contract bidding, publication of township committee reports, budgets, annual financial reports, financial disclosures statements of elected officials, and other pertinent information.

Key Issue 2

Abuse of Power Township office holders are grossly overcompensated. The official duties of the Township Trustees are to act on spending proposals at monthly meetings. Trustees spend less than 7 hours annually in these meetings but they are paid $8,040, receive a pension, dental insurance and vision care benefits. By comparison, elected school board officials do not receive any compensation for their efforts yet they typically spend several hours each month in school board meetings. Illinois mandates that officials must work at least 600 hours annually to qualify for a public pension. Trustees do not work anywhere near this amount of time. The Township Supervisor is paid $59,000 in addition to a pension, individual health insurance fully paid by the township, generous dependent coverage, dental insurance and vision care. The supervisor position is a part-time job. If elected supervisor, I will donate 50% of my salary to the township food bank. Moreover, I will not accept a pension, health, dental and vision insurance. I will also work to cut the pay and benefits of the trustees. Money saved from these measures would be used for improvements at the township senior citizens center, the food bank and general assistance.

Key Issue 3

Eliminate waste and inefficiency: The Township should be more efficient in its spending policies. In 2012-13, the Township is projected to spend $3,366,020. The Township Road Commission budgeted $3,678,200. The Road commission is responsible for 52 miles of roads in unincorporated areas of the township. It spends more than $18,000 per road mile above the DuPage township average. The Township should increasingly work for intergovernmental agreements with Carol Stream, Glendale Heights and other municipal governments in the township to expand senior citizen transportation, the food pantry and access for all township residents in unincorporated areas to park districts facilities.

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. Stop the waste: Cut the bloated salaries and benefits of the elected officials. Eliminate secret contract bidding and political cronyism. Money saved by making the Township more efficient should be used to help seniors, our young people, veterans and general assistance. 2. More Services for all residents: Improve road service by incorporating more cost effective and environmentally friendly innovation. Expand public transportation especially for senior citizens. Accountability: Currently the four trustees are elected at-large. I support the creation of single member electoral districts for trustees thereby guaranteeing that all areas of Bloomingdale Township have representation on the Board. Reform will help make Bloomingdale Township more accountable to its citizens. 3. Transparency: Improve public awareness about township government. Most residents know very little about the township even though they are paying it taxes. Bidding on all contracts should be posted on the Township's website. ( The Township's Annual Budget and Annual Financial Report, job openings and other pertinent information should also be on the website.

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

We must look to the future; consider consolidating some of the functions of township government with either municipal or county government. We should take a fresh look at how township government works and eliminate unnecessary spending.

What should be the primary responsibility of township government?

Assessment of local property should remain a major function of township government. Maintenance of roads and providing general assistance to veterans, unemployed workers, and the elderly living in unincorporated areas of the county are still an important.

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

Bloomingdale Township spent over $3.5 million of taxpayers' money this last fiscal year. Elected township officials receive extremely generous salaries and benefits. Township trustees should, at the most, be paid a small stipend for attending meeting and not have a pension and other benefits. Salaries for the Township Clerk and other elected officials need to be based on the amount of time and effort to carry out their duties. There are other ways to save money; for instance, road maintenance could be improved and money saved by incorporating more cost effective and environmentally friendly innovations. Some of the services provided by the township could also be consolidated with either local municipal government or taken over by the county. The money saved could be put to better use helping veterans, seniors, and road maintenance, unemployed and general assistance. We need to reform township government and eliminate political cronyism.

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 taught government classes at Geneva H.S. and worked 26 years for the Illinois Education Association (IEA). I have a very good background in local government finance as a result of my extensive experience in dealing with school district budgets and financial reports. These skills are useful if the township is to rethink its role in light of the increasing urbanization of the county.