Breaking News Bar
updated: 2/22/2013 6:27 PM

Michael Bickham: Candidate Profile

Hoffman Estates Park Board (4-year Terms)

Success - Article sent! close
  • Michael Bickham, running for Hoffman Estates Park Board (4-year Terms)

    Michael Bickham, running for Hoffman Estates 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.

Jump to:

BioKey IssuesQ&A



City: Hoffman Estates

Website: Candidate did not respond.

Office sought: Hoffman Estates Park Board (4-year Terms)

Age: 41

Family: Married with 2 children.

Occupation: Relationship/Vendor Contract Manager

Education: Bachelor of Arts Degree in Political Science, Indiana University, 1993

Civic involvement: Hoffman Estates Park Board Commissioner, 2011 - Present, Village of Hoffman Estates Youth Commission, 2003-2004 Juvenille Diabetes Research Foundation (J.D.R.F.) Ron Santo Walk to Cure Diabetes Participant, 2008 - Present

Elected offices held: Commissioner, Hoffman Estates Park District, 2010 - Present

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

Candidate's Key Issues

Key Issue 1

We need to maintain a fiscally responsible and sound Park District. Ensuring financial sustainability is one of the key goals being met and one I want to ensure continues to be achieved. Given the current situation of unfunded liabilities impacting the State and many local governmental agencies, it is critical that this remain a top priority. We should also seek additional revenue potential that benefits residents as a whole by helping to reduce the overall cost of services.

Key Issue 2

Expand existing and develop new partnerships with businesses and governmental agencies. The focus should be to leverage what H.E.P.D. already does well (i.e., developing relationships and drafting intergovernmental agreements that best serve resident interest) by capitalizing on the resources and tools available throughout Hoffman Estates and surrounding communities.

Key Issue 3

Promoting transparency. The Board and Commissioners are elected by the residents of Hoffman Estates, and as such must be accessible, accountable, and actionable. I pledge to continue working so that opportunities exist for residents to address their concerns and provide feedback. Meet and greet sessions at scheduled events, online website contact access, and initiating board evaluations are just some examples of what I?ve either proposed or would move forward to pursue.

Questions & Answers

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

There fortunately is a solid foundation of successful programs underscoring the district's strong management and execution capabilities. Programs within the early childhood, ice rink, and general leisure groups are realizing favorable revenues vs. expenses, and memberships/passes at the Prairie Stone Fitness and Seascape Aquatic centers have never been higher. While these serve as the model and standard to follow, we also need to review programs experiencing declining membership trends to identify key drivers and action plans for improvement or feasibility. Additionally, we should pursue expansion opportunities with such groups as the 50+ Club which has seen a tremendous upswing and is adapting with a growing senior population (one way is partnering with the Village's Senior Citizen's Commission on joint events to offer more program options). Finally, there should be an ongoing evaluation process for both newer programs (e.g., Lacrosse, Youth Theater) and new program ideas to determine their reach potential and alignment with the interests of residents and surrounding communities.

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

The Park District and Board continually review and weigh the acquisition of additional open space against the interests and needs of residents. A recent example was a joint agreement between the City of Elgin and Streamwood and Hoffman Estates Park Districts to construct the 4+ acre Freedom Run dog park on the west side of Hoffman Estates (which opened in September, 2012). Another recent annexation agreement with a neighboring Park District will allow storm water impact assessments to be performed for properties next to a future planned residential development. As a result, I believe that this is a fluid process to maintain for additional open space opportunities.

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?

A successful start to the recently launched Youth Theater program presents encouraging prospects for its expansion as well as the potential for general arts programming as a whole. Determining the appropriate space needs, seeking top instruction/teaching talent, and understanding the user interest and reach are a couple key next steps and consideration points. User fees should drive the revenue to offset programming costs (since residents at large benefit with a reduction in the cost of services) while existing facilities and potential partnerships/intergovernmental agreements serve as the tools to accommodate space and usage.

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 would support an initiative to evaluate a pooling of resources with other governmental agencies, specifically with a cost/benefit analysis to understand what efficiencies could be met and improved. The unique geography of Hoffman Estates and its distinct north, south, and west sections touches multiple school district, township, and even park district locations, thus requiring a careful review. During my time as both a Community Representative and Commissioner, H.E.P.D. has been a leader in regard to creating efficiencies, advancing green-friendly initiatives, and thinking outside the box. All electronic Board and committee agenda packets and check volumes converted from paper to electronic funds/EFT are just a couple examples, and the success of it is even tracked via rebates generated from those initiatives implemented.

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.

As a board member, I?ve been a strong advocate to help push for updating signs at H.E.P.D. facilities. In partnership with the Village of Hoffman Estates, this was realized in the last quarter of 2012 with passage of an ordinance to build electronic signs. This is a true win-win agreement that will bring a first class upgrade to the facilities and also allow advertising opportunities for H.E.P.D., the Village, and local businesses. Another initiative I pursued was a review of the board's Anti-bullying policy and its practical application since adoption in June of 2012. In addition, I have been a consistent voice for transparency (suggesting meet and greet forums for residents, easy access to Commissioners via the H.E.P.D. website) and incorporating operational improvement efficiencies/best practices coming from my corporate background and experience.