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updated: 3/8/2013 8:26 AM

Mike MacDonald: Candidate Profile

Wheeling Township Highway Commissioner (4-year Term) (Dem)

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  • Mike MacDonald, running for Wheeling Township Highway Commissioner (4-year Term)

    Mike MacDonald, running for Wheeling Township Highway Commissioner (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: Buffalo Grove


Office sought: Wheeling Township Highway Commissioner (4-year Term)

Age: 56

Family: Candidate did not respond.

Occupation: Candidate did not respond.

Education: BS, Mechanical Engineering Rice University

Civic involvement: Wheeling Township Democratic Organization

Elected offices held: Candidate did not respond.

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

Candidate's Key Issues

Key Issue 1

Develop a responsible plan to transition Highway Commissioner duties to the Township Board

Key Issue 2

Efficient services to Wheeling Township residents (consolidate government functions and eliminate layers of bureaucracy)

Key Issue 3

Improve the transparency of Township government (current Highway Commissioner has had blank webpages for quite some time)

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.

Goal #1 is to plan ahead for the possible consolidation of the Township Highway Commission. To do this a responsible plan will need to be put in place to transition the duties of the elected Highway Commissioner to the Township Board which state law allows Wheeling Township to do. In other words, I am running for election in anticipation that the elected position for which I'm running will eventually disappear. Since Wheeling Township only has 5 1/2 miles of road it barely qualifies to have a Highway Commission in the first place. Eliminating the Highway Commissioner position will help consolidate local government. Goal #2 is to make sure all services that the Township provides are as efficient as possible. That includes cutting unnecessary spending. The intergovernmental agreements that the Township Highway Commission has with the village of Northbrook and with Northfield Township should be reviewed with a fresh perspective to seek areas where costs could be reduced. Goal #3 is improving Township government transparency. The Highway Commissioner's webpages for current projects, maps and more just say "Coming Soon." Residents deserve elected officials that will look out for them as priority #1.

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

The main focus of Wheeling Township should be on providing good services to residents who need them -- services that are not offered by any other government bodies in the area. Any unincorporated areas that can be annexed by a neighboring village should be annexed in order to consolidate government functions Residents of existing villages already pay for their own roads through village taxes. They shouldn't have to also pay for unincorporated roads.

What should be the primary responsibility of township government?

The main focus of Wheeling Township should be on providing services to residents who need them. - Maintenance of unincorporated roads that are not maintained by any other entities - Helping people who are out of work find jobs and making sure local businesses can find resources with a Township Economic Council - Being as efficient as possible with services like the food pantry to focus resources on those in need instead of administrative expenses - Bringing a fresh perspective to the Township to make sure needs-based services are maximized and costs are accounted for and reduced or eliminated when possible - Running great programs and services for veterans and seniors

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

Eliminate the Township Highway Commission and elected Highway Commissioner position. Review the existing road-related tasks and work out a rational plan to transfer the Highway Commission to the Township Board. This may not result in immediate savings but will help consolidate government layers for the long-term benefit of the taxpayers. Look into things the incumbents might be overlooking. For example, the incumbent Highway Commissioner has routinely renewed snow plowing contracts. Could better services or prices be available if these were put out to competitive bids?

What specific background or experience do you bring that makes you the best qualified candidate to serve as an elected official in the township?

My approach to greater efficiency in government and maximizing resources fit with the voters in Wheeling Township. My engineering, scientific and business background has prepared me well for successfully dealing with not just the every-day issues of the Township's 5 1/2 miles of road but also the task of preparing the Township for the time when the Highway Commissioner position should be eliminated. Once elected, I will begin developing responsible transition plans so that the Township Board can successfully supervise those few roads should a future referendum or annexations require it. I ask for your vote as Highway Commissioner in order to work toward eliminating that same position and consolidate local government functions by getting rid of a layer of bureaucracy.