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.
Office sought: Naperville Township Board (4-year Terms)
Family: Married to wife Carol, three children, and six grandchildren
Occupation: Retired insurance agency owner; working part-time as an independent employee benefits consultant
Education: Associate of Arts, Wilson College, 1962 Bachelor of Science in Business Education, Chicago State University, 1966
Civic involvement: Current: DuPage AME Church Past Chairman, National African American Insurance Association Accepted Fellow, Claims & Litigation Management Alliance Lifetime member, DuPage County NAACP Past Involvement: Reach Ministries Food Pantry Supporter DuPage AME Church Boy Scout Troop #263 Supporter Allstate Foundation Regional Grant Committee Chicago State University Alumni Board DuPage County Adult Probation Dept., 2000 volunteered hours Member of Wheaton North High School Diversity Task Force Trustee, Grace Calvary Methodist Church Past President, Allstate African American Agents Alliance Demicco Youth Center Board of Directors
Elected offices held: None
Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: No
Key Issue 1
Accountability, in my opinion, should always be the priority. Taxpayers have become disillusioned with glossy campaign promises that seem to fade immediately after the election and surprisingly resurface shortly before the next election. The elected officials of Naperville Township accept the responsibilities of their respective offices; and they must also accept the accountability for achieving the promised results.
Key Issue 2
Communications, also surfaces as a key issue. Many taxpayers have not received the full benefit of their tax dollars because they have not been made aware of the ancillary services offered in the township. Our residents need to fully understand the resources tools and support programs that are available through the township office. Our established programs for General Assistance and Senior Citizen Support have been under-utilized, because of communication disconnects. In this age of digital media, there is no excuse for outdated and incomplete website information, as well as very infrequent newsletters (which are high on self-promotion and low on useful information and facts).
Key Issue 3
The lack of transparency in township operations is another area that must be addressed. We must develop processes that are simplified, and most importantly, readily available for review. Many township actions are either not shared in a timely manner, or they are provided through indecipherable jargon. A recent example occurred when a sitting Naperville Township Trustee was forced to FOIA the records from the department of a fellow elected township official in order to get the requested information. If standards of full disclosure and transparency are not maintained, then our officials can often avoid accountability for their actions.
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.The board should reach out to our border townships to determine the feasibility of developing joint venture programs that will serve to collectively increase our ability to provide quality service for all taxpayers. 2.The board must develop programs that will fully empower and engage the residents in the township operations. We must implement programs such as Citizen Advisory Groups and off-site town hall meetings that will allow more involvement and input from our residents. It is time for the board to do morelistening? so that their actions will truly reflect the best interests of our residents. 3.The board needs to identify and implement some basic best practices that will allow our township to operate more efficiently. Presently, the board has failed to maintain minimum standards in some basic areas of time and expense management resulting in waste and outspoken criticism.
In the 21st Century, with municipalities gobbling up vacant land, why are townships needed? Should they be serving a new role? If so, what?
Townships remain a needed government function because they remain the government entity that is closest to the residents. A well-functioning township that maintains a strong connection to the pulse of the community has been shown to have the least expensive per capita costs. Municipalities have gobbled up a lot of vacant land, but they have not assumed the other accompanying township responsibilities such as Senior Support, General Assistance, Emergency Assistance, property assessments, etc. It is important to be proactive and exercise forward thinking about the emerging role of township government. Townships may lose land when annexations occur, but they do not lose the responsibility of being the stewards of the overall quality of life and providers of necessary services of its residents. It is in these areas that our townships must increase their strides to move into the 21st Century.
What should be the primary responsibility of township government?
The township has statutory mandates, but it is an "implied" mandate that, in my opinion, is also important. Township government is the entity that is closest to the taxpayers. I believe this creates an implied mandate that the township officials will represent the pulse of our community. To do this requires that elected township officials listen, care, and understand the community's needs. Township officials must be strong advocates for preserving the quality of life of our residents. Township officials must insure that each taxpayer receives full value for their tax dollars in the form of quality service to each resident.
In these hard economic times, can you identify some township expenses/programs that could be trimmed or eliminated to reduce the tax burden?
We would hope to create opportunities to reallocate resources to maximize the overall efforts of the township. However, the current budget information is so indecipherable that I hesitate to address specific areas. It is evident that some programs have shown a lack of utilization, but the problem appears on the surface to have been caused by lack of communication and inadequate implementation. In an effort to identify waste within the budget, I will make a diligent review of current programs to insure that residents receive full value for their tax dollars. Additionally, I consider it important to gather input from our proposed Citizens Advisory Groups and conduct surveys of our residents. We have an obligation to make the most efficient use of tax dollars, but I will not advocate for the elimination of an underused program that is needed but has failed because it was not properly implemented and communicated to the public. We should review areas of concern that may be reflected therein to determine the cause of underperformance and possible corrective actions. I will work with the Township Assessor, Highway Commissioner, Township Clerk, and fellow Trustees to review each area of the budget. We need to perform our due diligence, and only upon having gathered sufficient background information can we make informed decisions to trim or eliminate. My goal will be to insure we are maximizing the use of our tax dollars and eliminating waste so that our constituents can reap the full benefit of their township resources.
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 work background covers over 40 years experience in the private sector where I served in positions ranging from entrepreneur, industry consultant, and company CEO. I established a reputation for consistently exceeding expectations. I also served for over 15 years in executive positions within the nonprofit sector including Chairman of the Board. These positions required that I be involved with the budgeting process, and I gained valuable experience in the development, review, and auditing of budget items. Additionally, I maintained professional licenses at the state and federal level which required that at all times I would maintain a high level of ethical standards including full disclosure and decisions based on the best interest of the client. The business acumen and skills sets developed during my career are homogenous and transferable to the position of Trustee. The position of Trustee would allow me the opportunity to share the knowledge attained in the performance of my duties in the private and non profit sectors. My career provided me the opportunity to interact with people from all walks of life and allowed to develop a deeper appreciation and better understanding of the atypical challenges faced by many in our community. My past experiences make me a good match for the position of Trustee, and I possess the commitment and desire to serve in this role. The current township operations appear to lack internal expense tracking controls and other evaluation metrics, and I can offer guidance in these areas. I have found that people perform tasks at a higher level when they enjoy their duties. I would love the opportunity to SERVE Naperville Township.