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updated: 2/22/2013 6:25 PM

Tom Kaider: Candidate Profile

Palatine Township Highway Commissioner (4-year Term) (Rep)

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  • Tom Kaider, running for Palatine Township Highway Commissioner (4-year Term)

    Tom Kaider, running for Palatine 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: Palatine


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

Age: 36

Family: Candidate did not respond.

Occupation: Property Management: Focused on bidding, budgeting, maintenance, reserve studies, contracts, etc. Work with condo association boards to provide their communities with maximum value-for-the-dollar from their transactions with third party vendors.

Education: ?Bachelor of Science in Business Administration: Roosevelt UniversityBenjamin Franklin Honor Society (4.0 college GPA)

Civic involvement: ?Member, Village of Palatine Zoning Board of Appeals Member, Village of Palatine Crime Free Multi-Housing ProgramMember, Palatine Township Republican OrganizationCook County Deputy Registrar Illinois Notary PublicLifelong Palatine Township ResidentMember, Bridge Youth & Family Services Development CommitteeMember, Palatine JayceesMember, Palatine Lions ClubMember, Cook County Farm BureauVolunteer, Palatine Public LibraryVolunteer, Peer Visitation Program (spinal cord injury patients)Volunteer, WINGSVolunteer, Habitat For HumanityASEP Certified Coach, Illinois High School Association (high school coach)

Elected offices held: President, Baldwin Court Condominium Association Board of Managers

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

Candidate's Key Issues

Key Issue 1

Spend Your Money Efficiently and Responsibly

Key Issue 2

Develop a Strategic Plan and Involve Public Input

Key Issue 3

Ensure All Taxpayers Are Benefiting from Township Services

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.

? Spend Your Money Efficiently and Responsibly Develop a Strategic Plan and Involve Public Input Ensure All Taxpayers Are Benefiting from Township Services *Spend Your Money Efficiently and Responsibly: Our goal is to achieve a 5% cut in the budget without diminishing the services we provide to the community. This will be accomplished by being more efficient with your money. We can reduce costs by bringing salaries to par with those of other local municipalities, ensuring tasks like plowing are done more at straight time instead of time and a half, transitioning some management roles to salary to avoid overtime, and ensuring retirement benefits are given only to those who work full time jobs. We must also ensure that expenditures are made only on truly worthwhile projects, especially in light of these tough financial times. We will work more closely with area municipalities to combine buying power and reduce costs. Finally, we will explore the potential of public/private partnerships to involve area businesses and organizations in our community projects which will share the cost and reduce overlap. We understand that we are spending your money and every decision we make will be with that fact in mind. *Develop a Strategic Plan and Involve Public Input: We must have a vision for the future and a plan for how to get there, two things that do not currently exist. We will collect your input through public events, direct conversations, polling, and other means. Armed with this information, we will develop and publicize a plan that will show how your money will be spent and what we will accomplish as your township representatives. This will make us accountable to you and will give you a clearer picture of what the Township does with your tax dollars. This plan will include a capital improvement fund so we can earmark funds for the many infrastructure improvements that will be necessary in the coming years. It will also include commonsense reforms to township government, including term limits and checks and balances for all elected officials to ensure oversight of how your money is spent. Never again will we do something simply becauseit's the way we?ve always done it.? *Ensure All Taxpayers Are Benefiting from Township Services: Unfortunately, many township residents are paying for township government yet receiving very little for their tax dollars. We must do a better job with the services that we offer. First, we need to broaden those services to include more people rather than narrowing the services and providing higher expense benefits to only a few. Second, we must do a better job at screening to ensure benefits are going only to truly needy citizens, and we must work more closely with other organizations within the township to be sure we are not duplicating efforts. Third, we must look at our current services to ensure they are sustainable, especially the senior bus program where we need to reduce the average cost per ride by either increasing ridership or reducing expenses or else fares will go up for riders. And fourth, we must look at additional services we can offer via public/private partnerships that come at little to no cost to taxpayers, including a summer tutor program for township high school students to fulfill their service hours and a 6 week working program for high school kids where they can learn life and job skills from some of our experienced residents.

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

Providing value-for-the-taxpayer-dollar is the most important issue. I also know that there are vital services that the Township provides, and our mission needs to be to provide those services as efficiently and effectively as possible. If at some point in the future, a different level of government if able to provide those services at less cost to the taxpayers, then I would be happy to step down. I am running for Highway Commissioner to serve my fellow Township residents; not for money or for a title. I will NOT be taking the taxpayer-funded pension. Our entire slate has agreed not to accept that pension. This elected position does not require the 20+ our work week needed to justify taking the pension money. So, that would be a major change from the current reality.

What should be the primary responsibility of township government?

To provide assistance for those in need and our seniors and to govern the unincorporated areas. So, from my perspective, it would be to maintain the roadways, but from a broader perspective, we must also make sure that residents receive accurate property assessments, etc. Our slate is committed to working more closely with area civic organizations and businesses to provide these services more efficiently and effectively. We are a great TEAM. When we are elected as a team, then we will function at a very high level.

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

? Restructure staff schedules to ensure snow plowing is done at straight time instead of time and a half (as much as possible). Reduce or freeze salaries so they are more comparable with those in other local municipalities. Spend money more wisely by focusing on priority projects. Just because we have the money doesn't mean we must spend it? that money should be saved to cover future emergency expenses. Properly reflect the Superintendent's responsibilities and duties as a management employee exempt from overtime pay. I will accomplish my responsibilities in less than 20 hours a week to avoid IMRF and save the taxpayers money, or decline IMRF outright no matter what. Develop and publicize a short-term and long-term plan for the department. Freeze the levy until increases are properly justified. The levy has been increased every year but this year (an election year), accumulating nearly two and a half times the annual expenses. Welcome a check and balance system within Township Government to ensure the proper oversight of the department and the proper use of taxpayer funds. Welcome term limits.

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

Firstly, as a TEAM, this slate is absolutely the best choice for the Township. We have a very good mix of experience, knowledge, passion, and honesty. We are all very qualified for this civic duty and we will be honored to do a great job for our fellow Township residents. Regarding me, specifically, Early Highway Construction Experience - Marking Specialists, Corp.: I worked as a laborer for many years for one of the largest highway maintenance contractors in the state, learning the process of road maintenance and construction; how to work as a team, be efficient, the dynamics of construction crew, install safety cones, perform proper traffic control to move vehicles around a job-site (certified in this), work with foreman and municipal engineers, understand the concept of overtime and prevailing wage, understand the dynamics of a union, understand travel and other project expenses, etc. Ownership Experience - Pride Pavement Striping, Inc.: I owned and operated this profitable road maintenance company: learned how to read plans, create requests for proposals for subcontractors, layout lines on new asphalt, crack-filling, seal-coating, pavement markings, traffic sign installation, snow removal, contract negotiation, procure proper insurance, budgeting, municipal filings, sealed-bid process, etc. Among many important roadway projects all throughout Cook County, my company also marked the asphalt and installed parking signs at the Harper College addition parking lot when it was brand new. Of particular note, while operating this company, I was a proud member of the Illinois Department of Transportation DBE program, working hand-in-hand with County-wide officials and serving on multiple panels regarding how the State of IL could best refine its road construction contracts/bidding processes I was then recruited by COUNTRY? Financial, a Fortune 1000 company and served as a Financial Representative after earning a Series 6/63 license (to sell mutual funds and variable annuities) and Insurance Producer License in Illinois and Wisconsin. My team and I worked with clients throughout the Northwest Suburbs to help them build financial security for their families and businesses. Currently - Property Management: Focused on bidding, budgeting, maintenance, reserve studies, contracts, etc. I work with condo association boards to provide their communities with maximum value-for-the-dollar from their transactions with third party vendors. I utilize online bookkeeping software to provide 24/7 access to the financial records, .pdf images of invoices, etc., providing total transparency to my clients. I do not currently own or work for any construction companies, and as Township Highway Commissioner, I would not do business with close friends or family members. It is a conflict of interest (and a headache).