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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.
City: Elk Grove Village
Website: ElectMichaelUrban2014.com, Facebook.com/ElectMichaelUrban2014
Family: Candidate did not respond.
Occupation: Full-Time campaign for Cook County Board Commissioner 15th District
Education: Elk Grove High School - Class of 2002 William Rainey Harper College - Palatine, IL 2002 to 2005 Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning course certificate ETI - Environmental Technical Institute - Itasca, IL - Class of 2005 Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning EPA License earned
Civic involvement: Founding former Elk Grove Village Youth Commissioner (1997-2002) - Non paid volunteer Eagle Scout - Boy Scouts of America Troop 95 (2002)
Elected offices held: Candidate did not respond.
Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: No
Why are you running for this office, whether for re-election or election for the first time? Is there a particular issue that motivates you? If so, what?
Cook County Jail is operating at full capacity. The cost of housing per inmate at the county jail is $143 per day. Inmates continuously wait longer for trial than actual sentence imposed on them. The county jail has been called "the largest mental health institution in the United States" by County Sheriff Tom Dart. I will propose: Cook County or the State of Illinois treat these inmates for their metal illness issues. I will propose: Reducing cost per inmate by increase use of electronic monitoring. I will propose: Oversight of how long county judges can take to process one case.
If you are an incumbent, describe your main contributions. Tell us of any important initiatives you've led. If you are a challenger, what would you bring to the board and what would your priority be?
The 9.25% Cook County sales tax, currently is the second highest tax rate in the United States. The sales tax needs to be further reduced because people continuously travel to other surrounding counties such as Dupage (7.25%), Will (7.25%-8.75%), Lake (7%-8%) and McHenry (7%) to purchase their goods and services such automobiles and fuel. Reduction in the county sales tax will help in ensuring more people purchase goods and services in Cook County. The Juvenile Detention Center is costing taxpayers millions of dollars due to the Shakman decree. The county needs to end the federal decree and take back control.
Describe your position regarding efforts the county has taken to control spending. How have these measures affected the suburbs, and, in particular, do you support proposals President Preckwinkle has made to eliminate unincorporated areas so they would not be under county control?
Currently, the Health and Hospital Board has the authority to approve and execute their own contracts with no authority coming from the Cook County Board of Commissioners and the President’s office. The county needs to take control of the independent Cook County Health and Hospital System Board to ensure proper spending. Cook County should provide all control and services to the residents of unincorporated. If the nearest town wants to annex the area into their town, there needs to be public hearings for residents to offer feedback and there needs to an acceptable agreement between the town and Cook County.
How do you rate the county government on transparency and the public's access to records? If you consider it adequate, please explain why. If you think improvements are needed, please describe them and why they are important.
Expenditures from special purpose funds exceed $500 million every year and a fiscal year 2013 audit done by McGladrey LLP showed a deficiency in accounting and reporting relative to certain special purpose funds. The audit found that certain special revenue funds that are restricted to a special purpose do not have sufficiently detailed information in each individual fund's general ledger detail supporting expenditures. The County Board has an ethical duty to the county taxpayers to ensure that financial matters are in accordance with best accounting practices and are fiscally responsible. This will ensure special purpose funds transactions are used properly.
What, if anything, should be done to improve automation and customer service in Cook County offices? What steps should be taken to make that happen?
Customer service for taxpayers should be a top priority. Issues and concerns about long waiting lines and unprofessionalism should be handled by the county. There needs to the more hiring of qualified and high quality employees to handle the needs of the taxpayers. Cook County automation services should also be held to the same high standard.
What other issues, if any, are important to you as a candidate for this office?
All vendor service contracts need to be approved by the County Board. The procurement officer has the authority to approve, amend and execute contracts that are less than $150,000. Also, there needs to be more board meetings per month, per year so vendor contracted services don’t expire before the next meeting. Over the last three years, number meetings have been reduced from 22 to 18 to 11. I will propose increasing the number of meetings to 24. Also when I am elected, I will have no conflicts of interest and work full-time as County Commissioner for only you, the taxpayer.
Please name one current leader who most inspires you.
Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and U.S. Senator Al Franken
What's the biggest lesson you learned at home growing up?
To be true to yourself and treat others with respect.
If life gave you one do-over, what would you spend it on?
To go back and tell all my schools' teachers how much positive influence and impact they have had on my life.
What was your favorite subject in school and how did it help you in later life?
Heating, Ventilation & Air Conditioning classes because it led to me earning my HVAC EPA License and start working as an independent technician.
If you could give your children only one piece of advice, what would it be?
Theres always going to be people disagreeing with you. At the same time, be true to yourself and respectful of others.