Jeanne Kearby: Candidate Profile

Avon Township 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 IssuesQA Bio City: Round LakeWebsite: http://www.avonstrong.orgOffice sought: Avon Township Board (4-year Terms)Age: 58Family: Married, four children, two grandchildrenOccupation: Retired Teacher/AdministratorEducation: Doctor of Education, National-Louis University, 2007 Certificate of Advance Study, National-Louis University, 1994 Master of Arts, Concordia University, 1989 Bachelor of Arts, National-Louis University, 1980Civic involvement: League of Women Voters Lake County Phi Delta Kappa Lake County Women in ActionElected offices held: School Board member Grayslake High School DIstrict 127, 1985-1993Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: NoCandidate's Key Issues Key Issue 1 Providing our Township residence with clear, understandable and timely information consistently throughout the year. Making sure there is plenty of opportunities for input on actions of the Board and easy access to all Avon Township records. This includes opportunities for civic involvement and a voice in planning.Key Issue 2 Expanding Township Service as an avenue for all civic groups and local social services to help each other identify needs and coordinate services. This would mean expanding our communication and forming an avenue for other agencies to talk and plan together.Key Issue 3 Service to the residents of our communities through targeted programing and expanding opportunities to improve the quality of community life.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.The Board must keep costs down. Villages in Avon Township have some of the highest taxing rates and it is the resounding sentiment of citizens. This means focusing on cutting what is not effective and eliminating unnecessary spending. Communication is critical. We need to make sure the residents know what township is doing and ask for their opinions through open and easy, two way communication. That entails being conscientious about getting information to the residents and offering opportunities for their review of items prior to the board voting. I would want to develop two advisory committees. One regarding service, which must include balanced racial and economic representation. A second committee would involve our youth for both services for and involvement in local issues. These advisory committees would be important forums to see what the community needs and address the best ways to get information and opinions from the community. There is no cost for advisory committees except for water or coffee but the information we could gain on what the citizen's want is priceless.In the 21st Century, with municipalities gobbling up vacant land, why are townships needed? Should they be serving a new role? If so, what?Avon should expand their role by joining other agencies serving our citizenry to provide opportunities for growth and development. We need to explore what new skills and information our community needs and then actively pursue building partnerships to meet those needs. We can do this without raising taxes by focusing on community input and prioritizing service. This may include job fairs, expanding community gardening and even joining with the school districts to offer information sessions on supporting academic growth at home. I believe the township is an information conduit to make sure we coordinate services within the township. Other townships have broadened their services while complimenting other services in their townships. This is fiscally beneficial for all agencies by supporting the tenants of mandated search to find those that need the service.What should be the primary responsibility of township government?Statute defines 3 responsibilities. Beyond those, there are two areas I believe Avon Township can and should do a better job. One of them is the quality and variety of services designed to improve the quality of life for all township residents. The second is highlighting the unique features of township government that does not exist in any other local government agency in order to increase citizen participation in township direction and service. This unique and fundamentally aligned grass roots political involvement is the township's annual meeting held in April. At this meeting, the elected officials step aside and a chair is appointed at the meeting. This is the only instance in which the citizens have direct say in how their government is run. This is true democracy in action. No other form of government annually places 37 specific voting powers in the hands of the people. The township must advertise the unique qualities and fundamental responsibilities to the residents.In these hard economic times, can you identify some township expenses/programs that could be trimmed or eliminated to reduce the tax burden?Hard economic times are when township government has the most responsibilities and obligations. When your neighbor can't take care of their home or can't pay the bills, it affects the value of all of our homes. Township is a place to apply for emergency support and services. In order to make sure our focus remains on support to citizens, cost cutting should be focused on tight control of office operating expenditures. We need to review every position that receives a salary or stipend and match performance with outcomes. There should be clear expectations of the time allotted for the jobs to be accomplished and how that time is reflected in salaries or stipends. Township needs to determine the degree of salary and benefits for part-time vs full-time employees.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 background writing and/or supervising the expenditures of state and federal grants and public school funding gives me a sound financial background. I have overseen the entire academic budget as an Executive Director and building allocations as the principal. I have also added additional funding by applying and receiving grants for afterschool programs, preschool programs, Science and Math and Mentoring programs. Once received, any publically funded program must be monitored, aligned with acceptable line item expenditures, and produce a scrutinized final report for auditing. I have managed and developed those accountings. My entire career has been in the public school system and I consider the positions I have held as public service supporting the families and children under my care. During my 35 years in education, I have been a teacher, Assistant Principal, Principal, Curriculum Coordinator, Executive Director of Academic Affairs, school board member, union member and negotiator. I have proven my ability to think outside the box, be a creative problem solver and build strong teams with focus. I have received diverse training through professional organizations, Illinois School Board Association and civic organizations.