Casey Griffin: Candidate Profile

Cook Board of Review 1st District (Democrat)

Updated 2/10/2012 4:11 PM



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: Midlothian


Office sought: Cook Board of Review 1st District

Age: 51

Family: Married with one child and two grandchildren.

Occupation: Deputy Recorder of Deeds with the Cook County Recorder of Deeds Office.

Education: Graduated for Tinley Park High School Attended the University of Nebraska Graduated 4 year apprentice program for International Association of Heat and Frost Insulators

Civic involvement: ? Coordinator, 1996 Atlanta Olympics: helped coordinate all wrestling events. -- Coordinator, 1995 World Wrestling Championships: helped coordinate all wrestling events. -- Wrestling Coach: Homewood Flossmoor High School (1997-98) -- Wrestling and Football Coach: Marian Catholic High School (1982-1996) -- Volunteer Youth Wrestling and Football Coach: Oak Forest Park District Program (1980-1982) -- International Association of Clerks, Recorders, Election Officials and Treasurers (IACREOT) -- National Association of County Recorders, Election Officials, and Clerks (NACRC) -- National Association of Counties (NACO) -- Sister Counties Board Member

Elected offices held: Elected as Bremen Township Highway Commissioner 2005 to 2009

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

Candidate's Key Issues

Key Issue 1

As commissioner, I would seek to implement three reforms:

First, for all commercial properties, I would demand that attorneys a) write extensive briefs that detail the reason for the requested relief and b) submit clear and convincing evidence to support that request.

Without that evidence, I would deny any relief for the commercial property.

Second, I would require each of the hearing officers to thoroughly document the reason for any relief given, including but not limited to, writing out the exact mathematical formula used to give the desired relief.

Finally and most importantly, I would seek to implement a system that would allow the public to see immediately online both the attorney evidence and the hearing officer's conclusions, thereby eliminating the need for FOIA requests and cumbersome review of paper files.

Key Issue 2

I believe that the Board must work to restore the public's confidence in the property tax system.

The first way to accomplish this is to make the Board's process completely transparent.

The essence of the Board of Review is to act as a court-- hearing evidence and making decisions.

Like other courts around the country, the Board of Review should make all of its decisions immediately available online.

Currently, the Board only lists the numeric result of its decision online, but it does not show attorney evidence or the hearing officer's methodology that led to that result.

Key Issue 3

I have the necessary skill set to get the job done. As the Deputy Recorder of Deeds for the Recorder of Deeds, I implemented an online system that allows the public to instantly see recorded documents on any piece of property in Cook County.

As a Board of Review Commissioner, I would institute a similar system that would allow people to see not only the result of an analyst's decision, but also the methodology used for the decision and the evidence that supported it.

Questions & Answers

What changes would you propose in the operation of the Board of Review? Why?

See my 3 campaign issues above.

What measures can be taken to trim the influence of firms filing appeals with connections to political figures'

I do believe that there is a perception that commercial properties and their politically connected attorneys have been given unwarranted relief at the expense of homeowners.

Again, I am not an incumbent and cannot state as to whether that perception is a reality, but I can say that as a newly elected commissioner, I will do everything I can to eliminate that perception.

I believe that the reforms I outlined above, including immediate access to evidence filed and attorney notes, will go a long way toward ensuring that commercial properties do not get one penny more in relief than they deserve.

In addition to those reforms, I would do everything in my power to ensure that homeowners understand their appeal rights and receive a full and fair hearing at the Board of Review.

First, I would institute an extensive public relations campaign in association with community groups, homeowners associations and municipalities in my district.

This effort would utilize public access television, town hall meetings, and internet social networking to explain the appeals process and help homeowners file appeals.

Second, I would seek to partner with every park district and public library in the County to make Appeal Forms and uncomplicated instruction booklets available to homeowners.

Finally, I will be a full-time commissioner, with no outside employment, to ensure that I am available when the homeowners need me.

How does the Board of Review effectively balance the financial needs of the county with the requests from taxpayers to lower assessments'

If there is truly a mistake and your assessment is wrong you should get relief. If there is no mistake and your assessment is correct then there is no relief to be had.

What improvements should be made to the office's and the county's ethics rules' What is your view of whether employees should be able to donate to you and others elected? What should the office's policy be on nepotism and why?

I have voluntarily put a cap of $250.00 on donations from attorney's and firms that practice in front of the Board of Review. If elected I will continue with the voluntary cap in hopes that it restores the faith that the citizens of Cook County have in there elected officials.

I will never ask for or accept any donations from a government employee that works for me if I am elected Commissioner. I will follow Cook County Ordinance 2.11 (Employment of Relatives) in regards to nepotism.

Can this office meet budget goals set forth by Cook County President Toni Preckwinkle without compromising services' Is so, how? If not, what alternative do you propose?

Yes and I believe that we must investigate the idea of consolidating some of the functions performed by various government offices.

Currently, the Treasurer, Clerk, Board of Review, and Assessor all have a hand in getting out tax bills.

We must review all of these systems to see if we can streamline the process