Jeff Werfel: Candidate Profile

Lake County board District 6 (Republican)

Updated 9/21/2012 4:37 PM
  • Jeff Werfel, running for Lake County board District 6

    Jeff Werfel, running for Lake County board District 6



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: Grayslake


Office sought: Lake County board District 6

Age: 49

Family: Married 16 years to wife, Jennifer. Two children ? Emily (age 15) & Chase (age 13)

Occupation: Legislative Aide/Community Outreach Manager - Illinois House of Representatives (State Rep. Sandy Cole - 62nd District)

Education: Bachelor of Arts in Government 1984, Georgetown University, Washington, DC Masters in Business Administration (MBA) in Marketing & Strategic Management 1997, Loyola University, Chicago, Illinois

Civic involvement: Conserve Lake County (formerly Liberty Prairie Conservancy) Board Member (2003 - present) Grayslake Chamber of Commerce Grayslake Historical Society Central Lake County Joint Action Water Agency Board of Directors -Alternate Director (2003 - present)

Elected offices held: Grayslake Village Trustee (2003 - present)

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

Candidate's Key Issues

Key Issue 1

Responsibly managing Lake County's budget and finances while continuing to deliver high quality county services. All of us as taxpayers expect government to respect our sacrifice in this extraordinarily difficult economy by managing its fiscal affairs with the same common sense as we do. Therefore, I believe county government needs to be as innovative and cost-effective as possible in the delivery of the services for which it is responsible. This is also true for all other levels of government. As a County Board Member I will focus and work on keeping county government taxes low while maintaining high service levels for our families and businesses. As a Village Board member in Grayslake over the past 9 years, we have been very successful in achieving these ends.

Key Issue 2

The continuing need for more business/commercial development in Lake County to add jobs, improve the overall economy and assist in relieving more of the onerous residential property tax burden on our citizens. Good progress in the County Board District 6 area has been made with the approval and building of significant economic development projects, such as the new Fedex facility and the Cornerstone project by The Alter Group in Grayslake. I am proud of the role I have played in these positive developments, but there is still more that can be done.

Key Issue 3

Continue to improve the county's roads and transportation infrastructure to reduce traffic congestion and encourage business/commercial development. I will support the efforts of the county to improve the roads it is responsible for, as well as all efforts by other levels of government to improve the local roads they are responsible for, such as the recent widening of Route 45 by the state. I support the Route 120 Bypass and the recently adopted recommendations of the Route 53 Blue Ribbon Commission.

Questions & Answers

Now that golf at Fort Sheridan is a dead issue, what types of amenities should be added to the site?

The site possess a fairly unique combination of natural beauty and historical significance that could make it an extraordinary resource for the people of Lake County. I'd like to see the site developed with appropriate amenities that take advantage of this situation. In an appropriately fiscally responsible manner, some of the land could be environmentally restored with trails and other public access enhanced. Additionally, the historical buildings and infrastructure could be showcased and used as an educational and tourism draw into the site and the surrounding area.

What, if any, new ethics-related rules are needed for the county board and county staff?

I support the current County Board's efforts and the recently appointed ethics committees it created. A review of the county's and forest preserve's current ethics ordinances, comparing them against other counties and working on opportunities to clarify and strength them is a good idea. I would suggest that this exercise be conducted on a regular time cycle, such as every 5 to 10 years, going forward. The recently adopted provision excluding county board members from getting involved in county staff hiring decisions, outside of the administrator and department heads that are voted on by the board, is an ethics strengthening I support also. I would support an effort to review county hiring practices that prohibit former elected county officials and relatives/family members from being hired for staff positions for a required period of time.

Government transparency has been an important issue in recent years. Name one thing the county government or forest preserve district should do to improve transparency.

The county has been given several awards from transparency groups for its website's transparency and comprehensive information provision to residents, including being able to easily find their elected and appointed officials, meeting agendas and minutes, county financial documents and expenditures. The Forest Preserve's website is currently lacking in similar accessibility and is now being upgraded to the same level and usefulness as the county website. I support this effort.

Should the forest district use eminent domain to acquire the land needed for the final link in the Des Plaines River Trail? Why or why not? If your answer is no, how should officials go about acquiring that land sooner than later?

I do not support using eminent domain in this situation. It is unnecessary and could be counter-productive in a number of ways to the forest preserve district and its larger mission. I believe the current strategy of negotiating in good faith with the property owner is best. My experience has been that while some negotiations over land purchases and uses of this sort can take quite a long time, as is obviously the case here, it is always best to work with the property owner in this way to get the best final result.

What will be the biggest issue facing the county over the next decade, and how do you propose dealing with it?

I believe the most important issue facing Lake County over the next ten years is its overall economic viability and competitiveness both within Illinois and outside of it, especially given our shared border with the state of Wisconsin. The three campaign issues, and the solutions I support to address them, that I've outlined above are each an integral part of keeping Lake County economically viable and competitive. If these action items are not addressed, the county risks creating a declining and non-competitive county-wide economy which will lead to loss of opportunity and a decrease in quality of life for all of its residents.