Diane Blair-Sherlock: Candidate Profile
York Township Board (4-year Terms) (D)
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: villa park
Office sought: York Township Board (4-year Terms)
Age: Candidate did not respond.
Family: Husband; Brian, Children; Shannon and Matthew
Occupation: Self Employed Attorney
Education: Associates from College of Dupage, BA from Northern Illinois University, JD from John Marshall Law School
Civic involvement: Board of Directors Outreach Board, St. Paul Christian Day Care Center 2002-2005, President's Commission on Budget, Village of Villa Park, 2005, Youth Education Commission, St. Paul Lutheran Church 2008-2011, Villa Park Community Pride Commission, 2006-Present Member Villa Park Chamber of Commerce, 2007-Present Volunteered teaching children to read and type at Ardmore School from appx. 2004-2009
Elected offices held: None
Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: Candidate did not respond.
Key Issue 1
The Township is charged with providing services to Youth, Seniors, low income individuals/families and those with disabilities. I believe that programs currently being offered are insufficient to serve ALL of these groups and the implemetation of additional programs can be done at little or no cost.
Key Issue 2
York Township failed the Illinois Policy Institute's Transparency in Government audit, miserably. The information available to the general public is inadequate and easily remedied and little or no cost. The lack of information readily available on current Township programs leads to their underutilization.
Key Issue 3
There appears to be certain redundancies in programs being offered by the Township and other Governmental entities, these redundancies should be eliminated to reduce costs and ultimately the strain on the taxpayers.
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.
New programs should be created to assist the growing number of Veterans returning home not only to a struggling economy but with the unique issues that they face as a direct result of their service. Programs such as job placement assistance, rehabilitative services, support groups etc. Words hardly seem necessary to express why this is critical. Suffice it to say, we owe it to them. Programs to address the needs of our local youth to assist them in achieving academic excellence. Many youth struggle in their education because they lack the resources necessary to succeed in their academic work. Education is the key to economic advancement. I would like to create tutoring programs that would rely on retired seniors and local area honors students, as well as other willing volunteers from the community to offer free tutoring to local students. A bonus byproduct of a program like this, could be potentially lifting some of the local schools from their current failing status. Additionally, with the staggering number of children on the autism spectrum and the lack of readily available transitional services into adulthood, I would like to look at developing programs that would enable them to develop the necessary life skills to hopefully one day achieve some independence. Transparency in Government. Again, the lack of information available to the general public and the extremely low failing grade given to the Township by the Illinois Policy Institute on Transparency in Goverment leads to a lack of utilization of Township services. It seems to me that transparency is essential to good government. The internet and the media are low or no cost effective tools that could easily address this problem.
In the 21st Century, with municipalities gobbling up vacant land, why are townships needed? Should they be serving a new role? If so, what?
In light of the current budget crisis facing the State of Illinois, many agencies are cutting back or discontinuing services the township does, can or should provide. The township can step in to fill the gaps being created by cutbacks elsewhere. Since townships serve the unincorporated areas, most notably, their infrastructure there will continue to be a need until such areas no longer exist or another level of government assumes that role. It is the State Legislator's role to determine if township government will continue, not the role of those serving the township. Currently, we have a township government that is supposed to provide certain services, as such, it should provide such services in a manner that is efficient and cost effective. In the event that the State Legislature at some time in the future determines to abolish township government, great care will be needed to ensure continuity of the current programs offered and a smooth transition of such services into other governmental entities.
What should be the primary responsibility of township government?
To serve the underserved and to adapt to the changing needs of the community.
In these hard economic times, can you identify some township expenses/programs that could be trimmed or eliminated to reduce the tax burden?
One of the largest costs to any business or entity is payroll and personnel. There needs to be a review salaries and whether or not the salaries are justified based on productivity. Further, there needs to be an evaluation of who can more efficiently perform their duties to reduce hours and thus payroll costs. Almost half of the Township's revenue is expended on "Administrative Salaries", so clearly this is an area that needs to be addressed.
What specific background or experience do you bring that makes you the best qualified candidate to serve as an elected official in the township?
I have served on many boards and commissions and have always been an independent voice. My professional background and training give me the ability to be a critical thinker; knowing what questions to ask, how to ask them and when to ask them. I believe that everyone, including the government should live within its means and that you should pay as you go. My personal fiscal philosophy is exactly what is needed at a time where living on credit has not only placed many individuals in financial crisis, but the government as well. I have been an active volunteer in my community and have been actively involved in recruiting other volunteers. To maximize the services offered by the Township without increasing costs, recruitment of volunteers is essential. If I were given the honor of serving the township residents, I assure the voters that I would be doing much more than attending brief monthly meetings. I would be committed to creating and implementing the programs that I think will benefit the community the township is charged with serving.