Michael Harrington: Candidate Profile
Barrington Hills Village Board (4-year Terms) (Independent)
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: Barrington Hills
Website: Candidate did not respond.
Office sought: Barrington Hills Village Board (4-year Terms)
Family: Married, one child
Occupation: President, Oak Ridge Investments
Education: Bachelor of Science, Business Administration, Miami University (Ohio); Masters of Business Administration, Finance, Ohio State University; Completed Executive Education studies at the Wharton School of Business, University of Pennsylvania; Certified Inv
Civic involvement: Member of Planning Commission, Village of Barrington Hills; Trustee, University of Findlay; Advisory Board Member, School of Business, University of Findlay; Youth Football and Basketball Coach.
Elected offices held: Candidate did not respond.
Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: No
Key Issue 1
Preservation of open space and the rural and equine character of the Village of Barrington Hills, consistent with the village's comprehensive plan. Critical to accomplishing this objective is the protection and preservation of the village's five acre zoning.
Key Issue 2
Fiscal responsibility Assuring that the village continues to live within its financial means and that the village's finances remain fiscally sound.
Key Issue 3
Improving communication with Village residents so that residents have a clear and accurate understanding of how the village is being managed. My observation is that there is a great deal of misunderstanding and myth regarding how the village is being run. The best solution is to get the facts out to the public so that they can be fully and accurately informed.
Is the village taking appropriate steps to maintain its uniqueness in the region, or has such uniqueness become too costly to maintain?
The village's uniqueness stems from its open space and horse related activities. These amenities are the reason why current residents choose to live in Barrington Hills rather than the many other options in the Chicago area. So preserving open space and equine activities is critical to assuring that village residents can continue to enjoy living in the village. Preserving the village's uniqueness is also important for preserving property values. Uniqueness supports higher property valuations and protecting the uniqueness of the village is not too costly when the cost is measured in relation to property values and the value that residents place on their desired lifestyles. Also, I believe the current generation of residents has a responsibility to preserve the uniqueness of the village for future generations. Those who came before us protected the uniqueness of the village for our enjoyment and we owe it to future generations to protect it for them. Fundamental to protecting the uniqueness of our village is protecting our five acre minimum zoning. Resourceful and determined developers are highly interested in exploiting the open space and uniqueness of our village and will continue to be aggressive and creative in their tactics. We must aggressively oppose these developers or they will gradually but most assuredly change the character of our village so it is no longer unique and no longer offers the amenities and lifestyle that our residents value highly.
The village has debated various forms of regulation in recent years. Is there a general philosophy on regulation that should be applied toward all present and future concerns?
Generally, I believe we have ample regulations that address most anything and everything; we are not in dire need of more regulations. However, we live in a dynamic and changing world and there is sometimes a need for additional reasonable regulation that provides a practical solution to a legitimate problem. Philosophically, I am in favor of reasonable regulations that protect people's health, welfare, personal safety, civil rights and property rights. I am not in favor of regulations that are repetitive or redundant, that are predominately motivated by political considerations, that are impractical to apply or enforce, that impinge upon reasonable personal property rights, that create undue hardship for honest and well intentioned people, or that are unduly complex and confusing.
What is your position on the horse-boarding controversy? Explain.
Horses and equine activities are an important part of the character and history of Barrington Hills. Many of our residents live in the village because of the equine amenities. Even residents who do not ride enjoy the beauty of the horses they see throughout the village. Horse boarding in the village is completely compatible and consistent with the village's equine character and history. Facilities that care for horses are a valuable service for people who love horseback riding, but who may not have the time or resources to stable and take care of their horses. I do not believe that these facilities are a problem in the village today, nor has it ever been. Any perceived controversy stems from a singular situation involving a long standing and highly vocal dispute between two neighbors. Sufficient regulations are already in place to protect the reasonable interests of these parties. Despite one neighbor's aggressive efforts to dramatize his views and frighten other residents, what remains is a neighbor- to-neighbor issue that is best resolved through face-to-face conversation and mutual respect and compromise. This isolated and emotionally charged dispute between neighbors should not determine policy for the entire village.
In these tight economic times, municipal budgets have to be prioritized. Where, if anywhere, could the current budget be trimmed, and conversely, are there areas the budget does not give enough money to?
I am an advocate for using technology to create efficiencies and lower costs. One idea is to make sure we are doing everything we can to collect resident's email addresses so the village can communicate electronically and reduce the cost of print and postage. Secondly, a potential area of concern is the liability associated with the police defined benefit pension plan. I believe my investment and finance experience will be beneficial to assuring that this plan is properly managed. Two areas of focus are: 1) Review the investment portfolio to assure that the expected returns and risk are appropriate in light of the plan's future liabilities; and 2) Conduct an actuarial review to determine if actuarial assumptions should be revised. Finally, village officials should network with other local governments through associations and roundtables. These interactions help determine best practices and can generate useful ideas for making the local government more efficient.
What's one good idea you have to better the community that no one is talking about yet?
I think we should get more students involved in our local government through a student internship program. We are all interested in making the village a better place for future generations and the student's view point would be valuable. The student's involvement would also provide them with valuable experience on how local government operates and help prepare future leaders. Secondly, I think many of the adults involved in our government, and especially the very small group of individuals who are hyper-critical of local government, might behave more civilly and regain proper perspective if students were part of the conversation.