Franklin Ramirez: Candidate Profile
Elgin Township Supervisor
Back to Elgin Township Supervisor
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.
Family: Candidate did not respond.
Occupation: Community Engagement with Open Door Health Center of Illinois
Education: M.A. in Organizational Leadership (Judson University); B.B.A. in Human Resources Management (Loyola University Chicago)
Civic involvement: Numerous Boards, Commissions and Task Forces for the past 20 years. Elgin Area Leadership Academy (2016-2017).
Elected offices held: Candidate did not respond.
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.
Transparency "“ The Township has not had a newsletter in over 16 years. Township meetings are not recorded (audio or visual) for members of the community to watch or refer to at a later time "“ other communities and government agencies are posting their meetings on YouTube instead of broadcasting over public television. The Township does not have email; they currently use their personal email addresses to communicate with each other "“ this can become a FOIA issue for the Township.
Outreach "“ While talking to the residents of Elgin Township, it has become clear that many residents do not know 1) that township government exists, 2) the role of township government and 3) who currently serves on township government. A few residents believe that township government serves only the unincorporated areas "“ a statement not too far from the truth. Township government needs to serve ALL of Elgin Township and currently they do not "“ or at least, they can do a better job.
Redefining their role within the community "“ 30% of the Town budget actually has the potential to help the residents of the Township "“ however a good portion of that money will not be spent. The rest of the money is budgeted for personnel and contractual services (postage, public relations, travel, etc.). I am not here to have Elgin Township guarantee my future but instead for me to guarantee the township's future.
What should be the primary responsibility of township government?
The law is clear as to what Township government is responsible for - assessing the value of property, maintaining unincorporated roads and providing general assistance to the disadvantaged. Because the Township does not have the demand for General Assistance as it once did, Elgin Township has been providing social service funding (41% of the Town budget) to various agencies that apply for grant funding "“ a 31% increase from the previous year's social service funding.
Currently the Township does not offer any programs (with the exception of the Prescription Drug Assistance Program [14 participants]) but instead distributes taxpayer dollars to other agencies on behalf of the residents of Elgin Township.
The primary responsibility should be to design and administer services, grants and establish partnerships that benefit senior citizens, at-risk youth and financially challenged community members. If elected, I would create the township committee on youth and a township committee on seniors to find out the needs of local youth and seniors "“ just one example of how I would like to see Township government involve more community members.
One example where I can see Township government making a huge impact for the entire community is by partnering with the City of Elgin Peer Jury "“ a program that offers a confidential, meaningful and remedial approach to processing juvenile offenders under the age of 17 without going through the juvenile court system.
In the 21st Century, with municipalities gobbling up vacant land, why are townships needed? Should they be serving a new role? If so, what?
Elgin and South Elgin have not been buying "“ or annexing "“ unincorporated areas of the Township at a rate that would make Elgin Township non-effective. There are a great number of unincorporated residents that depend on the Township for garbage pick-up, snow removal and road maintenance (elected Highway Commissioner is responsible for all road decisions while the Supervisor acts as Treasurer for the Road District).
As for serving a new role, I think that Elgin Township needs to recognize and serve the entire Township "“ something that needs to be discussed at a community level with town hall meetings and community participation. At the last annual meeting of the township I was one of the few audience members "“ the others were spouses of elected officials. The Township needs to actively engage residents; they take property taxes from the entire township and service a relatively small percentage.
Are there any township offices that should be eliminated or consolidated?
The Township has five elected offices "“ Supervisor, Assessor, Highway Commissioner and (4) Trustees.
Elgin Township should explore intergovernmental agreements with the City of Elgin and Kane County to provide snow removal and road maintenance. Currently the Road budget is $1,368,191.00 "“ does not include salaries. The Road District carried over almost 30% into the 2016-2017 budget "¦
Wheeling Township voters approved a referendum to abolish the Road District and have it consolidated with the township (the Township is broken into two parts "“ Road and Town) "“ a similar referendum is on the April 4th ballot in Hanover Park Township.
Can you identify some township expenses/programs that could be trimmed or eliminated to reduce the tax burden?
Again, currently 30% of the Town budget is budgeted to help non-profits/residents"“ the rest make up personnel and contractual costs. Without knowing how each line item is being spent "¦ I can only speculate as to why the Township spends $83,000 on Maintenance Service Grounds & Equipment; $12,200 on Publishing/Printing/Public Relations; $10,000 on Travel Expenses; $16,100 on Telephones
Less than 1% is spent on seniors and only 3% is spent on youth grants. Almost 50% make up salaries, free healthcare and social security & pension payments.
What other issues, if any, are important to you as a candidate for this office?
I am supportive of the Elgin Township spring referendum that seeks funding for elderly services (again, the Township only budgets 0.8% for seniors). I am just worried that the $420,000 that will be raised from that tax increase will be dispersed just like the youth and social service agency grants "“ emotionally. There is no clear formula that the Township uses to award grants.
In conclusion, I have always lived by this quote by Henry Kissinger "“ "The task of the leader is to get his/her people from where they are to where they have not been." I want to take Elgin Township into the future "“ together.
Please name one current leader who most inspires you.
James Franco. He never stops learning (Ph.D. from Yale) and isn't afraid to venture into new things. He doesn't limit his ability.
What is the biggest lesson you learned at home growing up?
You are no better than anyone else and they are no better than you.
If life gave you one do-over, what would you spend it on?
When I was younger, acknowledge that life is too short and live to the fullest everyday.
What was your favorite subject in school and how did it help you in later life?
Government & Constitution. That class taught me that I have to be apart of the process if I want my voice heard.
If you could give your children only one piece of advice, what would it be?
Speak up, no matter how much pressure there is to remain quiet.