Eleanor Sweet McDonnell: Candidate Profile

Lake County board District 17 (Republican)

  • Eleanor Sweet McDonnell, running for Lake County board District 17

    Eleanor Sweet McDonnell, running for Lake County board District 17

 
Updated 2/13/2018 12:20 PM

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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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BioQ&A

 

Bio

City: North Barrington

Website: http://eleanorsweetmcdonnell.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/execjobsexpert

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/eleanor.sweetmcdonnell

Office sought:

Lake County board District 17

Age: Candidate did not respond.

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Family: Peter McDonnell (husband), Meredith (daughter - student DePaul University - (Creative Writing Major and Drama) and Jonathan (Prairie Middle School)

In business I use my professional name, Eleanor Anne Sweet

Occupation: President/CEO, The Remington Group, LLC , Executive Recruiter - Jobs Expert

Education: Boston College - Bachelor of Science - Marketing, Northwestern University - Kellogg Graduate School of Management, Master's in Management (MBA) - Executive Masters Program - EMP-22

Awards:

2015 Influential Women in Business (The Business Ledger - Daily Herald)

2014 Women of Distinction - Lake County (Shaw Media)

2014 ATHENA International Leadership Award - Nominee

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Author of 8 books on subject of how to get a job.

Civic involvement: American Cancer Society - Relay for Life of Barrington (8 years Ð Current)

Barrington High School - Incubator Program (3 years - Current

Barrington Regional Hurricane Relief (Current)

St. Anne's Church Ð Children's Evening Religious Classes (10 years)

Barrington Area Professional Women's Association Ð Past President, Past Program Chair, Past Membership Chair (13 years)

Barrington Area Chamber of Commerce

Vernon Hills High School Career Advisory Council - Past Board Member

Elected offices held: Village of North Barrington Ð Fire Commissioner 1993- 1998

Lake County Board Appointed Ð Lake Zurich Rural Fire District Trustee 1994 Ð 1998

Village of North Barrington Ð Plan Commission Member 2002- 2005

Questions & Answers

If you are an incumbent, describe your main contributions. Tell us of any important initiatives you've led. If you are a challenger, what would you bring to the board and what would your priority be?

I would bring my 30 years as a nationally recognized jobs creation expert to work bringing more jobs to Lake County in addition to bringing more unemployed residents back into the labor force.

First, we need to recruit more companies to relocate to Lake County. Then we need to recruit more companies to expand INTO Lake County and finally encourage our existing Lake County companies to expand their existing businesses within Lake County.

Some of the Lake County companies I have talked to are experiencing a shortage of skilled labor. They are telling me that there are not enough skilled people for them to interview for some of their hiring needs.

How do we solve this problem? We increase the skilled labor force in Lake County for our employers. One way is to create a special skill concentration certification program at CLC to help women re-enter the workforce, help those with particular skill gaps and those that need to update/refresh their current skills. The College of Lake County's Workforce & Development Institute confirms that this option is currently not available to the residents. With this type of certification program, the job seekers will have stronger resumes and marketable skills that match local labor needsÑmaking them professionally stronger in competing in the labor market to gain employment.

In addition, we should offer a tax credit to Lake County companies that hire people over 50 years old. These are just some of the solutions I am pursuing.

Regardless of whether this is a current problem, what can the board do to reduce harassment, especially sexual harassment against women, in the county or forest district offices? If there have been complaints of harassment, have they been investigated properly? Are new policies needed?

Never before in our collective social history has there been a public mandate on abuse and harassment like the one in our national dialogue today. This is an ideal time to review existing policies, talk openly with County personnel to gather facts and feedback about the existing culture, and lead from there with policies that work to define and correct inappropriate behaviors through mandated training and accountability. It is important to provide a safe and responsive reporting system for personnel who believe they are being sexually or otherwise harassed. They must know that they will be heard and that appropriate measures will be taken. Employee policies must be clear, enforceable, and then enforced.

I am pleased to share that the Lake County Board passed a resolution on January 16, 2018 amending the Lake County Policy and Procedure 2.4 Harassment to comply with the newly appointed state resolutions regarding sexual harassment. How wonderful to see our Lake County Board proactive on such a timely issue. They are condemning sexual harassment related to unwelcome sexual conduct by co-workers because of their genders, either verbal, non-verbal, visual, physical, and textual/electronic. They are encouraging all elective officials and board members to take the same training as the employees and supervisors.

Ongoing training is important. Just to have one awareness and training session does no bring about long-term improvement or cultural change. Consistent, long-term training commitment is needed. All employees need to understand that they are protected on this issue. Quarterly training should be considered.

The county board sets salaries for its members, as well as the countywide elected officials. Do you believe these various salaries are at the right level now? Are raises or pay cuts needed?

As a national recognized hiring expert, I have spent 30 years being charged with advising my clients on what the correct Òfair marketÓ compensation should be for their employees. I would preface my comments by saying that I assume that there has been a compensation study done by Lake County regarding the Òfair marketÓ compensation relative to similar positions in the adjacent counties in Illinois.

Based on what I have studied regarding this issue, I believe at this time that the compensations seem to be fair and the raises appropriate. It is important that we have high caliber people working on behalf of our residents to insure than the highest level of service and support. To retain this level of excellent support you need to have competitive government compensation, or you will lose these great County employees.

I have studied the last compensations approved by the Lake County Board members for members and countywide elected officials on April 27, 2016. The salary compensations of the Board Chair, Board members in the 4-2-4 and 4-4-2-year terms, Recorder of Deeds, Circuit Court Clerk, and Coroner positions match the duties and responsibilities that I understand currently. I am also in the agreement with the raise schedules.

I find the compensation to be fair based on the information I have seen.

I look forward to the prospect of being elected and having the ability to fully access the entire compensation packages, including additional benefits and pensions, in the future.

The forest district still has a lot of undeveloped preserves. Name one such preserve you'd like to see get amenities, and tell me what you'd like to see built there.

Relative to Lake County District 17, I support the vision of Lake County Forest Preserve District Director of Natural Resources Jim Anderson to see the master plan process for Lakewood Forest Preserve completed. This is a wonderful large piece of land in District 17 that includes the Wauconda Bog, and Brobery MarshÑa high-quality wetland bird breeding area. They are in the process of making some changes that will save the taxpayers money and better serve the residents needs at Lakewood.

They are moving the Lakewood Museum to Libertyville where it will be more cost effective to maintain it properly for the residents. The other area that would be great to help would be the Hurd property, a 110-acre expansion of Grassy Lake Preserve. That will eventually need to have a building for gatherings and inclement weather.

We need to keep a strong commitment to properly conduct habitat restoration in all the preserves. This should involve continuing to address invasive vegetation by taking it out, controlling the overgrowth, and re-introducing natural species of trees and shrubs. Ideally it would be nice to correct any hydrology issues. After this has been addressed, then we need to look at habitat management and neighboring buffer areas.

This needs to be part of the legacy for our children and the future generations.

I promise to protect our legacy of the quality of our natural resources including open spaces for natural flora and fauna, our air and water quality and considering our existing ecological systems.

What is your position on government consolidation? Are there areas of government in Lake County that strike you as prime candidates for such consideration?

Lake County is not receiving all its funds from Springfield. As a result, it needs to evaluate how to work efficiently and remain financially sound on behalf of the residents.

Areas that strike me as feasible for consolidation are the Sanitary Districts, Fire Protection Districts, 911 dispatch services, Accessors offices, and Drainage Districts.

I agree with considering consolidation for the 911 dispatch services. This will create savings for the county, but most important, create a faster and more efficient system for the resident needing 911 assistance. I learned when I was Lake Zurich Rural Fire District Trustee how critical the 911 dispatch services were for residents' health and safety.

When considering any consolidation, the County should weigh what is effective, and efficient for the residents. Then evaluate what are the overall cost savings. True studies with accurate information should be done. There could be cost savings, but this must also be weighed against the level of quality county services that the public is accustomed to and wants to pay for.

I am of the belief that the Accessors offices need to be closer to the people they serve. By being closer to the residents they serve, the quality and accuracy of the assessments should be stronger by having an accessor close to the taxpayers they serve, which also makes it easier to hold them accountable on how well they are truly serving the needs of local residents. It is an elected position. The residents vote for what they want.

What other issues, if any, are important to you as a candidate for this office?

In addition to revitalizing the existing economic base within Lake County, bringing new businesses to Lake County, and working with the College of Lake County to expand the skilled labor force of Lake County, I believe respecting the taxpayers of this County is crucial.

For over 30 years as a Lake County resident and business owner, I have been fiscally conservative and will approach the spending in Waukegan in the same manner. My fiscal responsibility is to the residents of Lake County Ð District 17.

I will be focused on eliminating government waste and all excess spending. I will monitor all future expenditures to be in the best interest of Lake County residents.

Another issue I am passionate about is helping residents with mental health challenges and addictions. (opioids, alcohol, and street drugs) We need to reach out to those struggling with these health issues, assess the needs, and look to create sustainable solutions.

I am committed to always keeping the resident's health, safety, and well being in mind at all times while championing tirelessly on your behalf in Waukegan.

I look forward to serving you on the Lake County Board - District 17 creating jobs, championing for the residents' health, protecting open spaces and being accountable to you the tax payer.

Please name one current leader who most inspires you.

Nikki Haley, current U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, past Governor of South Carolina. inspires me the most and in many ways.

What is the biggest lesson you learned at home growing up?

You are responsible for your own path in life. You can achieve whatever you set your mind do.

If life gave you one do-over, what would you spend it on?

I wish I had lived closer to my parents after college.

What was your favorite subject in school and how did it help you in later life?

Cost Accounting in graduate school. It gave me a stronger financial understanding of business that I use every day.

If you could give your children only one piece of advice, what would it be?

Follow your heart and make a difference in others' lives and the world. Leave the world a better place.