William W. Trussell: 2021 candidate for Lisle Village Board
Seven candidates are competing for three, 4-year seats on the Lisle Village Board in the April 6 election. They are incumbent Marie Hasse; and challengers Robert Taylor; Lisle First slate members William Trussell and Dan Grecco; and Be Lisle (Lisle Forward) slate members Thomas Duffy, David Richter and Mary Jo Mullen, Lisle Township supervisor whose term is expiring.
Age on Election Day: 55
Occupation: President, Business Consulting Group for Evolve Group Holdings LLC
Civic involvement: Lisle Planning & Zoning Commissioner (current)
Party slate: Lisle First
Q: How do you view your role in confronting the pandemic: provide leadership even if unpopular, give a voice to constituents -- even ones with whom you disagree, or defer to state and federal authorities?
A: I believe strongly that my role demands that I not only understand concerns of my community but monitor the work product and results of the village staff. My record with the Lisle PZC shows decisions through listening to constituents, obtaining and questioning substance from staff and legal, and understanding my peer's opinions. As a future Lisle trustee, I offer a track record of compassionate concern balanced with strong business acumen to my community, the village staff and my peers.
With over 25 years' experience in executive leadership, to include multiple lines of business in large global enterprise companies, NFL, NBA and cultural venues. I possess vast experience operating over $100 million in budget responsibility, directing operations with over 3,000 employees, directing large teams of managers, human resource professionals, legal teams and accounting experts. Currently I provide multiple entrepreneurial and small business with navigation of state and federal programs during the COVID-19 pandemic and continue to advise small business owners impacted by the state's shutdown policies.
I provide leadership through a focus on best outcomes and safety, not on consumption of popularity. I view disagreement as an opportunity for growth and clarity; disagreement if managed properly is a pathway to successful management.
Q: Did your town continue to adequately serve its constituents during the disruptions caused by the pandemic? If so, please cite an example of how it successfully adjusted to providing services. If not, please cite a specific example of what could have been done better.
A: Given the rapidly changing information at the beginning of the pandemic, and the sometimes-overreaching stance by the state regarding business shut down, the village and its residents maintained a common-sense approach to public safety, business navigation and public service. I applaud the approach taken by the Lisle Police Department and the efforts by our local businesses in their innovative navigation of the confusing directives handed down by the state of Illinois.
I realize in my capacity running as a trustee I have no input on the Lisle Unit Dist. 202 board. However, in answering the question fully regarding my "town" and not limiting my answer to just village hall, I need to state that the same cannot be said of the Lisle CUSD 202.
I, along with my wife, Stephanie, moved to Lisle in 1994 and have seen our four children grow, thrive and graduate from Lisle 202 school district. Now, with our fifth child currently a sophomore at L.S.H.S and as grandparents, we like most residents are looking for leadership to arise from the school board to return to the classroom full time and to issue a tax rebate to residents to reduce the burden of the pandemic on taxpayers.
Q: In light of our experiences with COVID-19, what safeguards/guidelines should you put in place to address any future public health crises?
A: I shaped my career as a STREET and COMMUNITY OUTREACH specialist in Chicago for over 10 years. This role was focused on offering emergency shelter, crisis intervention, gang intervention and accessing emergency services to Chicago's large population of homeless and gang-associated youth.
A lesson learned by me decades ago is that prior to any safeguards or guidelines being instituted, a deep understanding of the potential risk(s) need to be established. During this pandemic we saw a real need for PPE that was vital to protect those most vulnerable against an airborne virus. The next pandemic may or may not be spread in the same way. That stated, the first step is to dissect and learn from our COVID-19 response as a community and determine what safeguards to implement and how the village can better prepare to communicate, disseminate and serve basic family preservation and stabilization during statewide or national emergency.
As a future Lisle trustee, I offer a track record of compassionate concern balanced with strong business acumen to my community along with a deep understanding of family, emergency management and business prosperity.
Q: What cuts can local government make to reduce the burden of the pandemic on taxpayers?
A: Currently Lisle has the lowest village property tax rate in over 10 years. It is important that we the voters elect/re-elect those who advocate for a continued freeze of our property tax levy. Many families have been impacted by job loss, reduced pay/hours and now with a great unknown of fiscal policy by our state and federal elected officials, our attention to our local policy is of great importance.
As the saying goes, "all politics are local." Supporting the continued freeze on village property taxes and support those running for office who bring a track record of fiscal acumen will result in fiscal responsibility and balanced budgets.
Q: What do you see as the most important infrastructure project you must address? Why and how should it be paid for? Conversely, during these uncertain economic times, what infrastructure project can be put on the back burner?
A: Stormwater management is a top concern for Lisle's property values and safety. Our village has experienced an unreliable flood-prevention infrastructure which requires substantial funds to modernize. Prior to our considering generate funding through property related fees, special assessment taxes or other taxpayer-generated funding, we need to embrace the benefit of requiring modernization on new development as much as possible.
As we continue to provide a lower tax environment to our residents and potential new business, we must understand that when new development or redevelopment of a property takes place, the property developer must adhere to strict stormwater control standards thus reducing runoff from hard surfaces like driveways, roofs and parking lots to continue to reduce the threat of reoccurring flooding. Most importantly, working with the county and neighboring municipalities will be important to completely address the issues.
Additionally, as we come out of the negative economic impact from COVID, the Lisle Fuel Island project should be delayed until a proper cost analysis of replacing the old island vs. building a new island can be brought before the board.
Q: Do you agree or disagree with the stance your board/council has taken on permitting recreational marijuana sales in the community? What would you change about that stance if you could?
A: Lisle only allows for Special Use in the I-1 zone for medical. This ensures that public comment, economic value and public safety will be considered by the PZC board prior to any recommendation to the village board.
As a resident running for trustee, my position is that I see no reason, economic or other, to allow recreational marijuana sales in a village the size of Lisle when other larger neighboring municipalities allow the sale. The debate for legalization comes down to two positions: one, some say marijuana is therapeutic, in which case our residents have reasonable access, and the other being the larger allowance of cannabis for recreational, again our residents should they chose to partake have reasonable access without our village opening dispensaries.
Whether voters agree or disagree on the legalization of marijuana, our state has opened the door. I remain convinced that we have enough issues caused by tobacco and alcohol that endorsing the sale of recreational or medical cannabis would be sending out the wrong signal to those looking for a family-friendly community to live, do business and retire in.
Q: What's one good idea you have to better the community that no one is talking about yet?
A: I advocate that Lisle should eliminate the red-light camera program. My rationale for this stance is simple, around 75% of the tickets issued are for minor violations not egregious offense, and the surveillance value is questionable. In many cases, automated ticketing is an unwinnable case. A money grab mentality surrounds the issue as does higher auto insurance and heavy costs should one decide to argue a ticket. Also, lost in the argument is the value of our police departments interaction with the community and those who pass through our community. It is important to note that there is value in stopping a driver for a minor infraction as it can lead to preventing drunken driving, driving under the influence of our state's newly allowed marijuana policy, and even wellness stops preventing medical emergencies.
The revenue paid to the village by the red-light cameras is around $80,000 per year. The budget would need to be discussed and thus the importance of electing fiscally sound leadership who can manage the budgetary transition. I welcome the challenge of putting all of Lisle first and believe that through continued hard work and attention to detail the Lisle First platform team will produce that leadership.