Greg Hart: 2022 candidate for DuPage County Board chairman
Office sought: DuPage County Board chairman
Occupation: Management Consultant
Previous offices held: DuPage County Board Member, District 3 (2017-present)
Why are you running for this office, whether for re-election or election for the first time? Is there a particular issue that motivates you?
I am a third generation DuPage County resident. This community is the reason I am who I am today. We have great schools, safe communities, and a well-run government. In many ways, DuPage County is an example of good governance in a state that desperately needs one. However, we will only remain successful as a community with the right leadership. As we come out of the pandemic, it is critical we elect a Chairman who will partner with our Sheriff and State's Attorney to combat rising violent crime, keep our budget balanced and taxes in check, preserve our world class schools, and build innovative solutions to pressing social challenges like substance use and mental health. I have the energy, experience, record of accomplishment, and innovative leadership approach to help DuPage face its toughest challenges in the coming years. I want to do all I can to ensure residents do not need to leave DuPage for opportunity or to pursue their potential -- and that is why I am running for Chairman.
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 job and what would your priority be?
Since my election in 2018, I built an accomplished record leading three important County Board committees. As Technology Chair, I oversaw the largest investment in digitalization in more than forty years with the purchase of a new real estate tax system. As Health & Human Services Chair, I led the response to the Sterigenics crisis and saved taxpayers $1 million annually through the Psychiatric Services division merger. As a Board Member, I supported small business relief programs and added funding to the Sheriff's Department. However, there is no single initiative of which I am prouder than my work as Co-Chair of the Heroin Opioid Prevention and Education (HOPE) Taskforce. During my tenure, HOPE won two national awards from the National Association of Counties. The programs we funded created job opportunities for those in recovery, saved lives through harm reduction programs, and expanded access to treatment and peer counseling.
Describe your position on transparency in the office and the ease of access to records by the public. If you believe improvements are needed, what are they and how would you go about achieving them?
It is one of my core beliefs that officeholders should be fully transparent in everything they do and in how taxpayer money is being spent. When I am Chairman, ethics and transparency will be a top priority. While I believe County staff does their best to make information readily available to the public, we must always strive to improve our processes. As Chairman, I am committed to making DuPage County a national leader in digital government. I believe that any request requiring a taxpayer to interact with a county employee -- whether that be Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests, permitting, licensing, or paying taxes or tickets -- should also be accomplishable online. We can achieve this outcome by deploying new technology and leveraging attrition as a budgeting tool. A digital government provides better transparency, saves money, and of course is a lot more convenient.
How would you manage the overall county budget, particularly as it relates to controlling the expenses of county offices that report to the county board but control their own budgets?
I built my career in the private sector helping some of the largest organizations in the world manage stakeholders, align on priorities, and identify cost savings. I created a record applying these skills in my role as a County Board Member. As Chairman, I will lead in the same way by working with all county offices to achieve a balanced budget, cut waste wherever possible, streamline processes, and strategically align on where short, medium, and long-term investments should be made. I also believe elected officials, particularly the Chairman and county board members, should lead by example. I do not take a government pension and turned down my taxpayer-subsidized health benefits when I was elected. When some of my own colleagues tried to spend tax dollars on frivolous projects like redesigning their own office space, I was the first to speak out against it. I am committed to managing taxpayer dollars in the most efficient and effective way possible.
Describe your leadership style and explain how that will help the entire county board work most effectively and efficiently.
My leadership style is collaborative, principled, and bipartisan. Most of the issues that come before the County Board do not have a partisan predisposition. As the adage says, there is no Republican or Democratic way to pave a pothole. In that spirit, I believe it is my duty to put divisiveness aside and work collaboratively for the good of all DuPage County citizens. During my tenure as a Board Member, I built one of the most bipartisan records of anyone in either party on a variety of issues -- including employee recruitment and retention, the creation of new business enterprise programs, and the revision of our County Board rules. As Chairman, it is my responsibility to set the tone for the County Board. On my first day in office and throughout my term, I will meet individually on a regular basis with every Board Member regardless of party, get to know them personally, and identify ways to build common ground.