Janice Marie Anderson: Candidate profile
Name: Janice Marie Anderson
Office sought: Member, DuPage County Board, 4-year term -- District 5
Occupation: Executive assistant to CEO at Lextech Global Services
Education: Bachelor's and master's from North Central College
Civic involvement: Naperville Rotary After Dark, Naperville League of Women Voters, Literacy DuPage
Elected offices held: DuPage County Board member since 2016; Naperville Township trustee
Questions & Answers
Q. Why are you running for county board?
I am running for a second term to continue to be a fiscal watchdog for the taxpayers of District 5 and DuPage County. The main role of a county board member is to make certain our budgets are balanced, and we safeguard the public dollar. I was appointed vice chairman of the technology committee and have been actively working to follow through on IT investments for DuPage County.
The only way for the county to meet the needs of the future is with a robust IT system that allows us to improve productivity and expand services without increasing personnel costs.
I have been working with our countywide officials to source a new tax system for the treasurer's office. This is vitally important to the operation of county government and all of our local governments here in DuPage County.
The mission of the county's IT department is to deliver efficient, effective and reliable technology solutions and services in a cost-effective manner to advance the service objectives of our elected officials, county staff and the community. At the same time, we must safeguard the integrity of information critical to the operation of the county and its partners in public service.
Prior to 2010, the county's information systems were antiquated. Since that time, we have replaced the following systems, ERP (Finance & HR/Payroll), probation system, clinical financial system and stormwater permitting, moving applications off the mainframe and replacing the mainframe with an IBM Business Class Server at a significant savings and moving all but one application off the server to either COTS or .Net/SQL server applications. We are progressing on the last system -- the Real Estate & Tax. The system is critical to our operation of the county and taxing bodies within the county. We can find even more savings as we move forward on the 10-year IT Strategic Plan.
Q. Describe two important initiatives you've led.
Reducing the size of government is a keystone to my being in elected office.
I fully support the efforts we have made to consolidate and reduce the size of government. I am also pleased that the county board put this topic on as a referendum item on the ballot in November.
However, we can do more. A few years back as a Naperville Township trustee, I worked with our then-Supervisor Rachel Ossyra and Naperville City Councilman Kevin Coyne along with Mayor Steve Chirico in an effort to reduce the size of our local government -- the Naperville Township Highway District.
We lead by example and continue to find ways to streamline local government. It is my intention to propose a discussion about reducing the size of the county board. As redistricting is right around the corner, perhaps we could look at reducing the size of the board down to 16 or perhaps 14 members with either eight two-member districts or seven two-member districts.
These challenges are why I am running for re-election; because I believe I do, and I will continue, to make a difference. My experience allows me to recognize and solve problems that confront my district and our county. I am an active board member who regularly meets with mayors, city councils, homeowners' groups and businesses in District 5.
Q. Is there a specific service or amenity that is lacking in the county? If so, how do you propose to provide and fund it?
DuPage County is well ahead of most counties with respect to services and amenities that can or should be offered. I believe you do the basics well and efficiently and that is what we do here in DuPage. I believe one service that needs to grow is services to our residents in the mental health area to stem the drug abuse crisis that is affecting all counties.
Q. With DuPage County's budget being squeezed by state funding cuts and other factors, what initiatives would you support to increase revenue and/or save money?
We need to apply the best practices of successful business operations to the operations of government. Joint purchasing and joint contracting are saving industries money.
We need to optimize our use of technology to streamline operations and increase efficiency. At the county level, we need to work cooperatively with our municipalities and other agencies to cut costs and decrease local property taxes. We need to take a look at our assets and resources and determine what is outdated or underutilized. County personnel policies should be updated and consider flextime and remote work to keep costs down at the county buildings.
Q. The county has been focused on consolidation of services and government agencies. How effective has that effort been and how could it be improved?
I believe the ACT initiative has been successful in changing mindsets and believe more opportunities will arise and continue to save money for the taxpayer. In every decision, we need to make sure we are safeguarding the public dollar.
Consolidation, as well as resource sharing that I mentioned above, can help lessen the tax burden on the property owner.
But consolidation has to be more than a buzzword. And it needs to be based on financial fact, not emotion. There must be a demonstrated savings or efficiency and I will advocate for the most detailed financial analyses possible.
The highest mandate of government is to protect our citizens' public health and safety. Consolidation must always take that into consideration and cannot jeopardize public safety.
Q. What is the single most important issue facing your district and how should the county address it?
An issue that is widespread in our county and in District 5 is the opioid crisis. The formation of the DuPage Heroin-Opioid Prevention and Education Taskforce will be vitally important. I will continue to work with law enforcement, public officials, hospitals, schools and other not-for-profits in combating this horrible addiction.
Another issue I feel strongly about is having our county be a leader in the area of mental health. Working with the private sector to form a crisis center would be a more effective alternative to hospital emergency rooms for those with a mental illness or behavioral crisis. They can also save millions of dollars.