Kevin R Wiley: Candidate profile
Name: Kevin R Wiley
City: West Chicago
Office sought: DuPage County Board member, District 6
Family: Married with three children
Occupation: Colonel in the United States Army (and Iraq War Veteran); DuPage County Board member, District 6; Program Management Consultant
Education: Master of Business Administration, Keller Graduate School of Management; Masters of Project Management, Keller Graduate School of Management; and Bachelors of Business Administration, Western Michigan University
Civic involvement: As a soldier, I have been serving the community for over 35-years in the United States Army and the United States Army Reserves; Outside of the military I have served as a Director on the Bartlett Veterans Memorial Foundation; Active in the Corpus Christi Parish in Carol Stream; Director of the Association Wayne Center Home Owners Association.
Elected offices: DuPage County Board Member -- District 6 (2014-Present); Trustee and Secretary for the Bartlett Fire Protection District (2011-2014); and Precinct Committeeman in Wayne Township (2010-Present).
Questions & Answers
1. Why are you running for this office? Is there a particular issue that motivates you?
I am driving cultural change across the County for us to be better servants to the community, better stewards of our tax revenues, and deliver better outcomes.
As chairman of the Strategic Planning Committee, I led the efforts to rewrite the county's strategic plan, rolled out the Lean Six Sigma training program, and Lean Initiatives. As a result of these efforts and the efforts of the DuPage County staff, we have been able to find tens of millions of dollars in savings which were rolled back into our operations and improve the service we are providing the community.
As chairman of the Technology Committee, we are refining the way we acquire and deploy technology across the county. We are now assessing how we will fund the $28 million request for new technology for the treasurer and the Election Commission. How we structure this acquisition will determine whether we blow our budget or continue to live within our means.
I've been able to bring this same level of planning and operational efficiency to Economic Development, Animal Services, Finance, Development, Community Development, and Environmental Committee. Our results are notable with the lowest unemployment numbers across the collar counties, 10-year run at keeping the property tax levy flat, partnering with local governments to be good stewards of the environment, and facilitating development in a county that is fully built out.
2. If you are an incumbent, describe two important initiatives you've led. If you're not an incumbent, describe two ways you would contribute to the board.
As the Chairman of the Strategic Planning Committee we engaged every department in the county and got them to align their operations around our mission statement and our legal responsibilities.
We've organized our operations around the five strategic imperatives of Quality of Life, Comprehensive Financial Planning, Excellence in Customer Service, Build on the Successes of ACT, and Foster Continued Growth of the DuPage Economy. These imperatives are then flushed out with 14 high level strategies and numerous operational strategies under each imperative.
But a plan is no good without an implementation strategy. For this, I also led the efforts to revamp our Lean Six Sigma training to extend this training out to the entire staff and helped prioritized our Lean Initiatives across the county. In this fashion we have engaged the entire staff in improved efficiency with many successes being garnered in each department and allowing them to operate in a reduced budgetary environment.
3. Is there a specific service or amenity that is lacking in the county? If so, how do you propose to provide and fund it?
As the chairman for the Technology Committee, I have seen firsthand the critical need to upgrade our infrastructure, step up our efforts in cybersecurity, and become more disciplined in the way we scope and acquire technology across the County. As the only County Board Member with over 30-years of experience in IT, I believe the biggest opportunities can be found in leveraging Commercially Off The Shelf (COTS) solutions where practical, becoming cloud computing aware (as opposed to cloud computing centric), and formulating that end-to-end strategy for technology not just across the county's operations but across all 400 independent units of government in DuPage County. We should seek to exploit our economies of scale and centers of technical excellence.
In all operations, efficiency is derived through the proper application of people, process, and technology. My focus as chairman of technology has been to ensure we invest in the technology with a keen awareness of how it fits in our environment and actually improves/drives the overall efficiency.
4. 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?
Asking the voters to continually tighten their belt has reached its limits. When I speak with people at the door they are taxed out. It's time for every government entity to do their part and tighten their belt.
Through the Strategic Planning Committee and the Lean Six Sigma training initiatives we are challenging each department to be critical of what they do and how they do it. We need to have the discipline to continue to challenge ourselves to be better and live within our means.
As previously mentioned, our acquisition processes can be improved. If revenues are time then perhaps the timing can be delayed to ensure we live within our means. If these initiatives are still insufficient then we need to structure any increased revenue needs around user fees or activity based fees. There is still more efficiencies to be garnered and this is where I will focus our efforts.
5. The county has been focused on consolidation of services and government agencies. How effective has that effort been and how could it be improved?
Our consolidation efforts to date have saved money, realigned billing to ensure equity to all taxpayers, and ensured the high quality of service we have committed to delivering. Some of the big opportunities for improvement include the extended use of intergovernmental agreements (IGAs) like we have done with GIS and other high cost / low use services and to remember that we can and should always consolidate around best practices. If townships or municipalities deliver a service better than the county, then we should seek to consolidate that service to the townships or municipality. We should never be afraid to have the discussion and scrutinize how we deliver services. We should always seek to deliver our services in the most efficient manner possible or we are squandering the taxpayer's resource and I'm all for having that discussion.
6. What is the single most important issue facing your district and how should the county address it?
High property taxes. We have to advocate on behalf of the voters both here at home and in Springfield. That is the very basis of all three of the referendums on the ballot. If voters are concerned about their property taxes they will vote "yes" on all three initiatives. It seems straight forward:
a. Vote "Yes" if you want DuPage County to oppose a proposed INCREASE to your property tax.
The proposed increase is 1 percent of the market value of your home or if your home is worth $300,000 your property tax would "INCREASE" by $3,000. For most people, that will be a crushing blow to homeownership.
b. Vote "Yes" if you want DuPage County to oppose the introduction of a Vehicle Mileage Tax.
This is a "New" proposed tax based on the mileage you drive and is a disproportionate burden on the suburbs who drive more than other communities.
c. Vote "Yes" if you want DuPage County to continue to pursue consolidation efforts with its sister units of government.
DuPage County collects just under $2.8 billion in property taxes each year and disperses this out to 400 independent units of government across the county. Consolidation is an opportunity to rethink how your government is structured.
7. Please name one current leader who most inspires you.
Secretary of Defense James Mattis. He's the consummate professional. Intelligent, polite, deliberate, and decisive at precisely the right time.
8. What is the biggest lesson you learned at home growing up?
Do something. It's how you add value. It's how you learn. It's how you grow. Too often people are afraid to take that next step. My dad taught me to work hard and be prepared for a healthy dose of humility now and again.
9. If life gave you one do-over, what would you spend it on?
I would have met my wife sooner and had more children. They have made me happy beyond measure and are the greatest joys of my life.
10. What was your favorite subject in school and how did it help you in later life?
History and math. History because it tells the story of how we got here and math helped me to logically understand it all.
11. If you could give your children only one piece of advice, what would it be?
Believe in yourself and go for it. Action is uplifting and inspiring to everyone involved.