Caryl Riley: Candidate profile
Name: Caryl Riley
Office sought: 1st Ward Alderman
Family: Married to Kevin 28 years. Kevin serves as a Park District Commissioner and works in workforce development for Joliet Junior College. Sons: Connor (23) and Carter (20) are both graduates of Marmion Academy. Connor was drafted by the LA Angels and plays in their system. Carter is studying horticultural at JJC.
Occupation: Partnership Specialist for the U.S. Dept of Commerce, Census Bureau
Education: BA from Lake Forest College in Economics and Psychology; MBA from Wake Forest University
Civic involvement: President, Kirkland Farms Homeowners Association; Chairman, Sustainable Aurora Advisory Committee; Executive Team, GreenFest; Member Kane County Advisory Board The Conservation Foundation; Marmion Academy Parent Organizations -- Sports Boosters (Membership, Fundraising, Volunteers) and Mothers Club (President, Fundraising); Religious Education Teacher Blessed Sacrament Church and Annunciation Church; Leadership team The Fox Valley Sustainability Network; Treasurer Parent Organization Montessori Academy; Volunteer Coordinator and Leader Girl Scouts (NC)
Previous elected offices held:
Incumbent? If yes, when were you first elected?
What are the most important issues facing your community and how do you intend to address them?
Taxes: We must keep a close watch on the budget and expenditures. I will look for efficiencies in the delivery of city services to ensure that we are using our monies wisely and coordinating services within departments.
Development: Appropriate development must serve neighborhoods, residents citywide, and visitors. I am not afraid to ask hard questions. I will evaluate plans using the triple-bottom line as a key evaluation. We must have strong local community benefit agreements aligned with neighborhood plans.
Quality of life: What hits closest to home is a sense of safety in our own neighborhoods, backyards or on our street. Cut-through traffic, trash, noise and other quality of life issues make people unhappy. One of my strengths is that I know how to work to solve a problem, but want to also make sure resident's know how to connect to city departments.
What makes you the best candidate for the job?
I believe past performance is a great predictor of future results. Like everyone, my journey has ups and downs but when I set my mind to a goal I normally achieve it. I know how to analyze data and get to the heart of a matter. I gladly listen to various points of view and am empathetic to people's situations. I feel I accurately weigh merits of a situation and make decisions. As alderman, my focus is on being a leader/servant for the people living in the 1st Ward. My past actions of working on government councils has reflected the temperament, commitment and independence that is necessary to be an effective elected official. Having a background in both the corporate and the not-for-profit world, I know how to structure smart, effective decision- making processes, create and understand budgets, and build coalitions to tackle complex challenges.
Describe your leadership style and explain how you think that will be effective in producing actions and decisions with your village board or city council.
I'm a participative leader. I am a big supporter of getting those impacted by issues involved in the solution. I dig into details and challenge conventions because rarely is the first answer the best answer or is the reason that "this is how we've always done it" a good justification to avoid making adjustments. Transparency is a key to my leadership style. Even if transparency slows the process, citizens need to be informed of how their money is being spent, why roads are being redirected and why buildings are being erected. I promise to be a good listener, responsive, hardworking, open minded, and respectful, but ever mindful that the duty of an alderman is to represent their constituents.
How would you describe the condition of your community's budget, and what are the most important specific actions the town should take to assure providing the level of services people want?
The city has a balanced budget, but we must work to continue to optimize efficiencies within departments. I am a huge proponent for growth and expansion of the city's tax base within a balanced budget. The City of Aurora is a great city and citizens should see the value of development through an increase in social services, multi-use facilities and beautification of the river walk and all neighborhoods. I believe we need to continue to explore ways to better deliver services, so we streamline processes and make it easier to access services. Public-private partnerships to deliver benefits to residents will eliminate duplication of services and enhance access.
What's one good idea you have to better the community that no one is talking about yet?
Formation of a Land Bank which would allow citizen, government and commercial members to create a transparent strategy for the public and commercial use of unused and idle land in the City of Aurora. Aurora has many vacant, abandoned, and tax delinquent properties. These "Zombie" properties pull down surrounding home values. A Land Bank program allows us to reclaim, reinvest in and rebuild our neighborhoods. This is just one of the transparent leadership ideas I have for the city that would benefit Ward 1 as well as the rest of the city. By getting these properties back into productive use, we improve neighborhood cohesion, safety and the strength of the City of Aurora within Illinois.