Gandolfo "Randy" Messina: Candidate profile
Name: Gandolfo "Randy" Messina
City: Wood Dale
Office sought: Alderman, Ward 1
Family: Wife-Jennifer and dog-Ruban
Occupation: Worldwide Sales Leader
Education: Master's Degree, High Honors.
Civic involvement: Chairman, Wood Dale finance committee; vice chairman Wood Dale O'Hare Noise Group; committee member, Wood Dale Economic Enhancement Committee
Previous elected offices held: *President-Wood Dale Sister Cities Organization *Board Member-Woodside Subdivision Homeowner's Association
Incumbent? If yes, when were you first elected? Yes, 2015
* What are the most important issues facing your community and how do you intend to address them?
One of the most important issues we face is the ongoing threat of reduced funding from the state. That lost revenue effects the scope of projects we can take on and can possibly impact some of the services we are able to deliver to our residents. I intend to address this by looking at ways to share resources, eliminate overlap, and aggressively look for available grant money that can help fill this gap of funding.
Another important issue we'll face is ensuring our residents receive the most beneficial long term solutions to the O'Hare noise. For starters, I intend to address this by continuing to work with our neighboring communities in the fight against the much larger and more funded city of Chicago and FAA. Thus far, this joint strategy has allowed us to share in the cost of hiring aviation experts that have proved the negative impacts of the noise and ushered in a favorable night time rotation plan that has helped eliminate some of the night time noise. In addition, I will fight to have a current Environmental Impact study completed as well as the contour map updated which will dictate who qualifies for free sound proofing.
* What makes you the best candidate for the job?
To start, my dedication to our residents is unmatched. Although we serve part-time, I commit countless hours and weekends making sure our community remains a highly attractive place to live and work. This includes almost daily drives through our Ward looking for property maintenance issues, continuously seeking ideas from residents and businesses on ways we can improve, as well as experimenting with ideas I've learned from my experience working with hundreds of other cities across the country in my day job.
My professional experience has provided me the knowledge to improve many city processes, create and expand numerous programs, and save the City thousands of dollars by renegotiating unfavorable vendor contracts.
I feel I have proven my ability to get things done while balancing both the needs of our residents and still working within our financial means. Our programs, improvements, and developments in the City are being noticed. They have helped us recruit major new businesses to town like Amazon Fresh, All Tile, Randall Residences, and many others. Builders and homebuyers have also recognized the changes, allowing us to be named by Chicago Business Magazine as "One of the hottest suburban housing markets in the 1st half of 2018"!
* 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.
My leadership style is a blend of being collaborative and a coach. After managing hundreds of employees over the years, I have come to understand that people are driven most by purpose and that purpose varies individual to individual. I always try to understand each person's motivators and then adjust my leadership and communication style to fit that particular person's style. This flexibility in my leadership style has come in handy when working with staff and other elected officials. It allows me to effectively communicate, keep people motivated, and most importantly get things done.
By involving people in the process, whether that be by listening to their ideas or having them help draft our plans, these individuals tended to take a vested interest in the outcome and ultimately became more accountable when we were trying to find a solution. Not only does this lead to better results but it has made people feel part of something bigger and provided them a sense of pride and accomplishment.
* 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?
Very Good. We currently have approximately 9 months of cash reserves for the day-to-day operating expenses of running our city (police, staff, public works, ETC ...). Municipalities are considered financially healthy if they have 3 months of reserves in their budgets. We have 3x times the required amount. We have accomplished this while still completing millions of dollars in improvements and adding multiple City programs at the same time.
To ensure we continue to provide an excellent level of service we have put an emphasis on improving communication, continuing to bring new businesses and residents into town to help increase sales tax revenues, and implementing new technology that has made it faster and more convenient to engage with the city. Some highlights include the launch of our Mobile app, a Facebook and Twitter Page to provide information, and an expanded Reverse 911 notification program to send emergency and time-sensitive information to the community. In addition, I have partnered with my co-Aldermen to host annual Ward meetings, send yearly newsletters, launch online surveys to ensure the voices of those unable to attend meetings are heard, have held multiple Open Houses, and recently hosted a "Coffee with City Council" to hear residents' ideas.
* What's one good idea you have to better the community that no one is talking about yet?
I would like to work with local rehabilitation centers and the Park District to start a "Falls Prevention Program" that helps older adults improve their strength and balance as well as learn ways to reduce falls.
Having aging parents of my own and particularly one that recently injured himself in our childhood home, I have begun to understand the importance of empowering aging adults to live with independence, purpose, and dignity.
The ultimate goal would be to keep individuals in their own homes (and out of institutions such as hospitals and nursing homes) for as long as possible. This program would add to some of the other senior programs and discounts started during my first term in office including our expanded Dial-A-Ride program and a reduced city sticker cost. In discussion now are also Senior grass cutting and snow plowing programs as well!