Nafees Rahman: Candidate profile
Name: Nafees Rahman
Office sought: Village President
Age (on election day): 51
Family: Wife (name) and two children (names)
Occupation: Deputy Director Accounting Revenue, Illinois Secretary of State's Office
Education: BA, DePaul University, Chicago. MBA, Lake Forest Graduate School of Management
Suzy's Place. Battered Women's Shelter
Jesse White Tumblers
Jesse White Foundation
Sonya Shah Foundation. School for girls in Pakistan
Previous elected offices held: None
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?
I believe the most pressing issues facing Schaumburg are our tremendous level of debt, our lack of any plan to address the debt, the current administration's plans to create more debt, and the tax burden which no one seems to be talking about. I propose cutting 5% across the board in the budget which I estimate to be about $12.5 million. It seems like a lot but if every department were to cut back a little, we could create the savings. If we do this over a period of several years, we can begin to address the debt. I would advocate for a freeze on any major projects until a complete financial analysis could be done to justify the expense and with a plan to pay the future debt off.
As a former CEO in the private sector, I understand how to reduce expenditures and increase revenues. I have extensive management experience and I intend to use that knowledge to run our village efficiently. In my current job, I deal with over $2.5 billion in state funds, so I have the expertise to address our budget and debt issues.
What makes you the best candidate for the job?
I believe I'm the best candidate because I bring a fresh perspective to the position. Major corporations change CEO's because they want to shake up the status quo and to address issues and problems. That's what Schaumburg government needs…a complete departure from past practices.
Schaumburg has had the same president for over two decades and our problems will only continue under the status quo. One of my opponents has been a part of the current administration for just as long. He has voted on the issues now plaguing our community. He has indicated a smooth transition which in my mind means more of the same policies and practices.
I have extensive management experience from both the public and private sectors. I was the Chief Executive Officer for the third largest office supply manufacturing company. I streamlined departments, increased revenues and brought spending in line with expenditures.
I am currently working at the Illinois Secretary of State's office where I manage a budget of $2.5 billion dollars. The next village president has to make tough decisions and change course away from the past. Being a newcomer will allow me to make those decisions and bring new ideas forth.
Describe your leadership style and explain how you think that will be effective in producing actions and decisions with your village board.
I am an executive who leads by example. As a CEO, I promoted a culture of inclusion. I made sure everyone's ideas and voices were heard and then I made the best decision based on their input. That is how I would implement policies if elected village president.
I have been privileged to work with individuals from all walks of life. I worked hard to build relationships and engage everyone in the process. I did not tolerate harassment or mistreatment of employees as a CEO, and I won't allow it in our village government.
I will carry those same principles and ideals to the office of village president. I also plan to work closely with the trustees and current administrators to get their support for the policies I hope to implement if elected.
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?
I would describe the budget as overwhelming. I didn't realize our debt level was so high. My research indicates over $500 million in debt and in comparison, to other towns our size, we are way more in debt than we should be.
The problem is a lack of control on spending. My concern is the current elected officials, including one of my opponents, are proposing more debt with a projected parking lot bond of over $30 million and a performing arts center estimated at $87 million. Why would we increase our debt when other communities with similar projects have defaulted on loans or are losing millions annually?
One specific action our town should take is to stop spending immediately and begin a program to bring down the debt. When our community can't pay its bills, the debt will fall on taxpayers and services will be cut. I want to avoid reducing services so I'm proposing a 5% across the board cut in expenditures to begin to address our debt.
What's one good idea you have to better the community that no one is talking about yet?
One idea I would implement if elected is a thorough examination of all major purchases. I don't feel the current administration is being prudent about spending and I think have a thorough look at proposed capital spending and infrastructure investment needs to be examined before we move forward on this kind of spending.
We also need to have a real conversation about what kinds of services residents want vs. what they need. I have strong concerns about the size of our government in terms of things like airports, baseball teams, parking decks and so on. We need to get back to providing basic village services and get away from the big ticket items the current administration is proposing.