Steven J. Oscarson: Candidate profile
Name: Steven J. Oscarson
City: St. Charles
Office sought: Kane County Board, District 14
Family: Mariola and I have been married 10 years. We have three daughters (ages 6, 3, and 6 months).
Occupation: Accountant -- I am the controller of a large law firm
Education: Bachelor of Science (with honors) from DePaul University -- Majoring in Accounting and Finance
Civic involvement: I have been involved in my church and various charities.
Previous elected offices held: None
Questions and Answers
1. Why are you running for this office, whether for reelection or election for the first time? Is there a particular issue that motivates you? If so, what?
When my third child was born and oldest began kindergarten, I realized that my family had started to lay down roots in Kane County. With that early foundation establishing, I knew I wanted to step up and do my part to help the community. I am a supporter of being financially responsible with taxpayer's money. This means cutting wasteful spending and continuing to work toward a more modern, efficient government. Given my background in operational accounting and implementing process improvements for my company, I believe my skill set has prepared me to help Kane County.
2. If you are an incumbent, describe your main contributions. Tell us of any important initiatives you've led. If you are a challenger, what would you bring to the board and what would your priority be?
I am a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) with experience in processes improvement, modernization, and efficiency. I have helped balance budgets, oversaw growth, and managed downtimes. Drawing on these experiences, I will be able to help make decisions to support the board and county. My priorities are providing residents with high quality services, operating our county with a balanced budget, saving for a rainy day, and investing in long term projects. We can achieve these goals by reflecting on and learning from the past, smartly running our government today, and embracing and investing in our future.
3. Describe your position regarding the balance between county spending and revenues as it exists today, then describe the chief threats you see looming in the future and how the county should deal with them. In particular in the suburbs, President Preckwinkle has set a goal of eliminating unincorporated areas from county oversight. Do you agree with this approach? If so, how should the county go about it?
I believe in being a good steward of tax dollars. This is done by preventing of wasteful spending and making our county offices and departments more efficient through technology. We must find the balance between providing quality services to our county residents while still being able to pay for it. We can achieve this by identifying areas where we can cut spending without negatively impacting the community. Great examples of this are cutting county board member's health insurance and reducing the number of county board seats. These ideas could save the county hundreds of thousands of dollars each year and would have no impact to the services residents count on.
4. How do you rate the county government on transparency and the public's access to records? If you consider it adequate, please explain why. If you think improvements are needed, please describe them and why they are important.
I think the county is making great progress toward transparency and access to public records. The Clerk's office has recently made the audio of county board meetings available online and through OpenGov, county residents can review county spending. However, we must continue to make improvements on transparency until all records that should be public and immediately available to our residents. Allowing the public to see how the county operates is vitally important to building the public's trust in our local government and keeping our elected leaders accountable.
5. What, if anything, should be done to improve automation and customer service in county offices? What steps should be taken to make that happen?
As our society changes, so do the expectations of our county residents. With the advent of smartphones and social media, people do not want to wait to receive services or updates, so it is up to our county government to change with the times. With that being said, the county needs to continue to invest in automation and customer service. We need to make more information publicly available through all mediums and review our processes alongside new technology to make our offices more efficient. Using new tools to reach and service our residents needs to be on the forefront of our future planning.