Verner Tepe: Candidate profile:
Name: Verner (Vern) Tepe
Office sought: Kane County Board, District 22
Family: Married to Judith Tepe; Two sons -- Verner Scott Tepe (deceased); Glen Tepe; Seven grandchildren.
Occupation: Computer Consultant and Property Investment
Education: BS in Mathematics from University of Cincinnati; Postgraduate work in economics
Civic involvement: Elgin Township trustee since 2017; Board Member -- Family Service Association; active in creation and promotion of the Mental Health Referendum in Elgin Township.
Previous elected offices held: Elgin Township Trustee since 2017.
Facebook: Vern Tepe for Kane County
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?
My wife and I thoroughly enjoy our life in Kane County and we have been able to become engaged in local civic and volunteer activities. As an Elgin Township trustee for the past three years, I am proud of the contributions that I have made. Moving on to the county board would afford me the opportunity to bring the same dedication and enthusiasm that I have to 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?
The Kane County budget is about $300 million annually. In addition to establishing policy, a large part of the board's responsibility is in managing and allocating these funds. My extensive business background and recent experience in public office are two key assets that will allow me to contribute to managing these tasks in an effective manner. My main objectives will be to: Advocate for renewable energy; improve and enhance resources to address mental health issues, expand services for seniors, and to provide clean and affordable water throughout the county.
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?
Currently the county operates on a balanced budget and has a freeze on property taxes. I am in agreement with both of these policies. But as Kane County grows (and we are growing, not losing population) we need to continue to provide effective services to residents as well as job security for county personnel.
In regard to eliminating unincorporated areas from county oversight, I'd look in a different direction. Elgin Township is responsible for about 28 miles of roads and they do an excellent job. But at twice the cost per mile of what the City of Elgin pays. Let's concentrate on consolidating services where it makes operational and fiscal sense.
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.
The county needs a comprehensive and cohesive website much like Cyberdrive is for the state. Individual departments have made their own attempt at creating a website for their specific area. Although major improvements have been made, they often fall short in being productive, informative, and useful to the user. A centralized group responsible for creating and managing web access should be created.
Transparency is always a challenge. For example: The county budget is long, complex and very involved. Well over 400 pages. Although it is very comprehensive, it is also difficult to understand. But, at the same time, would the effort to explain the budget in detail be worthwhile? An interesting dilemma.
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?
Whenever I've gone to any county office with an issue or question I have received excellent and exceptional service. The only issue that occurs, with me, is that I'm not at the right place and need to be redirected to another location. Perhaps a few more strategically located branch offices, that had the ability to cross department lines, would be a better alternative.