Tim Elliott: Candidate profile, DuPage County Board District 4
In the Nov. 3 general election, incumbent Republican Tim Elliott of Glen Ellyn faces a challenge by Democrat Lynn LaPlante of Glen Ellyn to win the seat representing District 4 on the DuPage County Board.
Elliott, an attorney, has served on the board since 2016. He was Glen Ellyn Village Board Trustee in 2013-2016. He also has served on the DuPage Water Commission and as an attorney for the College of DuPage board.
To explore his campaign website, check VoteTimElliott.com.
District 4 includes all or portions of Addison, Bloomingdale, Carol Stream, Downers Grove, Glen Ellyn, Glendale Heights, Lisle, Lombard, Wheaton and Winfield.
The Daily Herald asked the candidates to answer a series of questions. Here are Elliott's replies.
Q: What have we learned as a county from the COVID-19 pandemic and what changes should be made looking forward as a result?
A: COVID-19 has taught me three main things.
First, in times of need, government's job is to help. Since March, DuPage County has done just that. Working with school districts, we provided badly needed property tax relief; we created a $16 million grant program for small businesses; we've funded internet plans for schoolchildren who must learn remotely; and we've provided tens of millions of dollars to local municipalities, park districts and fire districts.
Second, advance planning and fiscal discipline are important. Fortunately, DuPage County has spent years establishing strong reserves. Unlike other governments, we haven't frittered that away on pet projects. That put us in a strong position to weather this storm and gave us flexibility to help others. Thus, when we received a large federal grant, we were able to pass much of it on to municipalities, residents and businesses.
Third, experienced leadership counts. In 2020, we've seen some governments unable to fulfill core functions, and some elected officials surrender to noise, panic and pressure. Not DuPage County, though. We've made decisions based on sound data in cooperation with public health officials.
Q: 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?
A: I'm running for reelection because I want to continue giving back to my hometown, Glen Ellyn, and the surrounding communities. My wife and I grew up here, and now we want our four children to have the same opportunities we had.
DuPage County remains a good place to live and work for a very simple reason: the generations that came before us (including my parents) sacrificed much of their time and energy to ensure we have strong institutions. Now it's our turn to do the same for our children.
I've served DuPage County for over a decade in many capacities, including the DuPage Historical Museum Foundation (2008-2014), DuPage Water Commission (2008-2010), Glen Ellyn Village Board (2013-2016), and Metropolitan Family Services (2011-2019). My guiding principle is simple: Government should be open, honest and fair to all involved.
During my first term, I fought to help residents in District 4 on a variety of issues, from simple problems such as removing invasive trees, to more complex problems such as funding for sound barriers, removing adult businesses, and alleviating flooding.
If elected, I'll continue to be a tireless advocate for families and businesses in District 4.
Q: 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?
A: During my first term on the county board, I've spearheaded several projects.
I've been a leading advocate for the East Branch DuPage River Trail. This project was first conceived in the early 2000s but lay dormant for many years as other projects took priority.
Since joining the board, I've worked with community groups, the DuPage Forest Preserve, local park districts, schools and municipalities to move this project into planning and engineering. If reelected, I will continue to provide leadership on this project.
I'm also proud to have been instrumental in eliminating an unnecessary taxing body: the Glen Ellyn Mosquito Abatement District. When I first joined the Glen Ellyn Village Board, I could not understand why GEMAD even existed: it was a "paper entity" with no employees and little transparency, and it levied taxes every year. That didn't seem right.
After I joined the DuPage County Board, GEMAD tried to push through a tax increase referendum. Enough was enough. I worked closely with Milton Township to appoint an entirely new board for GEMAD, and then consolidate it into Milton Township. That's beneficial to taxpayers and is good government.
Q: Describe your position regarding the allocation of resources in the recorder of deeds' office. Are personnel allocated as they should be? Are there capital expense or other budgetary items that the office must address, and, if so, how do you propose to address them?
A: The recorder's office has consistently operated under a relatively flat budget, and recently increased fees for the first time in many years. At present, it delivers good value to DuPage taxpayers. Having said that, there is always room for evaluation and improvement, and our mission on the county board is to promote efficiency wherever possible.
In the past year, some have advocated consolidation as a way to cut costs in the recorder's office. However, the county commissioned a study that found consolidation would result in little measurable savings or efficiency. There was considerable political pressure to submit that consolidation to a referendum, but as a board member, I must rely on data, not politics, to make decisions. One possible area of improvement for the recorder is increased automation and outsourcing.
Some other counties have embarked down that path and have been able to cut costs and improve operations. That is good for taxpayers and would provide increased transparency in our real estate markets because the recorder's office is a leading source of real estate sales information, and the market depends on it to release timely and accurate information.
Q: Name one concrete program you'll create or personnel move you'll make to improve efficiency in the office or make it more successful. Explain how it will be funded and how you will overcome any obstacles to initiating it.
A: I'm currently leading DuPage County's effort to create a disadvantaged business enterprise program. This is an important effort. If 2020 has taught us anything, it is that we must expand opportunities for our residents, including opportunities for small businesses, and minority, veteran and women-owned businesses.
Our county is stronger when everyone is participating. This program will require a significant commitment from the county, but we have strong support from the chairman and board. Unfortunately, we still have far to go in the fight for inclusiveness.
On the board, we've seen instances of bullying directed at one of our members, and there are several members who consistently vote against appointing people of color to commissions. I will continue opposing that type of behavior.
In addition, as chair of the economic development committee, I will work to strengthen our current commitment to workforce development. DuPage County has a strong program (workNet DuPage) that provides job skills and training in conjunction with local partners and state agencies. It's an incredible program, with a record of success, and one we must continue to publicize, support and bolster.
Q: Describe your position on transparency in the office and the ease of access to records by the public. If you believe improvements are needed, what are they and how would you go about achieving them?
A: I believe strongly in the importance of open and transparent government. I authored a portion of the Illinois Open Meetings Act, and my law firm, Rathje Woodward, has appeared in the United States Supreme Court on two different cases (Whitford v. Gill and Republican National Committee v. Democratic National Committee) in the past three years to protect voters rights.
I'm proud of DuPage County's record of transparency. Our proceedings are open, and video recordings of meetings and full packets are readily available on our website. Most of our important documents (including budgets, strategic plans, etc.) are also readily accessible on our website. And we take public participation in our meetings very seriously.
In some meetings, we've gone hours listening to public comment. Recently, some of my Democratic colleagues on the board have pushed to limit public participation in meetings. I strongly disagree with that, and believe we should continue to encourage public participation.