Douglas J. Scheflow: Candidate profile, Kane County Board District 22
Incumbent Republican Douglas J. Scheflow of Elgin is being challenged by Democrat Verner (Vern) Tepe of Elgin for Kane County Board District 22 in the Nov. 3 general election.
Scheflow, an attorney and business owner, has served on the board since 2012.
To explore his campaign website, visit www.dougscheflow.com.
The 22nd district includes parts of western Elgin and Elgin Township. For a map of the district, visit www.countyofkane.org.
The Daily Herald recently asked the candidates to answer a series of questions. Here are Scheflow's replies.
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: After 8 years as a Kane County Board member in District 22 on the west side of Elgin, which includes areas around Larkin High School, Elgin Community College, Edgewater by Del Webb and the Providence subdivision area, I am proud of the hard work of the county board that has produced excellent proven results: 1. Honest Balanced Budgets; 2. Flat Real Estate Tax Levy's for Kane County Government; 3. Adequate Reserve Fund Balances; 4. Debt reduction from $100 million to less than $20 million; 5. Over 90% Pension Funding Keeping our Commitment to Employees.
I am motivated by the fear that new county board members will go down the path of Chicago and Springfield and reverse these achievements.
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: My main initiatives include advocating for a new facility for the Diagnostic Center, that assists with the mental health needs in our criminal justice system, advocating for strict budget control and reporting, advocating for the new multipurpose building including the new coroner's facility on the site of the judicial center, and advocating for funding of the countywide 2-1-1 phone system.
I speak out for the taxpayer when ever possible and striving for the best public service our county can provide.
Q: 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, Cook County 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?
A: Kane County is in excellent financial condition and had adequate reserve funds, and the county spending and revenue were in balance, and then the COVID-19 pandemic hit and the state government order shut down much of the economy. That is our chief threat at this time.
Our current county leaders will persevere through the ongoing budget process and produce a balanced budget by making hard choices, just as each family in Illinois has had to do.
Kane County will not follow Cook County's goal of pushing its responsibility for unincorporated areas to other units of government. I view these units of government as our partners in service to the taxpayer.
Q: 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.
A: Kane County, under current leadership, including the auditor, treasurer and county board chair, has excellent and award-winning transparency.
Our finance director and auditor have produced many improvements to the budget process and reporting.
The Illinois Policy Institute gave Kane County its highest rating for open and transparent government. The portal developed by Auditor Terry Hunt allows for every expenditure to be viewed online.
Q: What, if anything, should be done to improve automation and customer service in county offices? What steps should be taken to make that happen?
A: The Kane County Information Technology Department and other county departments have excellent automation and excellent customer service.
Of course, the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted, on a temporary basis, some of the in-person services that many people prefer.
Circuit Clerk Tom Hartwell's automation has enabled efficiencies and cost savings for the county and the judicial system. The county, like all organizations, must continue to strive to improve public service and I look forward to fully open county offices.
Q: The county board will undergo redistricting following the 2020 Census. What is the most fair process? Do you support the current number of seats on the board?
A: I support a bipartisan committee of the county board to put forth a new map with compact and contiguous districts that try to keep communities of common interest together (school boundaries, township boundaries, etc. where possible) for full county board approval. I will support reducing the number of board seats gradually as the population grows.
Q: Do you support the current salary and benefits structure for the county board?
A: I support an opportunity for health insurance for elected officials with substantial payment by the elected official.
The current salary for Kane County Board members should remain flat.
I also support any statewide legislation to remove or reduce any and all benefits from all elected officials and rely solely on appropriate salaries during the term of service. I support the elimination of pension benefits for all Illinois elected officials on a statewide basis.
Q: What actions must the county take to continue to address COVID-19?
A: I voted to direct over $4,000,000 in Federal CARES Act funds to the City of Elgin for municipal needs like police, fire and health related costs.
Our county is directing over $8,000,000 in grants to local businesses, nonprofits and other units of government, like the fire districts and townships.
At the county level, my priority has been the sheriff's office, the health department, and the information technology department to expand high-speed internet through enhancements to the county's fiber optic system.
Q: The new board will take over during a time of unprecedented budget challenges. What is your plan to balance the budget? What will your spending priorities be?
A: Spending priorities will always be public health and public safety first. Mental health, opioid abuse, child abuse and domestic violence and suicide prevention must be maintained. Roads and bridges must be safe for residents. The county will need to try to do more with less in the year to come.