Robin D. Meier: 2021 candidate for Mundelein mayor
4 candidates for 1 seat
Occupation: Retired from AT&T
Civic involvement: Current Mundelein village trustee; member and secretary for the MCPAAA (Mundelein Citizens Police Academy Alumni Association) under the Mundelein Police Department; CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) member under FEMA and Mundelein Fire Department.
Q: How do you view your role in confronting the pandemic: provide leadership even if unpopular, give a voice to constituents -- even ones with whom you disagree -- or defer to state and federal authorities?
A: In order to receive CARES Act funding or reimbursement the state and federal mandates needed to be followed. It is up to the Mayor to ensure that the public is frequently kept informed every step of the way throughout the pandemic. It is the Mayor's responsibility to address the questions and concerns of the residents and businesses on an ongoing basis and to listen to their needs. Looking forward as we begin taking post COVID steps to reach complete recovery, we should ask what resources can we additionally provide for existing businesses? What types of new businesses can we attract? Are there measures we can take to assist our residents?
Q: Did your town continue to adequately serve its constituents during the disruptions caused by the pandemic? If so, please cite an example of how it successfully adjusted to providing services. If not, please cite a specific example of what could have been done better.
A: Yes, many steps were taken to continue village services, including the following: staggered employee shifts to protect from major virus contaminations. Pick up and drop off stations for forms and information was provided in the lobby of Village Hall. Building inspections were made via video phone capabilities with contractors or property owners. These are just some of the steps that were taken to serve the constituents. As Mayor, moving forward my post-COVID planning steps will include: review of emergency ordinances and organizational procedures, protocol related to disaster events, Village budgeting, and revenue projections. Business recovery steps and measures should also be reevaluated.
Q: In light of our experiences with COVID-19, what safeguards/guidelines should you put in place to address any future public health crises?
A: Executive Order ordinances need to be reviewed and updated to accommodate technology advances in meeting venues (e.g. Zoom). We also need to discuss, update, and determine how Executive Orders are utilized or implemented. Other village ordinances need to be reviewed, updated, or created to keep organization processes running smoothly and the public informed better during a health crisis.
Q: What cuts can local government make to reduce the burden of the pandemic on taxpayers?
A: A number of cost saving steps were successfully taken during this pandemic. Some of the cost savings were realized in temporary employee furloughs, reduced overtime, and streamlined measures. The one exception was that the tax levy should not have been increased during the pandemic. Other nontax levy solutions should have and could have been reached to resolve the pension shortfall. As we enter into post pandemic planning, a reevaluation needs to take place to determine if further steps are required during the recovery period.
Q: What do you see as the most important infrastructure project you must address? Why and how should it be paid for? Conversely, during these uncertain economic times, what infrastructure project can be put on the back burner?
A: There are many infrastructure projects in various stages already in progress. A comprehensive spreadsheet needs to be created or improved to list all current and proposed village infrastructure projects. The list should include: the projects priority or need, a timeline identifying the projects progress and what phase it's in, how the project is funded (where those funds are coming from, how are those funds are to be replaced, are those funds in-hand or from future or current sources, ETC.). Once all the relevant information is gathered, the projects can be objectively reevaluated, prioritized, and determined if any of them should be deferred, continued, or even halted.
Q: Do you agree or disagree with the stance your board/council has taken on permitting recreational marijuana sales in the community? What would you change about that stance, if you could?
A: I supported, by vote, the responsible use and sale of recreational marijuana. The company requesting this use has had a consistent and proven track record of good business practices. There have not been any negative issues with this adoption of policy identified to date. The only problem identified was in traffic control and parking. The village could have been better prepared in this area and taken more proactive steps prior to this act becoming effective.
Q: What's one good idea you have to better the community that no one is talking about yet?
A: Board accountability which includes needed training when elected, and on an ongoing basis. In addition to my other actions plans I propose an annual survey for residents and businesses to weigh in on the village board to rank their accountability and responsiveness to the community. All survey responses, training records, and deficiencies identified by the survey will be made openly available to the public. Actions to improve and address items identified by the survey will be taken. The board works for the constituency and all decisions made during board meetings and at other times should be accountable and available to the public.
Q: What makes you the best candidate for the job?
A: Instead of vague campaign promises, I have many specific action plans ready to begin implementation when my term starts. Add to that a consistent track record of being open and transparent, which includes listening and responding to the public concerns all the time, not just during election year. My training, background, and experience more than qualify me to lead as Mayor. I make common sense decisions which I can support with sound reasoning and research. There will be three new trustees; two more with two years' experience, and one with six years' experience on the board after the election. An experienced leader able to step in and start our path to responsible progress immediately is needed. Additional qualifications are committees that I have served on which include the Plan Commission, Central Lake County Joint Action Water Agency, Solid Waste Agency of Lake County, and Joint Central Lake County Emergency Telephone System Board. I'm a Mundelein resident since 1986. Four generations of my family live in Mundelein. Retired, I have time to dedicate to the necessary duties. My unique volunteer work in the community provides an important aspect of Mundelein not experienced by other candidates.
Q: What is the primary reason you're running for office? What is the most important issue?
A: I want for our village to return to back-to-basics, common sense government. My perspective of common sense government means: providing information to residents and businesses, listening and responding to constituent concerns, prioritizing projects, responsible financial decisions, true transparency, and responsible progress. There are opportunities for improvement which need to be addressed. As a trustee I have assembled a notebook of both detailed and high level action plans addressing numerous issues which I will institute as Mayor. Some of the action plan topics include: communications, fiscal responsibility, business retention or expansion, attracting new businesses, leaf collection, encouraging diverse opinions, and other topics. During my trustee tenure some of my suggestions have been adopted in whole or part.