Jessica Mastalski: 2021 candidate for Des Plaines City Clerk
Two candidates for one four-year term
Hometown: Des Plaines
Age on Election Day: 36
Occupation: Credit union, loans and services
Employer: Northwest Municipal Federal Credit Union
Civic involvement: Previous campaign involvement on the federal, state, and county levels; religious community engagement; Polish heritage ancestry associations; community volunteer
Q. Why are you running for this office, whether for reelection or election the first time? Is there a particular issue that motivates you?
A. I am running for Des Plaines City Clerk in order to enhance my commitment to our community and my desire to make a difference; ensuring the transparency of information and clarity of communication to Des Plaines residents. By being the only candidate running for Des Plaines City Clerk who does not have any professional ties to other political officials, I want to bring a fresh, unbiased perspective to the office. I have a B.A. in political science and English with a minor in secondary education from Loyola University Chicago, which gives me the skill set of political understanding, proper articulation, and the recognition of the importance for meticulous communication. I also have an employment background working for financial institutions where accuracy is key and sloppiness is never accepted, which should be the same guidelines for the office of the Des Plaines City Clerk. The particular issue that motivates me is transparency; ensuring the community feels connected to their city through complete and accurate information.
Q. Some communities have contracted out for certain services, such as snowplowing, to save money. What innovative methods would you propose to reduce your office's budget? Explain your answer.
A. The budget needs to be evaluated as a whole; while each category assessed on an individual basis. If I am elected, every section of the budget will be analyzed and an operational audit will be performed to identify where adjustments can be made to establish an overall equitable budget. I will survey the office procedures and work with the staff to find solutions to form a streamlined financial blueprint. Innovation will be found through assessment and technological advancement as the foundation for reducing costs without diminishing resources. It is the obligation of each city department to do their part to make sure we come together for what is best for Des Plaines residents.
Q. The state's revised Freedom of Information Act guidelines renewed focus on open government. Name one specific step you would take if elected to increase government transparency in your office.
A. Transparency and accessibility should be the foundation of any government office, especially the office of the Des Plaines City Clerk. Transparency ensures that the residents of Des Plaines are informed of the decisions being made on their behalf. I will make sure every aspect of technology is being used to its fullest potential, in correlation to laws and guidelines, to create ease in the process. I will increase transparency by utilizing all avenues available, from technology to public interaction, allowing for a more open government; making sure the community feels completely comfortable in the process to obtain information while always looking for new ways to employ technology as a guide for more efficient correspondence.
Q. What steps would you take as village clerk to improve and increase the flow of information to residents?
A. I am an advocate for human interaction being at the core of an efficient office -- whether via phone, email, or in person. The community will continue to have the opportunity for inquiry with a staff member while expediting correspondence with the assistance of technology; validity and meticulousness will be at the forefront of all information processing. After following all legal guidelines, the website and email will be used to its fullest potential for informational outreach. The connection between the office of the Des Plaines City Clerk and the public should be a balance between human interaction and technology; with technology being used to enhance local engagement.