Matt McCarthy: 2021 candidate for Carol Stream trustee
Four candidates are running for three, 4-year trustee seats on the Carol Stream village board. Two incumbents, Rick Gieser and Matt McCarthy, are seeking reelection. The challengers are Jeff Berger and Erik Crawford.
The Daily Herald posed questions to the trustee hopefuls in the April 6 election. Below are McCarthy's responses. For more election coverage, visit dailyherald.com.
City: Carol Stream
Occupation: North American customer service manager, Niigata Machine Techno USA, Inc.
Civic involvement: Carol Stream Trustee since 2003; former CS Parks Baseball league coordinator and manager; former Fourth of July Parade committee member; headed Youth Council; raised funds for the new Veterans Memorial; Relay-For-Life steering committee and head of the Bags-For-Life committee for the last five years that has raised more than $80,000 for not only Relay-for-life, but a number of local charities.
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: Our role should be to follow protocols and to facilitate decisions made by health experts. Politics should be completely left out and we need to have guidelines that make sense for the health, safety, welfare and prosperity of all residents and businesses.
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, we were able to continue to serve our constituents even with disruptions by encouraging video, online and phone contact. We have had our village hall closed to the public to help prevent any outbreaks. We split our staff so some would work from home while others were in the office. Our Police Dept. continued to keep our town safe while following Health Dept. protocols. Our public works continued to keep our streets repaired and clean of debris and snow. Our water and sewer were also kept running up to standards. We did suspend our AMR replacements in homes for the safety of our residents as well as our staff but, any emergency repairs were completed safely.
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: We of course followed masking, social distancing as well as hand sanitizing procedures and will continue to do so as long as necessary. Electronic meetings (zoom, teams, etc.) is a great way to limit large group meetings, knowing we have the ability to have some work from home if needed also can limit exposure to future crises. I believe our cleaning procedures will also benefit us in any outbreak.
Q: What cuts can local government make to reduce the burden of the pandemic on taxpayers?
A: We have suspended our vehicle sticker program, discounted some of our licensing for local restaurants and cut nonessential budget items. We need to continue staying within the budget we have to make sure there is no increase in our property tax levy.
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: Our street and water supply projects should not be placed on hold. Infrastructure projects are unfortunately always very expensive but also get more expensive the longer we wait to do them. I believe each project needs to be considered on its own merits before we decide to move forward with it or table it.
Q. Do you plan to address businesses that don't adhere to the governor's order to close or restrict business?
Q: Do you agree or disagree with the stance your board has taken on permitting recreational marijuana sales in the community? What would you change about that stance, if you could?
A: I agree with our stance and would not change anything.
Q: What's one good idea you have to better the community that no one is talking about yet?
A: I would like to investigate the possibility of having an intern or job shadowing program to promote diversity within our board and staff. I would like to encourage opening doors to all those who are interested. Bringing people with different ideas, histories and experiences will help us build a stronger community.