Peter "Pete" DiCianni: 2022 candidate for DuPage County Board chairman
Office sought: DuPage County Board Chairman
Occupation: DuPage Board Commissioner 2nd District, President and CEO of DiCianni Graphics, Inc.
Previous offices held: Mayor of Elmhurst
Why are you running for this office, whether for re-election or election for the first time? Is there a particular issue that motivates you?
Our county needs an experienced leader who has a proven record of supporting law enforcement, boosting economic development, and maintaining and improving health and human services, while being mindful of impact on taxpayers.
As County Commissioner and past Mayor of Elmhurst, I have managed economic crises, crime, natural disasters, and budgets and finance. I have developed key relationships that enhance intergovernmental cooperation, to protect the quality of life for DuPage County residents with wide-ranging interests and needs.
I have authored and advocated on a bi-partisan level, for the passage of eight state laws, including Brianna's Law (health insurance coverage for those with Autism), earning me DuPage County's Humanitarian of the Year by the West Suburban Philanthropic Network. I also authored James' Law -- Illinois Wandering Act, which protects cognitively impaired youth and adults, by working with GPS technology. Both laws have positively impacted lives in DuPage.
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 job and what would your priority be?
I am a consistent supporter of law enforcement and voting NO to all proposed law enforcement reductions, while some opposition has voted yes. As commissioner, I led the effort to equip and train officers with lifesaving epinephrine, making DuPage the first county in Illinois to do so. As County Chairman, I will work to fully fund law enforcement and restore 50 officers cut from the budget.
As Stormwater Commissioner and past Mayor of Elmhurst, I led three FEMA initiatives in 2010 and 2013, providing millions of dollars to residents and businesses after multiple "100-year storms."
As Mayor, I restored Elmhurst's credit rating to AAA with $1 billion in economic development, which included the new Elmhurst Memorial Hospital, adding thousands of jobs, and attracting more retailers and residents.
I will work with local mayors on economic development and consolidate resources to help keep taxes low. I will continually advocate for our seniors, veterans, and mentally ill and disabled.
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?
Transparency in government is key in county government. DuPage County should and can make great improvements, especially in the area of accountability.
The County Chairman appoints many representatives to various boards and commissions including: RTA, METRA, PACE, and DuPage Airport Authority, just to name a few. Though these appointed positions are paid handsomely, they often only meet once a month and some not even that often. They also have legislative powers over the governments they represent, approving vendor contracts and more. I strongly believe the appointees should be qualified to fill these positions and should NOT engage in any political activity, including fundraising and campaigning to support candidates running for elected positions.
If elected Chairman, I will enact, either through legislation or executive order, policies prohibiting political activity by appointed representatives.
How would you manage the overall county budget, particularly as it relates to controlling the expenses of county offices that report to the county board but control their own budgets?
In 2016, DuPage lost its AAA bond rating from Fitch, a major credit agency of the government, which gives the County the ability to do business at the least cost. I inherited a similar challenge when I was elected Mayor of Elmhurst.
While Mayor, I prioritized services, set goals and objectives, expanding economic opportunities, and managed those important priorities with available funds to keep our city strong. I also created a Citizens Finance Task Force with professionals from the financial business world, public safety, local government, human services, and facilities management who were who donated their time and talent to help examine the needs of the community.
As a small business owner, I've been successful managing my business budget for nearly 40 years, building my business from my parents' garage at age 18. As an employer, wisely budgeting is a priority in order to ensure the growth of not only my business, but of my employees as well.
Describe your leadership style and explain how that will help the entire county board work most effectively and efficiently.
My style is that of a partner who is a problem solver, compassionate leader, and intent listener. Public service has been a passion of mine for decades. Though I've been blessed to be an elected official, I'm also a longtime volunteer, having led multiple non-profit organizations. Listening to those around me, and hearing their concerns and needs has always been important in order to help people. I consider the mayors, aldermen/women, village trustees, and school and park board members as partners in our community.
Two examples of how leadership must include partnership were the Oak Brook Center mall shooting and the tornado that struck Woodridge. I supported the mayors and other community leaders, by making sure every county and local resource was available to aid their communities and residents.
Having served as a Mayor, I will continue to work with mayors and other leaders to ensure trust between local government and our county, while always keeping taxpayers' interests in mind.