Gwen Henry: 2022 candidate for DuPage County Treasurer


Party: Republican

Office sought: DuPage County Treasurer

City: Wheaton

Age: 82

Occupation: DuPage County Treasurer

Previous offices held: DuPage County Board, DuPage County Forest Preserve, Mayor of Wheaton, Wheaton City Council


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: I have spent much of my adult life as a public servant. In recent months, I have become concerned with the impact that inflation has had on the residents of DuPage County. People are trying to figure out how to buy groceries, fill up their tank and pay their mortgage and property taxes.

While the office of DuPage County Treasurer can't directly address inflation, we do impact every resident in DuPage County, who is affected by the current state of the economy. As DuPage County Treasurer, I can make an impact in a few ways.

I will draw from an understanding of government's role in fiscal management and ensure that tax dollars are carefully invested and distributed. Additionally, I will continue to promote and run the senior tax deferral program and the senior and veterans' exemption programs. Also, I will use this office and leverage my relationships in government to advocate for policies that lower taxes and get inflation under control.

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 position and what would your priority be?

A: The DuPage County Treasurer's Office collects $3.2 billion on 324 thousand parcels of real estate. We take that money and distribute it to over 500 city, township and other governmental bodies, so they can fund critical governmental services like police departments, fire departments, schools, etc.

The work we do isn't glamourous, it isn't high profile, but it is critical. It works because we have assembled a small core of educated and professional accounting, business and financial professionals who manage a team of highly trained and committed employees.

We have continued to introduce new efficiencies to better serve the community, while minimizing the cost of operations. As a matter of fact, since I have been Treasurer, we have reduced head count from 26 to 19 employees while eliminating overtime pay.

The DuPage County Treasurer must understand the core functions of this office and recognizes the vigilance that is required to maintain the standard that has been set.

Q: What special qualifications does a county treasurer need that may not apply to other county offices? What professional qualifications or experiences do you possess that will help ensure your success as treasurer?

A: Just as the sheriff needs to be a policeman and the state's attorney should be a lawyer, the role of DuPage County Treasurer should be filled by someone who is an accounting, financial and business professional.

Simply put, it would be extremely difficult for someone without and accounting, financial and business background to successfully navigate the intricacies of the office.

I have the necessary qualifications to effectively serve. I am a certified public accountant, with advanced training from Harvard Law School and the University of Pennsylvania, Warton School of Business. I have served as a principal at the public accounting firm of Dugan & Lopatka and I continue to serve on numerous boards and commissions including as trustee of the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund.

Q: Name one concrete program you'll create or personnel move you'll make to improve efficiency in the office or make it more successful. Explain how it will be funded and how you will overcome any obstacles to initiating it.

A: First, the DuPage County Treasurer's Office is in the process of installing a new state of the art real estate tax program. The program, which has already been funded, will improve our ability to serve taxpayers more quickly and efficiently and allow us to better update and share information internally and with other county offices including the Assessor and Clerk.

Additionally, we are currently preparing to recruit prospective employees with experience in financial services or business, who are also bilingual.

The Treasurer's Office personnel who interact with the public, either in person or on the phone, are critical to a positive outcome for the client. Some recent retirements have provided the Treasurer's Office an opportunity to enhance services to our Spanish-speaking clients and better aid the Polish community.

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