Office sought: Lake County Board District 2
Occupation: Battalion Chief, Wauconda Fire District
Previous positions held: Administrator of the village of Wauconda
Questions and answers
Why are you running for this position, whether for re-election or a first election? Is there a particular problem that motivates you?
I am running for the Lake County Board because I am passionate about public service and believe strongly that elected officials should be experienced community leaders who are committed to problem solving and providing residents with a transparent, pragmatic, and focused approach. on the results.
If elected, I will focus on several priority areas. The first will be to maintain sound fiscal policies and balanced budgets. The second area of focus will be to ensure that we do all we can to grow and revive the economy as we emerge from the global pandemic. Next, I will ensure that the county council supports the Lake County Sheriff’s Department in a way that promotes public safety. Fourth, we must continue to improve the Lake County Forest Preserves by improving current properties, while always being mindful of land preservation. Finally, you will often hear me say that I focus on people rather than politics. What that means is standing up for their best interests – against certain agendas or affiliations.
If you hold, describe your main contributions. Tell us about the important initiatives you have led. If you are a challenger, what would you bring to the board and what would be your priority?
If elected, I will prioritize working closely with the various department heads (e.g. CFO, CTO) to learn more about their operations and work together to find opportunities for improvement and of advancement. An elected official must commit to knowing all facets of government operations. We don’t need someone making decisions worth millions of dollars who isn’t willing to step into the trenches and really understand what drives the county forward.
While I have not yet served on the county board. Currently, I am a Trustee of Wauconda Village Council, a position I have held since 2017. During my tenure, Wauconda Village Council has completed many major initiatives, including the successful transition to water from the Lake Michigan; approval of a five-year strategic plan; and distributing funds to support local businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Outline your position regarding the county’s spending-revenue balance as it exists today, then outline the major threats that lie ahead and how the county should address them.
No local government unit should ever spend more than expected revenue. This means government entities must save and budget accordingly for major capital purchases that could be three to five years down the road.
Too often, elected officials resort to raising taxes or imposing new taxes because they have not planned or saved for the future.
My biggest area of concern for Lake County right now is the effective use of a large influx of federal money that was received through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, also known as of (CARES) Act, and the American Rescue Plan Act. (ARPA). My concern is that this money will be used to create programs that are not sustainable without future tax increases. The money should be used to help businesses still recovering from the global pandemic, and it can also be spent on key infrastructure investments that would benefit all residents, such as improving roads.
How do you rate the county government on transparency and public access to records? If sufficient, explain why. If you think improvements are needed, outline them.
Public access to the records is progressing rapidly, and the public can find all public records on the county’s website with just a few clicks. Still, the process of applying for and receiving documents from the county, or most local government entities for that matter, can be improved.
As for transparency, the county government could do much better. If all the meetings are recorded and even broadcast on television, it is clear that the “backroom” deals most often associated with the halls of Washington, DC, can also take place in Waukegan.
To cite a recent example, the County Council made drastic changes to the Fire Ordinance, these instituted changes being in direct contrast to the input and feelings of residents. To make matters worse, there was a clear disconnect and deviation from what was agreed in open session versus what eventually made its way into the order, without any reasonable justification or transparency as to why.
What, if anything, needs to be done to improve automation and customer service in county offices? What steps need to be taken to make this happen?
I think the county should implement an online Special Request System (SRS) for all non-emergency requests. Right now, if someone has a question or a complaint, they have to make a phone call and rely on someone to answer their call and properly convey their request. Having an online system that can log the request, route it to the appropriate department, and then give the person requesting service a way to track the status of their request could greatly improve customer service and satisfaction. residents. We have implemented a similar system in the village of Wauconda, and the results so far have been overwhelmingly positive.