Category Archives: Elections Archive

Editorial: The results are in

… And just like that, 2013 Consolidated Election season is over. Kaput. Finito.

Tuesday’s election festivities resulted in some familiar officials staying put in their current position, as well as some new faces hitting the local government scene via big wins at the polls. Here’s what we know:

• A highly competitive, combative village president race in Sugar Grove resulted in incumbent Sean Michels retaining his seat for another four years. Michels, defeated village trustee Kevin Geary by collecting 55.72 percent of the vote.
• Tom Rowe is the new Sugar Grove Township supervisor, thanks to an election performance in which he carried over 44 percent of the vote in a four-man race.
• The Sugar Grove Village Board retained two trustees in Rick Montalto and Robert Bohler, and added a new one in Sean Herron, who outlasted trustee hopefuls Gayle Deja-Schultz and Stephanie Landorf.
• Elburn, too, retained two of its village trustees—Kenneth Anderson Jr. and Jeffrey Walter—and added village plan commissioner Pat Schuberg. Be sure to check out reporter Elburn Herald reporter Susan O’Neill’s write-up of Schuberg on page 1A of this week’s issue.
• Patricia Hill is Kaneville’s next village president, as she edged Rick Peck by just three votes on Tuesday evening. Peck served as interim village president following the passing of Bob Rodney in July 2012.
• Maple Park will have a newcomer on its Village Board, as Lucas Goucher was one of three candidates elected to a four-term position on Tuesday evening. Greg Cutsinger and Terry Borg were also elected to four-year seats in Maple Park.

Commentary follows election
aftermath in Sugar Grove
Michels said he’s excited for the opportunity to serve four more years as Sugar Grove village president.

“It was great to have the support of the rest of the board, and we worked together,” he said. “I think people are tired of the negativity and the complaining. The residents have said that things are progressing in Sugar Grove. We’ve accomplished a lot, and we have a lot more to accomplish as we move forward. I am looking forward to the opportunity. I think my opponent has some fence-mending to do.”

Geary on Tuesday night was gracious in defeat, and noted that he still has two years left in his current term—time that he plans to spend representing Sugar Grove and “being their champion for issues and concerns.”

“A lot of things have been said throughout this campaign, but we’re all Sugar Grove residents, and we need to pull together and make this the world-class community that we desire to make it,” Geary said.

Rowe makes it count
with election night win
What can $600 get you these days? If you’re Tom Rowe, plenty.

That’s the total Rowe spent on his grassroots campaign for Sugar Grove Township supervisor, and it will go down as the best $600 he’s ever spent. Rowe came out way ahead of his three opponents in Tuesday night’s election.

“It’s a big relief (to win the election). I really didn’t know it would come out this way,” Rowe said. “I thought I had a good campaign, and the race was mostly clean and positive. The voters have spoken, and I look forward to beginning a new chapter for Sugar Grove Township.”

On Tuesday morning, it was discovered that someone had tried to burn one of Rowe’s campaign signs.

Anderson, Walter thankful for re-election
Elburn trustee re-elect Kennth Anderson said he’s thankful and blessed to have the support of the residents of the village of Elburn.

“It has been a pleasure to have represented them for the past four years, (and) I look forward to representing them for four more.”

Walter said public service is truly a calling, and even just running takes a huge commitment to your community.

“Elburn is in an incredible position for future growth that needs to be managed properly,” he said. “My commitment to the village is to continue to be the voice of my constituents in managing the village with a sense of fiscal responsibility and an eye toward smart growth.”

Of course, these election results were made possible by residents getting out and hitting the polls. We applaud everyone who made the effort to ensure that their voice was heard this election season, and we hope voter turnout will be even greater next time around.

Until then, farewell 2013 Consolidated Election season. Though our time together was brief, we absolutely enjoyed every second of it.

Mallard Point still an issue of contention for Geary

by Cheryl Borrowdale
SUGAR GROVE—Long-simmering tensions between Village President Sean Michels and his challenger, trustee Kevin Geary, spilled into public view just weeks prior to the April 9 election for Village President.

Geary has accused Michels of arranging “a backroom deal” that caused Mallard Point residents to experience another decade of groundwater problems.

Though Geary ultimately retracted his accusation that Michels and the village had acted illegally after the Village Board approved the public release of minutes from a 2003 executive session at Tuesday night’s Village Board meeting, he continues to maintain that residents have not yet received the truth.

The issue
Geary has long been critical of the village’s handling of drainage problems in the Mallard Point subdivision, which caused flooding in some residents’ basements for years and caused nearby farms to lose acreage to flooding. He originally charged that “a backroom deal” had taken place between Michels; Engineering Enterprises, Inc., a company owned by Michel’s father, Jim Michels; and Village Attorney Peter Wilson.

Geary released hundreds of pages of documents to the Elburn Herald, including a May 19, 2003, letter that released MB Financial, the development bank that completed the troubled subdivision after the original developer abandoned it, from responsibility for completing the bypass storm sewer line. Geary said the agreement led to Mallard Point residents experiencing another decade of flooding and groundwater problems.

“What the village did is a backroom deal without the consent or knowledge of the board members not to have that drainage point put in, (and) this is the result of all the flooding,” Geary said. “What makes it a backroom deal is that in order for this to be a legal maneuver by the village, it has to be brought before the entire Village Board, and the board has to vote on the transaction and it never was. I’ve been on the board for 14 years, and I never saw this until I started digging deeper and deeper.”

Michels dismissed Geary’s claims as “bogus” and a “wild turkey shoot.”

“He’s looking to sensationalize the election,” Michels said. “It’s an election ploy. He’s trailing significantly, so he’s trying to do a Hail Mary … it’s bogus. Why is Kevin coming out with this now? Why just before the election? It makes me upset because there’s nothing to it, but yet Kevin keeps trying to bring something out of it.”

When the board voted on Tuesday to release the minutes from an April 15, 2003, executive session, which discussed the village’s agreement not to continue pressing MB Financial to install the drainage, Geary backed off his accusation that the board’s actions had been illegal, but maintained that the village still refused to take responsibility for failing to ensure the subdivision had proper drainage.

“Maybe I was a bit harsh with that analysis (that the village’s actions were illegal), but I think the residents need to have the truth, the God’s honest truth, of what happened,” he said.

Michels said that Geary’s retraction didn’t surprise him.

“It’s typical of Kevin. He’s usually the first to accuse and the last to get the other side of the story,” Michels said. “Unfortunately, it’s a normal response from Kevin. There’s usually more to the story than what Kevin presents.”

The Mallard Point story
The story of Mallard Point is a complex one.

The subdivision’s original developer, Apex Development Corporation, went bankrupt in 1996 after encountering high groundwater levels in Mallard Point that quickly became an expensive problem. When Apex abandoned the subdivision without installing the necessary drainage or creating the homeowner’s association that was supposed to maintain it, it left behind half-completed houses, residents with flooded basements, farmers with flooded fields and a legal nightmare.

It took 16 years for the issue to get resolved, as a complicated legal standoff took place between the village, the Rob Roy Drainage District, the banks and developers involved, Kane County, the residents and the farmers who lived downstream. Though the 30-inch diameter drainage pipe installed in 2012 resolved the flooding problems for all but a handful of Mallard Point residents, Geary has continued to pursue the issue.

Geary said that there was “something stinky” about the way the village handled the release of MB Financial’s letter of credit in 2003.

The bank came in with the second developer, the James Corporation, and took over the completion of the subdivision in 1996. MB Financial had to submit a letter of credit, guaranteeing the village millions of dollars as security that a list of public improvements, such as roads and sidewalks, would be completed.

When the village released the bank’s letter of credit in 2003 without the bypass storm sewer line being completed, Geary said the village was “deliberately protecting engineering firms, law firms, everybody but the residents.”

Wilson said the charges that he, Michels and the board had acted improperly in releasing MB Financial from completing the bypass storm sewer line are false.

“The question of whether it was a secret thing is baloney,” Wilson said.
The newly released minutes from the April 15, 2003, executive session show that the board met in closed session to discuss threatened litigation from MB Financial—a meeting that was perfectly legal—and that no action was taken in that session.

Wilson explained in an interview that the terms of MB Financial’s letter of credit did not require the bank to complete the drainage line—that responsibility still belonged to Apex, the original developer—but that the village had tried to “strong arm” the bank into completing it anyway by refusing to release its letter of credit.

For a time this appeared to work and MB Financial completed about two-thirds of the drainage line, but when the bank ran into groundwater from an underground aquifer that escalated the cost, it refused to go further and threatened to sue the village unless its letter of credit was released. The village had no choice but to comply, Wilson said, and the May 19, 2003, letter—the one that Geary originally alleged was evidence of “a backroom deal”—documents that acknowledgement to MB Financial.

“They had an absolute right to have that letter released once they completed (everything required by the letter),” Wilson said. “(The board) couldn’t take action in the executive session, and they didn’t have to take action in the open session until the bank asked to have the letter of credit released. The drain tile was not covered by the letter of credit, and everybody knew that at the time. The village knew it, Kevin knew it and the bank knew it.”

The minutes from the 2003 executive session show that Michels asked whether the work had to be completed, and Village Engineer Dave Burroughs of EEI said no, that the drainage work was part of the Rob Roy Drainage District and that not fixing it would only affect the wetland area.

“This drainage area does not affect the current subdivision,” the notes record Burroughs as saying. “Fixing it will not alleviate the sump pumps that run continuously in the Mallard Point subdivision.”

Geary was absent from the meeting that night.

Discord on the board
Village trustee Mari Johnson, who is supporting Michels in the election, said that Geary’s allegations were false and upsetting.

She pointed out that the board had reviewed the release of the letter of credit in open session on Sept. 2 and Sept. 16, 2003, before releasing it, and that Geary had seconded the motion to release the letter of credit.

“When trustee Geary does these things, he’s impugning the integrity of our board, our engineer, our lawyer, every member on the board,” Johnson said. “He’s pointing the finger at himself—he is the village. He wants the people to think that he is on the outside. He keeps saying, ‘the village, the village, the village.’ You cannot serve on the board for 14 years, vote yes on everything, and then make yourself out to be an outsider.”

Johnson said she found Geary’s accusations personally offensive.

“I don’t understand why he’s making this an election issue, and he’s impugned my integrity, because I am the village, and I am not happy about it. If I was sitting on that board and thought that it was not right, I wouldn’t vote yes. I’m upset. Why would you try to make a board that you’ve been part of all this time look bad? What does he have to gain from this? I feel like I’m fed up. Enough is enough.”

Geary was not at the April 15, 2003, executive session and said that he had been misled into thinking that the drainage issues had been resolved at the board meeting on Sept. 16, 2003. The minutes from that meeting show that Geary inquired whether the retention pond at Mallard Point was operating as it was designed to; Burroughs answered that it was. Had he known the drainage issues had not been resolved, Geary said that he never would have voted to release the letter of credit.

“I specifically asked about the drainage, and I wanted to know if the drainage system was working properly so that people’s basements didn’t flood, and I was told yes. So I guess shame on me for not inquiring as to whether, prior to that meeting, there was an executive meeting, and shame on me for not knowing that there was. But that still doesn’t excuse the village for not providing full information at the meeting about the plan to not have the bank put that pipe in.”

He said that even though the board had released the minutes from the 2003 executive session, it still did not answer the question of responsibility.

“So the bank is released from liability for putting that pipe in, so who is responsible?” Geary asked. “If the village was asleep at the wheel and forgot to have the drainage pipe put in the letter of credit, then I believe that the village would be responsible, but then the village got a letter from EEI stating that the pipe didn’t need to go in.”

Michels said that the village had done all it could do to resolve the drainage problems.

“I think the board has done everything in its power to help the residents of Mallard Point and to represent all the residents that it serves,” he said.

The real problem, Michels said, was that Geary simply didn’t remember the details about what happened 10 years ago.

“Kevin is lying in the fact that he says he did not know anything about it. He just probably forgot, but it was approved in open session,” Michels said. “We’ve never done anything to jeopardize the public’s trust in the government. We did not do anything illegal, that’s why we have a council and a village clerk and we keep everything public. I think Kevin’s just not realizing or remembering what actually happened. It wouldn’t be the first time … Kevin has a pretty selective memory.”

Michels also pointed out that he has recused himself from voting on any contract involving EEI to prevent conflicts of interest, but that Geary had voted in favor of every proposal put before the board involving EEI.

Claims of secrecy
Geary also said that the village had withheld documents about Mallard Point from him and that, even as a trustee, he needed to submit Freedom of Information Act requests in order to get copies of emails, letters and other documents related to Mallard Point.

Trustee Rick Montalto said that Geary had been gathering documents about Mallard Point from the village for a long time and was unwilling to let the Mallard Point issue go.

“I know Kevin, I get along with him. I know Sean, I get along with him,” Montalto said. “Any (documents) we want, we can pretty much get. Kevin felt that something was being kept from him personally; he thinks that there’s some big conspiracy theory. He was given all of the emails (between Village officials about Mallard Point), and repeatedly I’ve heard the village attorney say that he’s gotten everything.”

Geary said that all he wanted was the truth.

“I’m all about the truth. If we can get down to what the truth of this matter is, then I’ll be happy,” he said. “I think the village owes it to every one of those residents down in Mallard Point. I still feel that even through this, with the release of the information, we haven’t gotten to the truth. There’s still not a complete picture of what went on down there.”

Geary also countered Johnson’s assertion that he was the village.

“While I have been elected to serve on the board, I am not the village. I am a representative of the people. If that makes me an outcast or someone who is not part of that group, so be it,” he said.

Blackberry Township Supervisor

Two candidates will challenge for the seat of Blackberry Township supervisor on April 9

Fred Dornback
Fred Dornback, by his own account, hasn’t been active in partisan politics, but has donated to state representatives and Kane County Board members. He believes that local government races should be non-partisan, which is one of the reasons why he announced his candidacy for Blackberry Township supervisor prior to the Republican caucus.

Dornback, 73, holds Master of Science and Bachelor of Science degrees from Illinois State University, and has over 60 additional advance degree credits in psychology and administration. He has been a licensed clinical psychologist in the state of Illinois since 1975. And as an administrator in both public and private schools, he feels he’s successfully managed both budgets and people.

Dornback and his wife, Mary, are active in assisting neighbors and friends with medical needs, snow clearance, meals, general handyman work, etc. Fred is also a founding member and current board member of LivingWell Cancer Resource Center in Geneva, and has volunteered at Hessed House in Aurora for many years.

Fred served as a volunteer for the first three years of his appointment as superintendent/sexton of Blackberry Township Cemetery. He now receives a stipend to serve as sexton, but the majority of time he spends sorting cemetery records and updating the database is still on a volunteer basis.

Fred defines the role of supervisor as the chief executive office of the township—someone who chairs the board of trustees.

“The supervisor also administers the general assistance program, and is the treasurer of all town funds,” he said. “I intend to be a good steward of township resources and be available to learn about township needs, and work to respond to those needs within the resources of the township,” he said.

Fred decided to run for township supervisor because he believes he offers the combination of professional training and experience that the township “needs and deserves.”

“My day-to-day participation in the township affairs allows me to have a unique perspective,” he said. “I observed the position of supervisor being influenced by partisan politics rather than listening to the wishes of the people. I think the supervisor should be available on a regular basis to encourage the public to share its views.”

Fred has attended every Blackberry Township meeting since 2007, and has been elected the township moderator at the annual township meeting for over 10 years.

If elected, Fred’s priorities as supervisor would include working with the board, highway commissioner and public to develop a long-term solution to deteriorating roads.

“I see the issue as the people’s roads and the people’s choice,” he said.

Fred also wants to create a series of education sessions at board and town meetings to learn the community’s priorities, and hopes to improve the efficiency of the supervisor’s office by depositing all checks on a daily basis and having regular hours, as well as hours by appointment, to encourage community participation.

“I plan to offer the public, at little or no cost to the township, a series of program options, particularly for seniors,” he said.

He plans to achieve his goals through a tried and true method.

“Listen, ask, discuss, propose, plan, implement and review,” he said.

Dennis C. Ryan
Dennis C. Ryan will challenge for the seat of Blackberry Township supervisor on the April 9 General Election ballot.

Ryan, 66, is currently the chairman of Western Kane County Republicans. He has served as Republican committeeman of Blackberry Pct. 3, and secretary for the Western Kane County Republican Organization.

Ryan’s community involvement includes service as president, vice president and board member of the Elburn Town and Country Library. He’s also assisted with Elburn Ambulance Service and served as a volunteer firefighter for Kaneville.

Ryan said he wants the seat of township supervisor in order to be of further service to his community.

“I have experience from operating two small businesses (to) various jobs in the working world and community service,” he said. “My life has been one of practical experience and problem solving in many situations.”

If elected, Ryan’s top priorities as township supervisor would include continuing the policies that “have kept Blackberry Township government within its budget, as those before me have done.”

Ryan would also seek additional funding from outside sources to maintain and repair township roads, as he said the township only has funds to repave a mile of road per year and remain within its budget. He will also look into the possible future expansion of Blackberry Cemetery, as more space will be needed as the population of Blackberry Township grows.

Ryan plans to achieve his goals via investigation of alternative solutions to get the jobs done without adding to the property tax burden of Blackberry Township residents.

“This includes cooperation with other governmental bodies whenever possible,” he said.

Ryan said his ideal ordinance would be one that requires all new subdivisions located in unincorporated areas of the township to have names after local geographic features, and “all new streets established within them to be named for families or persons with local historic significance, as Elburn is currently doing.”

Elburn Fire Protection trustee

Two candidates will vie for a seat on the Elburn Fire Protection Trustee Board

Steve Fuller
Steve Fuller is one of two candidates challenging for an open trustee seat on the Elburn Fire Protection District Board on April 9.

Fuller’s education includes an associates degree in applied science and environmental control from Waubonsee Community College, training at the Illinois Fire Service Institute, and fire officer training at the National Fire Academy in Emmitsburg, Md. He’s also an Illinois State Commercial Driver’s License examiner for fire apparatus drivers.

Fuller, 62, is currently employed by the Kane County Regional Office of Education as a health and life safety Inspector for all Kane County public schools.

As a former fire marshal and assistant fire chief, Fuller was active with the Safety Town Program and many other public education forums on fire safety. He performed a public service of reviewing building and fire codes, ensuring that all new construction and current buildings in the community were safe from fire. And he’s a current member of the St. Charles Firefighter Pension Fund Board of Trustees.

Fuller defines the role of Fire Protection District trustee as a board member who is respectable, and a responsible fiduciary to the citizen taxpayers of the Fire Protection District.

“As a former fire command officer, I realize a commitment to the basic principles of providing emergency services to the community,” he said. “‘Protection’ represents a wide range of emergency services the fire department provides to protect its citizens. These include fire suppression, rescue, emergency medical services, and other essential operations—all in the name of reducing the loss of life and the incidents and effects of fire.”

He feels he can make a difference in assisting citizens in making decisions concerning Elburn’s fire protection.

“I will assist citizens in making decisions concerning budgets; fire protection officials must accurately describe the effect on total cost if additional or fewer resources are applied to particular prevention or suppression efforts,” Fuller said. “If elected, I will do my best to see (that) this happens during my term.”

Fuller said he has an extensive background in all matters relating to fire service and municipal government. He retired after spending 38 years in the fire service, rising through the ranks to the position of assistant fire chief. And during his career, he was appointed to the fire marshal position, responsible for code administration and fire investigations.

“I served as the Fire Department’s operations officer, training division and support services, where I was in charge of managing the specifications and acceptance service testing of all new fire apparatus. and the maintenance of station facilities,” he said. “My record of exemplary service speaks for itself.”

If elected, Fuller’s top priorities will include expanding the Fire District’s Board of Trustees to a five-member panel.

“The action will allow for better business to be conducted on important matters related to the district,” he said.

Additionally, Fuller wants to study the effects of future growth issues facing the Elburn Fire Protection District—issues that, in his words, will be “a real concern when the economy improves.” He also notes the need to improve response times to the Fire District in the northwest area.

“I am not surprised about the many complaints generated from the far west areas of the district,” he said. “Residents pay a substantial amount of money for fire and ambulance service, and expect arrival of emergency equipment within a reasonable time frame.“

In order to achieve such goals, Fuller said he’ll need better cooperation with neighboring departments for mutual aid, while entertaining a study for a future land purchase suitable in the northwest region of the Fire District.

“The goal is to improve emergency response times and continue to educate the community on fire safety,” he said.

Elburn Fire Protection District trustee candidate James Childress did not reply to the Elburn Herald’s election questionnaire.

Kaneville Twp. Hwy. commissioner

Two candidates on April 9 will challenge for the position of Kaneville Township highway commissioner.

Dennis Long
Kaneville Township Highway Commissioner Dennis Long will seek re-election on April 9.

Long, 70, is a Kaneland High School graduate and a farmer, and is a member of Kaneville United Methodist Church.

He defines the role of highway commissioner as maintaining and repairing township roads and bridges and keeping them clear of snow and ice, as well as mowing ditches and keeping them free of debris.

“I have lived in Kaneville my whole life, and I care about the township,” he said. “My qualifications make me the best candidate (for the position).”

Long has years of experience with the position, and he’s self-employed, which he said allows him to fully commit to serving as highway commissioner.

If re-elected, his top priorities for the township would include road work in the Pineview and Kaneland Estates subdivisions (specifically blacktop seal), roof improvements on township buildings to preserve machinery, and an update of the surface on Schrader Road.

Long wants to seal as many roads as possible to “preserve them from moisture.”

“Kaneville Township’s tax money only allows for one-half mile of new blacktopped roads per year,” he said.

Long’s ultimate goal for the township is to limit the amount of weight allowed on roads in order to prevent destruction.

Dale Pierson
Kaneville Township highway commissioner candidate Dale Pierson, 57, is the definition of a local guy. He graduated from Kaneland High School, received an associate degree in ag mechanics from Kishwaukee Community College, and serves on the Kaneville Plan Commission.

Pierson is a retired Kaneville firefighter, and has also served on the village’s Memorial Day Committee, and as a cemetery trustee.

He defines the role of highway commissioner as “overseeing and maintaining roads in the township,” and said he’s always had a desire to help the community.

“I can fulfill all the duties as required,” he said.

If elected to the position, Pierson’s top priorities for the township would include snowplowing and salting to keep township roads safe and clear, maintaining roads and mowing ditches on a timely basis, and working with other highway departments to help keep costs down.

He plans on achieving his goals by working with the township board on cost-effective measures. He defines his ultimate goal as finding “better cooperation between Kaneville’s village and township on highway issues.”

SG Fire Protection District trustee

John Guddendorf Jr.
John Guddendorf Jr. is one of three candidates who will seek a Sugar Grove Fire Protection District trustee seat on April 9.

Guddendorf, 53, has over 34 years of experience working with local government and municipalities in the transportation field.

“During that time, I gained experience in bringing projects to completion on time and within budget, problem solving and working with others to resolve everyday issues in a timely fashion,” he said.

If elected, Guddendorf’s top priorities as a Fire Protection District trustee will include maintaining a balanced budget and present services, and addressing long-range planning. He said he wouldn’t support the freezing of his district’s tax levy as a way to cope with the struggling housing market.

“While the popular vote may be to freeze the levy in this depressed economy, expenses for the Fire District continue to increase,” he said.

Guddendorf said that, in order to assure continuation of critical services at required levels, the Fire District must have access to adequate resources to provide life safety services, maintain equipment, provide continuing training for personnel and retain skilled staff.

Guddendorf is seeking the trustee position because he believes the Fire District has done a good job of using village tax dollars as efficiently as possible, and he wants that to continue.

“l have lived in the township for over 40 years and have volunteered many hours to local organizations,” he said. “I would like the opportunity to serve the community as a trustee for the Fire District.”

Sugar Grove Fire Protection District trustee candidates David Linden and Cheryl Wojciechowski did not reply to the Elburn Herald’s election questionnaire.

SG Township Supervisor

Four candidates are seeking the seat of Sugar Grove township supervisor.

Tom Rowe
Former Sugar Grove Township clerk and current trustee Tom Rowe is a candidate for the position of township supervisor on the April 9 General Election ballot.

Rowe holds a Bachelor of Science in recreation administration from George Williams College, and was Warrenville Park District’s superintendent of recreation from 2007 to 2012. He’s also an inaugural member of St. Katherine Drexel Catholic Church in Sugar Grove.

Rowe views the position of township supervisor as the chief executive officer of the township. He said a supervisor, as treasurer of the township and road district funds, has numerous financial reporting responsibilities, as townships are the governmental entities charged with three basic functions: general assistance for the needy, the assessment of real property for the basis of local taxation, and the maintenance of all roads and bridges outside federal, state and other local jurisdiction.

“Township government may provide other vital services to their residents, including senior citizen programs, youth programs, assistance to the disabled, parks and recreational facilities, health services, local transportation, open space and cemetery maintenance,” Rowe said.

Rowe recently retired from the field of parks and recreation after 36 years, and decided to run for the position vacated by former township supervisor Dan Nagel in October 2012. In terms of qualifications, Rowe is the longest-serving member currently on the Township Board, and he has worked in the public sector and local government his entire career, having held various positions at the supervisory and management level.

“(I’ve) worked face to face with many community groups, organizations and taxpayers, and understand their needs and concerns,” he said.

If elected, Rowe’s top priorities on the Township Board would include supporting and expanding youth and senior services at the Township Senior Center and Community House through collaboration with the Park District, Public Library, Waubonsee Community College and other local agencies and non-profit organizations.

Rowe wants to automate township operations to make information and services more accessible residents while improving transparency and accountability. He also intends to collaborate with other Sugar Grove taxing bodies to determine interest on a joint purchase of the Prairie Glen property as a future sports complex.

“With the uncertainty of the current Sugar Grove Sports Complex on Wheeler Road, it is important to communicate with other partners in Sugar Grove to explore future options,” he said.

Rowe plans to achieve his goal via open and honest communication with residents, and goals that are achievable and affordable. He also wants to strategize and plan accordingly by incorporating projects into the annual budget, and review goals and check progress regularly, making adjustments when necessary.

Curt Karas
Sugar Grove Township supervisor candidate Curt Karas has worked the past 20 years as a business and tax consultant for small- to medium-sized companies—the past 10 in investment advisory services.

Karas holds a MBA from Northern Illinois University, earned his Certified Public Accountant (CPA) degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and has a bachelor’s degree in accounting, business and marketing from Carthage College in Kenosha, Wisc. In terms of community involvement, Karas has coached youth baseball for six years and football for five years, and has served as a Cub Scout leader for four years.

Karas believes the role of township supervisor is meant to efficiently and effectively manage the operations of the township, improve and maintain internal controls over township assets, provide the current level of services delegated to the township, and investigate alternatives for the future needs of township taxpayers.

“I would like to be more involved in the community,” Karas said. “For the past 20 years I concentrated on raising my two sons. I enjoy helping people and businesses become successful. I believe my experience with private sector business can be just as useful in the public sector.”

Karas believes he is an ideal candidate for the supervisor position because he has interest in the functions of the township, and is “enlightened with the opportunity of meeting township management.”

“With the knowledge gained from their experiences and from my education and business background, I believe I can be a successful township supervisor,” he said.

If elected, Karas’ top priorities for the township would include development of an accounting system that accurately represents each township department’s monthly operations, assets and liabilities. He also wants to provide township trustees with in-depth information on monthly operations and allow them to make cost-effective decisions.

“The accounting system would also allow each department to create more accurate budgets,” Karas said. “These budgets will be used to identify overlapping expenses, which could be corrected, reducing property taxes.”

Scott Jesseman
Sugar Grove Township trustee Scott Jesseman will look to make the jump to the role of township supervisor on April 9.

The owner of Prairie Fence and Landscape Co., Jesseman holds a degree in business management from Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. He has served on two drainage districts in Sugar Grove, and has also volunteered his time to many area groups and causes over the past 20 years.

“My contributions range from loaning equipment for projects to donating materials—and a lot of personal hours—to better our community,” he said. “I seek to add wherever and whenever I am able.”

Jesseman said he wants to get the township’s accounting in order and make the process transparent and fiscally responsible.

“I plan to reduce the levy for the township,” he said. “Currently there is a large surplus, and we need not tax people more to increase a surplus.”

Jesseman believes he is an ideal candidate for the supervisor position because he can “unify the bodies of local government to optimize services for residents.”

“A strong board, participation by all members and input from residents to build consensus will achieve these goals,” he said.

According to Jesseman, the supervisor role is one component of the township democracy, and leadership to uphold our principles and values is crucial to good management of the township.

“The township consists of a supervisor and a board, and a vote needs to occur before action and expenditures.”

Township supervisor candidate Harry Davis did not reply back to the Elburn Herald’s election questionnaire.

Virgil Twp. Hwy. commissioner

Two candidates vie for the seat of Virgil Township highway commissioner on April 9.

Larry Peterson
Virgil Township Highway Commissioner Larry Peterson will run for re-election on April 9.

Peterson, 59, has served as highway commissioner for the past eight years. He also notched 17 years of experience working as an emergency medical technician and firefighter for the Maple Park Fire Department.

Peterson said that, as highway commissioner, it is important to maintain safe roads year-round, as well as mow ditches, remove tree and brush, and keep road signs updated and in good condition.

“As highway commissioner, it’s important to stay within the road district budget,” he said.

Peterson wants to see township tax dollars spent sensibly to improve roads. He believes he is an ideal candidate for highway commissioner because he has eight years of experience working within the road district budget to improve roads and keep township equipment updated.

If re-elected, Peterson wants to focus on upgrading the township’s gravel roads, placing new wearing surface on the township’s four subdivision roads, and continuing work on brush clearing and drainage ditch issues.

“This must be done with diligent use of taxpayer money,” he said.

Peterson said he is happy with the township’s style of government.

“It is the form of government that is closest to the people, and also the most transparent to the taxpayers,” he said.

Peter Fabrizius
Peter Fabrizius will challenge for the seat of Virgil Township highway commissioner on April 9.

Fabrizius, 55, is a business owner, and has served as a Virgil Township trustee for over 20 years. He is a member of Grace United Methodist Church in Maple Park, Kane County 4-H Foundation, Kane County 4-H Blue Ribbon Sale Committee, Township Officials of Kane County, Township Officials of Illinois, Kane County Farm Bureau and Maple Park Lions Club. He also volunteers with the Elburn Lions Club.

He believes a highway commissioner is responsible for construction, maintenance and repair of roads within the district, and should oversee contracts, employ labor, and purchase materials and machinery.

Fabrizius said it’s the right time in his personal life for him to commit the time and talent necessary for the responsibility of highway commissioner.

“I am a third-generation resident of Virgil Township, and I travel the roads on a daily basis. I have 20 years experience as a trustee on the Township Board, overseeing the day-to-day and short- and long-term operations of Virgil Township,” he said. “As a business owner, I also bring a strong background in both labor and maintenance management skills to this position.”

If elected, Fabrizius will focus on the condition of township roads, achieving fiscal responsibility by working within the parameters of the budget, and using a common-sense approach to the tasks at hand, as well as prioritizing projects and keeping lines of communication open to the people served.

Fabrizius said he also wants to eliminate deficit spending and make all tiers of government—national, state and local—have to be held to the same level of fiscal responsibility as township government.

Kaneville Twp. supervisor

Two candidates will vie for the Kaneville Township supervisor seat on April 9.

Dan Ebert
Kaneville Township Supervisor Dan Ebert will seek re-election on April 9.

Ebert, 65, has served as Fire Board trustee, president, secretary and treasurer, township trustee and supervisor. He’s a past chairman of Country Evangelical Covenant Church, and has served as a Kaneville volunteer firefighter and emergency medical technician, as well as a fire investigator for Kane County. He’s also a member of the “Good Ol’ Boys Gospel Singers” group.

Ebert defines the role of township supervisor as a CEO.

“Township supervisors are responsible for all of the funds that come into the township and the General Assistance Program, and (they) run the township board meeting,” he said.

Ebert was appointed to the position of township supervisor after the passing of former Kaneville Township supervisor Leon Gramley, and said he wants to serve another term to complete some projects that have begun during his time as township supervisor.

Should he realize re-election, Ebert’s top priorities as township supervisor will include ensuring that the township remain financially sound, and continuing to make improvements to the Kaneville Community Center. He also wants to encourage residents to attend board meetings and get involved in local government.

“The taxpayers trust us with their money; we must use it wisely,” he said.

Ebert plans to achieve his goals through hard work while serving the residents of Kaneville Township.

Kaneville Township supervisor candidate Alvah Withey did not reply back to the Elburn Herald’s election questionnaire.

Kaneville Twp. supervisor

Two candidates will vie for the Kaneville Township supervisor seat on April 9.

Dan Ebert
Kaneville Township Supervisor Dan Ebert will seek re-election on April 9.

Ebert, 65, has served as Fire Board trustee, president, secretary and treasurer, township trustee and supervisor. He’s a past chairman of Country Evangelical Covenant Church, and has served as a Kaneville volunteer firefighter and emergency medical technician, as well as a fire investigator for Kane County. He’s also a member of the “Good Ol’ Boys Gospel Singers” group.

Ebert defines the role of township supervisor as a CEO.

“Township supervisors are responsible for all of the funds that come into the township and the General Assistance Program, and (they) run the township board meeting,” he said.

Ebert was appointed to the position of township supervisor after the passing of former Kaneville Township supervisor Leon Gramley, and said he wants to serve another term to complete some projects that have begun during his time as township supervisor.

Should he realize re-election, Ebert’s top priorities as township supervisor will include ensuring that the township remain financially sound, and continuing to make improvements to the Kaneville Community Center. He also wants to encourage residents to attend board meetings and get involved in local government.

“The taxpayers trust us with their money; we must use it wisely,” he said.

Ebert plans to achieve his goals through hard work while serving the residents of Kaneville Township.

Kaneville Township supervisor candidate Alvah Withey did not reply back to the Elburn Herald’s election questionnaire.

Kaneville Village President

Two candidates will vie for the Kaneville Village President seat on April 9.

Rick Peck
Kaneville interim Village President Rick Peck will seek to make his position official on April 9.

Peck was elected to the Village Board as a trustee in 2009, and then nominated to serve as interim village president following the passing of former village president Bob Rodney in July 2012.

Peck has worked as an engineering supervisor and manager for a telecommunications manufacturing corporation the past 10 years. He holds an Associate of Arts degree from Harper College in Palatine, Ill., as well as additional education in accounting from DeVry University.

Peck said that, since taking the role of interim village president last July, he has begun to personally experience the importance of the leadership role.

“I have been a successful leader in my career, and know that I can accomplish the same as village president,” he said. “In the last four years as trustee and president, I have worked to successfully implement solutions to difficult tasks.”

Peck believes there’s a good reason why he was chosen by the board to serve as interim village present.

“I have shown from the previous three years that I am the one best suited for this job. I have always worked well with others, have trained others, been trained/mentored by others, and have led successful teams of over 70 members,” he said.

If elected, Peck’s top priorities on the board would include addressing the current condition of village sidewalks, as well as repairing village roads and planning for any future repairs.

“The (sidewalk) replacement can be quite costly, so I have been seeking local and federal grants to assist in this area,” he said. “The village will also have to contribute to this, so we will have to carefully plan based on allotted funds.”

Peck also wants to seek continuance of the Local Government Distributive Fund.

“This is a critical part to our revenue to assist us in serving our community,” he said.

In order to achieve his goals, Peck plans to continue seeking grants where possible.

“We also maintain zero debt, so we will continue to work in this aspect and to provide what our community needs,” he said.

Patricia Hill
Patricia Hill has served on the Kaneville Village Board since 2006. She’ll look to make the jump to village president on the April 9 General Election ballot.

Hill owns Hill’s Country Store (aka “The Purple Store”) in Kaneville. She served on the Kaneville Cemetery Board and Memorial Day Committee, and is currently a member of the Kaneville Historical Society. She assists in the organization of Kaneville Fest and Christmas in Kaneville, and helped raise money for the remodeling of the Kaneville Public Library.

And as if Hill wasn’t involved enough in her community, she supports the Kaneland School District, KYSO Soccer and Kaneville Baseball, and was instrumental in rejuvenating Kaneville’s Dean Downen Baseball Fields at the Kaneville Community Center.

Hill said she’s proud to serve the people of Kaneville and its surrounding communities. She also initiated the village’s Neighborhood Watch program.

“The job of village president is one that is of leadership, responsibility and for the good of the people in the town. It also involves fiscal responsibility to its citizens,” she said. “I care about the town of Kaneville and its future. I want to keep it small-town America.”

Hill said that, as someone who has served as village trustee since Kaneville was incorporated in 2006, she has been a part of the organizing and implementary stages of the village.

As an owner of a small business that is, in her words, an “integral part of the community,” she feels she is in the unique position of hearing first hand from the citizens of Kaneville what is of importance to them.

“My experience with operating the business and organizing various community events and functions has helped me to prepare to hold the position of village president,” she said.

Should she be elected village president, Hill said her top priorities would include addressing the United States Postal Service’s post plan, which has reduced the Kaneville Post Office’s operating hours.

“(I want to) stop the eventual closing of our post office and bring back regular postal hours,” she said. “I would plan to address this issue by continuing to solicit the help of our Congressman Randy Hultgren, Senator Dick Durbin, and anyone in the postal service who has any authority.”

Hill said she will also address repairs to village roads and cul-de-sacs by continuing to save money and completing them in stages as funds become available.

Sidewalk repairs are also on Hill’s agenda.

“We are currently working on applying for a grant to help pay for the sidewalks, but we still have to continue to put money aside in our yearly appropriations to someday fully fund this project,” she said.

WCC District Trustee

Five candidates will vie for two open seats on the WCC Board.

Richard Dickson
Richard Dickson has an exhaustive amount of experience in public service, having sat on Waubonsee Community College’s Board Trustees for over 30 years, Bristol-Kendall Fire Protection District as a trustee for over 25 years, and the Kendall County 911 Executive Board since its inception. He’s also served as a local church trustee for over 50 years.

Dickson is a graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and holds a teaching certificate from Northern Illinois University. A retired insurance executive and former partner of Zeiter-Dickson Insurance Agency, he believes the role of WCC trustee is to approve the college’s policies and hire a high-quality president, administration, faculty and staff to effectively run the college.

“I believe everyone should give selfless public service to their community,” he said.

If re-elected, Dickson’s priorities on the board will include providing students with educational courses of their choice so they have job opportunities upon graduation. He also wants to navigate the state’s financial crisis by developing budgets to keep the college solvent, and plans to address Obamacare by trying to accommodate the Health Care Responsibility Act while keeping costs to a minimum.

Michael Konen
Former Drainage District commissioner Michael Konen will seek a seat on the Waubonsee Community College Board of Trustees on April 9.

“I feel that the position of trustee is just that. A trustee is put in a position of having the trust of the community to use their assets wisely,” he said. “The trustee should always represent the voice of the community on all of the board issues and decisions.”

Konen feels that Waubonsee could increase operating efficiency, and said that by expanding current programs and creating new ones, the college could help the community with employment opportunities and workforce development.

Konen gained fiscal experience from running his own business and operating a farm in the Sugar Grove community for over 30 years. In addition, he has 13 years of work experience at Waubonsee Community College, beginning with a part-time second shift custodian and then moving to full-time first shift custodian and ultimately a full-time maintenance mechanic position, which exposed him to each department and its functions on three out of four WCC campuses.

If elected, Konen’s top priorities on the board would include increasing operating efficiency of WCC in order to help keep taxes at a minimum; collaborating with other board members, administrators, local and state agencies and community members to create more employment opportunities for students; and enhancing and facilitating communication between board members and the community.

“I plan to achieve my goals by cooperating and collaborating with the other board members, staff, students and input from community members,” he said.

Emmett Bonfield
Waubonsee Community College Board candidate Emmett Bonfield has a very simple definition for the role of trustee: supervise and direct the operation of the college.

As a former Waubonsee student, Bonfield believes he has life experience and practical ways to improve the education experience.

“I am the best candidate because I want to try new solutions to improve the degree completion rate,” Bonfield said. “I want to develop programs so students are job ready. I want to study the financial cost so taxpayers get the best possible value for education.”

As a board trustee, Bonfield’s top priorities would include improving degree completion through new creative programs, getting students work-ready by graduation and creating value to the taxpayer.

Bonfield plans to achieve his goals the old fashioned way: through cooperation with the board and employers.

Trustee candidates Richard Bodie and Isaac “Count De Money” Wilson did not reply to the Elburn Herald’s election questionnaire.

Proposition to increase the limiting rate of the Blackberry Township Road District

Blackberry TWP.—A referendum on the April 9 General Election ballot will ask Blackberry Township residents to vote on whether to increase the township road district’s limiting tax rate from 16.5 cents per $100 EAV (equalized assessed valuation) to 30.26 cents.

If the referendum passes, the impact of the tax levy increase on a homeowner of a $300,000 home would be an additional $140 in property taxes per year, or just under $12 a month.

Blackberry Township Highway Commissioner Rod Feece last month said the tax rate has been the same for 35 years, and at the current pace of overlaying one to one-and-a-half miles of road per year, the township has been “falling further and further behind.”

The township consists of 58 miles of road, 52 of which are blacktop, with six still in gravel. Feece said he hopes to increase the number of miles of blacktop maintained per year to five or six.

Although the township has been successful in obtaining multiple grants, the money had to be used for specific purposes, such as $210,000 to bridges and $40,000 to build a new barn. Feece said he does not plan to hire any additional people, nor will he use the money to purchase extra machinery.

“Everything extra will go to paving,” he said.

Approximately 75 percent of the village of Elburn is within the township, as well as a small portion of North Aurora.

Shall video gaming be allowed in Sugar Grove?

Sugar Grove—An advisory referendum on the April 9 General Election ballot will ask Sugar Grove residents to vote on whether to allow video gambling machines in the village.

The Village Board on Jan. 10 voted 4-2 to approve temporary use of video gaming machines in Sugar Grove, with the understanding that the issue would appear on the April 9 ballot in the form of a non-binding referendum.

If the referendum fails to pass, the license for use of the machines will be revoked.

“The people on both sides of the (video gaming) issue are very passionate, but most of the people do not seem to have an interest one way or the other in video gaming,” Village President Sean Michels told the Elburn Herald last month. “I believe the public will decide if gaming is popular or not by whether they visit the establishments that have gaming. (Otherwise), they avoid those places that have gaming.”

Michels said he does not condone video gaming, but is in favor of video gaming to help local businesses survive.

The Elburn Village Board in late March passed an ordinance allowing video gaming machines in Elburn establishments that serve liquor.

Sugar Grove Library Board trustee

Two candidates and one write-in candidate will vie for two six-year term seats on the Sugar Grove Library Board

Edward DeBartolo
Edward DeBartolo is a library advocate who will seek a six-year trustee seat on the Sugar Grove Library Board on April 9.

DeBartolo, 75, is a barber who believes the role of Library Board trustee is to make sure the library can be the very best it can be for Sugar Grove Library patrons.

DeBartolo said he chose to pursue the trustee seat after hearing of a vacancy (former board trustee Julie Wilson’s seat) on the board.

“I decided that I could contribute my time and efforts to making our library as strong as it can be for our Library District,” he said.

DeBartolo believes the Sugar Grove Public Library is the “best-kept secret” in the local community, and said his marketing background with the State of Illinois Lottery could help the Library Board get the word out to its Library District regarding library operation, programs and services.

“I am also a resident who lives in the section of Montgomery that is in the Sugar Grove Library District,” he said. “This community connection could be good for our library in many ways, such as communication, inclusiveness and, hopefully, new patrons.”

If elected, DeBartolo said his priorities on the Library Board will include marketing, finances and the “library collection of all materials.”

“On all three of these priorities, I would first like the opportunity to work with the present board and the library director to understand fully where the library is currently positioned on each of these three items,” he said. “This will help give me a thorough understanding of the history and current status of each area so I can establish my own action plan.”

DeBartolo said he’d like to also go through the minutes of the last few years to make sure he’s up to date on the board’s past activities and future projects.

“I would then outline a strategy to help me work along with my fellow trustees,” he said. “I, of course, will always talk to library patrons to find out what they like and dislike about the library functions.”

If given the choice to write, pass and implement any ordinance, DeBartolo said he’d target funding.

“I would also like for every local business and local community group to know that if they have a meeting or an event for their group, the library is the place to conduct it, because the library has beautiful meeting rooms, current technology and, hopefully, a wonderful coffee shop to help them with refreshments.”

Pat Graceffa
Pat Graceffa will pursue a six-year-term seat on the Sugar Grove Library Board on April 9.

As a community figure, Graceffa really needs no introduction. She’s a library advocate, founder of the Sugar Grove Library Friends, serves on the Corn Boil committee, assists with the Sugar Grove Farmers Market, and even send out an electronic community newsletter to village residents.

Graceffa, 62, said she understands that a library director provides for the day-to-day operation of the library, and a library trustee is responsible to the taxpayers of the Sugar Grove Library District for all governance and policy-making decisions associated with the administration of the library.

“To be effective in fulfilling those responsibilities, a trustee must establish a close working relationship with the town’s library director, the library’s staff, the municipal officials of the town and the library’s users,” she said.

According to Graceffa, major responsibilities of a trustee include: short- and long-range plans, setting budgets, approving policies and plans, approving the library’s goals and objectives, evaluating progress toward the achievement of those goals and objectives, complying with all laws and regulations affecting public libraries, understanding the community’s needs and addressing the strengths and weaknesses of the services offered by the library.

“It is a very serious job that requires numerous skills and proficiencies,” she said.

Graceffa describes herself as a “lifelong user and supporter of the public library system, and said the library symbolizes the freedom citizens have in this country to form their own ideas, learn different points of view, speak their minds freely and read whatever it is they desire with no explanation ever required.

“I want a strong library in our district forever, and for everyone to use or not use—their choice,” she said. “I want to help keep the tradition of all of these freedoms in our community library, and it would be a honor to help.”

As a candidate, Graceffa believes she can bring perspective from the point of view of her 12 years as a Sugar Grove Library Friend and library volunteer. She said she’s spoken to parents, homeschool moms, teachers and literacy volunteers, all of whom struggled to identify the reading materials that would capture the interest of their children/students but still meet the reading challenges they may face.

“During this recession, I have talked to countless people who use the library computers and free Internet to search for jobs, speakers and materials to help them with writing cover letters, resumes and the interview process,” Graceffa said. “I’ve spoken with artists and musicians who visit the library for inspiration. They understand that the library is a place to showcase community art, culture and talent.

“I talk to seniors like myself, for whom the library is both an educational facility and a community center where they can meet with their friends and neighbors and attend programs to help them save on their energy bills or help them with their tax preparation. I’ve spoken to people who depend on the library to find books, magazines and newspapers in their native language. I’ve spoken to kids about Mickey Mouse, Harry Potter and vampires.”

If elected to the Sugar Grove Public Library Board, Graceffa said her first priority will involve making sure that the library has an up-to-date “planned” direction. She wants to help find board candidates who are interested in serving on the Library Board, and “bring skills to the library that it desperately needs,” and said that it’s her goal to put the “you” back in “your community.”

“When the public goes to a public meeting and asks questions, they deserve an answer and an explanation, even if the explanation is not one with which they agree; at least the public could understand why the objection exists,” Graceffa said. “I will always answer public questions honestly and to the best of my ability, even when they are tough, and I will ask my fellow board members to also do so if I feel the need arises.”

Graceffa believes the Sugar Grove Library needs a rate increase, as it hasn’t received one since opening its doors to the public.

“People voted by a huge number to build this beautiful new library, but on a larger scale they have voted not to fund an institution that any community would be proud to have in their town,” she said.

Graceffa wants the community to imagine how much more the library could do for the Sugar Grove community if it were allowed to run on a budget fit for a current library, not on a budget that would be insufficient even for the village’s previous library.

“We should be very proud of the Sugar Grove Library and its staff for the terrific job they do for us on a daily basis,” she said.

Library Board candidate Robert Bergman did not reply to the Elburn Herald’s election questionnaire.

Sugar Grove Village Board

Two incumbents and three newcomers will vie for three open seats on the Sugar Grove Village Board.

Robert Bohler
Robert Bohler was already involved in countless community activities when he took office as a village trustee 16 years ago.

A graduate of Waubonsee Community College and Southern Illinois University, Bohler, 62, has resided in the village the past 28 years. He defines the role of board trustee as an “at large” position in that it represents citizens throughout the whole village.

“As trustee, I make decisions regarding the use of city funds; municipal services such as police and fire, roads and sidewalks, water and sewers, etc.; and oversee the creation and revisions of village ordinances,” he said. “A trustee will make the decisions about such services, and also make the decisions about how they will be financed, usually by property taxes.”

During his time as a village resident, Bohler has coached baseball and girls basketball, started the Sugar Grove Rural Kane County Soccer League, served as vice president and president of the Rural Kane County Girls Softball League, and started the indoor soccer league. He also served as the president of the Sugar Grove Lions Club for six years, and started the Sugar Grove Corn Boil Fireworks, which he continues to support.

“I participated in many of the activities for our kids,” he said. “It also took a huge commitment from other parents in the village to make everything a success.”

Bohler believes his long-term standing on the Village Board is a big reason why he should be re-elected.

“I am familiar with the history and processes needed to move the village forward. The economy seems to be in ‘recovery’; if so, we are entering into a critical stage in the development of the community,” he said. “If the economic slide continues, my knowledge of past practices and the understanding of the future needs for the village of Sugar Grove is an asset moving forward.”

Bohler said the three top priorities he’d like to see the board further address are the addition of new business in the village, fiber optic Internet in the homes of residents and the workplaces of commercial and industrial partners, and the continued effort to fund the Route 47/I-88 interchange and expansion south, from Cross Street to Route 30.

He also notes that the village needs to attend to existing, unfinished subdivisions (Hannaford Woods, Prairie Glen, Settlers Ridge).

Bohler said his stance on video gaming will be determined by the result of the non-binding referendum on the Tuesday, April 9, General Election ballot.

“I do know that to any business, the bottom line is profit, and is often the difference between staying in business or shuttering the windows,” he said. “If we don’t allow equal turf to the local businesses, it puts them at a huge disadvantage. Is Sugar Grove business friendly or not? April 9 will tell.”

Bohler’s feeling regarding the current state of business and growth in Sugar Grove is that the village has done well during the recession with the number of businesses recently opened up, the likes of which include: McDonald’s, Walgreens, Rush-Copley Convenience Care Center, Couture Tan, Air Logic, Microbloc Solutions, No. 1 Fan Sports and Runway to Galway Irish Eatery.

“The (village’s) Economic Development Corporation is growing. They are currently looking at holding a spring luncheon at Waubonsee Community College to try and attract new business to the village,” Bohler said. “Village President Sean Michels, Community Development Director Rich Young and Village Administrator Brent Eichelberger met in February with IDOT (Illinois Department of Transportation), Kane County and state legislators to try and get some of the Prairie Parkway money committed for the Route 47 & I-88 interchange, (and) the village continues to be visible at the International Shopping Center Convention held in Chicago.”

According to Bohler, Sugar Grove already has an existing IGA (intergovernmental agreement) with the Kaneland School District, and that the village’s refusal to re-sign the agreement in December 2011 had no impact whatsoever on the School District.

“It changed nothing. Every new home built in Settlers Ridge, Prairie Glen, and Hannaford Farms are all paying the normal rates we agreed upon four years ago,” he said. “Sugar Grove has led the way. I was on the committee that brought the idea forward. I think it’s important in reaching an agreement. However, it’s not critical.”

Bohler said he disagreed with entering into an agreement with the Kaneland School District on fixing impact fees for the next five years, as he felt five years was too long to commit to anything, and the agreement only covers new development.

“There is no new development on the horizon for Sugar Grove,” he said. “We have 1,200 lots to build on before that would happen.”

Bohler cited several reasons for his decision.

“One, the existing subdivisions where the new development would take place already has a full impact fee structure in place. Therefore, it would not impact the School District,” he said. “Second, the economy was in turmoil and property values were dropping. I felt a new impact fee study was needed to explore the viability of impact fee reduction.

“Third, I did not know what the Elburn Village Board was going to agree on with the ShoDeen Project and wanted all impact fees to be the same. As it turned out, I believe they signed an agreement at 50 percent of the proposed fees.”

Sean Herron
Sean Herron’s new to this whole election thing.

Herron, a Kaneland School District teacher, will make his first foray into politics this spring as a candidate for Sugar Grove Village Board trustee. He is a 10-year veteran of the U.S. Army, and served two combat tours in Iraq and one peacekeeping mission to Macedonia. He is a member of the Sugar Grove American Legion, and serves as assistant precinct committeeman for Sugar Grove PC 5.

Herron, 35, and his wife, Sarah, volunteer at the Between Friends Food Pantry in Sugar Grove and Equine Dreams Therapeutic Riding Center in Newark, Ill. He has also led after-school literacy and reading programs for children in East Aurora with a group called Triple Threat Mentoring., and has volunteered with Sarah in the children’s ministry and welcome teams at The Orchard Community Church in Aurora.

Sean defines the role of village trustee as someone who works on a team under the village president to manage the property, finances, safety, and general welfare of the village, and he believes the position requires a level head, a good moral compass, and the ability to make decisions based not on emotion, but instead with the best interest of the village in mind.

“I am passionate about serving my community. I truly enjoy working with groups to help make the world around me a better place,” Sean said. “I see the village trustee position as an opportunity to serve my community at the highest local level. Given my experience in business, the military and in my volunteer work, I figured that I have a lot to offer the village. I feel that I can provide a fresh and unique perspective and a fresh voice for the community as a trustee.”

According to Sean, the combination of his education, work experience and service—both overseas in the military and in the local community as a volunteer—make him an outstanding candidate to serve as village trustee. He has also learned the values of discipline and service after 10 years in the Army. During the four years between his roles in the military and the Kaneland School District, he worked as an account manager for a major manufacturer, and completed his college degree and mentoring at-risk elementary school students. In his words, he is “passionate about serving.”

“Perhaps of even greater importance are those things I won’t bring to the Village Board,” he said. “I have no personal political agenda, so I am only responsible to the taxpayers. I have no preconceived ideas as to what will or will not work. so I am willing to consider all options. I have no potential conflicts of interest.”

Sean’s top three priorities on the Village Board would be financial accountability to Sugar Grove taxpayers, the continued focus to make the village a more business-friendly environment, and an investigation into potential cost savings through the re-issuance of general obligation bonds.

“Recently, the Kane County Forest Preserve District was able to save taxpayers millions of dollars in interest by re-issuing certain bond issues through an innovative bidding program,” Sean said. “Kane County is in the process of evaluating similar options that could save between two and three million dollars, depending upon market conditions. Not all of the village’s bond issues would be viable options for such a program, but it is quite possible that some would qualify and potentially save tens of thousands of dollars in interest payments annually.”

Sean said he and Sarah have seen their home property taxes rise by 11.6 percent over the past five years. At that same time, the assessment on the property has decreased by 15.3 percent.

“Clearly this represents some sort of disconnect, and I will do everything I can to freeze or reduce property taxes here in Sugar Grove until this ratio is more balanced,” he said.

Sean doesn’t have a stance regarding the “hot button” topic of video gambling in Sugar Grove. He feels that one of his strengths in the Village Board trustee race is that he doesn’t have a personal political agenda.

“I am only responsible to the voters whom I represent,” he said. “I have no preconceived ideas as to what will or will not work to bring revenue to Sugar Grove, so I am willing to consider all options presented to me in detail before I make a decision.”

As for his stance regarding the Route 47/I-88 interchange project, Sean said that it, along with the proposal to widen the stretch of Route 47 from Sugar Grove to Kendall County to four lanes, are great ideas being presented by village president candidates Sean Michels and Kevin Geary.

“Both options will help support not only the businesses that we already have here, but it would also help support future business and make trips south and east much easier,” Sean said. “Although I am in total support of construction proposals beneficial to the village, I will have to see all the details before committing to any project.”

This will be a busy spring for Sean and Sarah, as the couple is expecting their first child—a son—sometime within the next few weeks.

“This is the community my wife and I chose to be our home,” Sean said. “Naturally, we are excited to be parents, and I am committed to making Sugar Grove the best possible community for my family and for yours.”

Stephanie Landorf
Stephanie Landorf is one of three newcomers seeking a seat on the Sugar Grove Village Board. An administrative assistant in the legal department of Liberty Mutual Insurance Company, she believes a trustee has a responsibility to the community to provide residents with every opportunity possible to be able to voice their opinions and concerns; to be open in the goals and decisions for the village and use common sense when creating policies; and to encourage growth within the village while maintaining a safe community where people will want to live and raise their families.

When Landorf, 44, and her husband moved to Sugar Grove nine years ago, they were looking for a community where they could raise their daughter—a community that had the values and an environment similar to where she grew up.

“We enjoy the feeling of community in our town, yet in talking with friends and neighbors, many feel the board doesn’t really hear them,” she said. “I want to be their voice and help our town to grow while maintaining our ‘family’ community.”

Landorf knows she may not have the political background or experience some of the other Village Board candidates possess, but as a working mother, neighbor and member of the community, she is open and receptive to hearing from residents, and has the desire to bring the board to the people of her community. She sees the obstacles facing the village, and believes she can bring a fresh approach to the board.

If elected to serve on the Village Board, Landorf’s chief priorities would include making the board more open and accessible to residents, working toward more growth in commercial and industrial areas, and further addressing community infrastructure.

“Poor roads, sidewalks and flooding are all issues,” she said. “We need to be creative and aggressive in seeking grants for repairs, as well as looking at all opportunities to fund the needed repairs.”

Landorf said Sugar Grove needs to change its reputation of “being difficult to work with,” and believes the board needs to look at every opportunity as a chance to grow the community.

“If the sidewalks belong to the village, why, when they are in need of repair or replacement, are the residents required to pay for 50 percent of the cost?” she said. “In the older part of town, the sidewalks are cracked, heaved up and of varying widths. I have a couple neighbors that use motorized scooters, and the state of our sidewalks hinder their ability to get around. So, if I could pass one ordinance, it would be that the village is responsible for costs for the repair and replacement of their sidewalks.”

Landorf sees the desire of local businesses for video gambling as a way to increase revenue, “especially as some neighboring towns allow it.”

“I am glad the board is letting (the video gambling item) go to an advisory referendum. I think this is the kind of decision that should be put to the residents,” she said. “I hope the board listens to the voters on Tuesday, April 9.”

Landorf is happy with the growth in business Sugar Grove has experienced over the past few years, but doesn’t think it’s been enough.

“The economic downturn slowed or stopped many projects, but that just means we need to work harder, not make it harder for businesses to come to Sugar Grove,” she said.

Rick Montalto
Rick Montalto has served on the Sugar Grove Village Board the past four years, but his experience in community involvement goes far beyond his time on the board.

A retired law enforcement official and current Criminal Justice instructor at Waubonsee Community College, Montalto, 58, has coached youth soccer, basketball and baseball, participated in Kaneland Music and Sports Boosters, served seven years on the Village Public Safety committee and five years as the chair of the Village Police Commission.

He defines the role of village trustee as representing citizens by providing input for the short- and long-term planning of village operations.

“We work closely with the village department heads and staff to see that funds are appropriated properly to provide the day-to-day services to enhance the quality of life for our residents like police, fire, water, sewer and snow plowing,” Montalto said. “In addition, we work to promote the village with the business community to encourage future growth and tax revenue.”

Montalto has been in public service most of his life and has been a resident of Sugar Grove for the past 19 years. He feels it is important to give back to the community, and has volunteered his time and energies in various capacities during his time as a village resident. He was encouraged to run for board trustee by some friends and neighbors as a means to address issues they felt were lacking in the community at the time.

He believes every trustee should bring something to the board that will benefit the village.

“I have over 34 years of emergency services background, as well as a master’s degree in management and organizational behavior,” Montalto said. “My background assists in emergency preparedness planning, emergency equipment purchasing, emergency staffing, traffic issues for special events and so forth. My educational background is valuable with the organizational culture of the village and its employees, and I believe that we currently have a dedicated staff of employees that provide great service to our community. (I) would like to see us stay that way.”

If re-elected to his second term, Montalto’s priorities on the board would include continuing controlled, sustainable growth along Route 47; working toward providing affordable housing for apartment dwellers, first-time home buyers, and seniors looking for alternative living when their single-family homes become too burdensome; and continuing to invest in new technology to enhance the level of services that can be provided to the community and encourage new growth.

During Montalto’s first term in office, he pushed for the village to adopt an administrative towing program, which offsets costs that the community incurs through the process of making arrests of certain types of criminal and traffic offenders.

“I felt that these costs should be passed onto the offenders instead of being paid for by our taxpayers,” he said. “Since this ordinance was passed, we have generated about $200,000 in revenue at no cost to the average taxpayer.”

Montalto said his personal opinion toward video gambling in the village is that the community doesn’t need it. He noted, however, that his vote will not be what his opinion is based on.

“I see both arguments (regarding video gambling), and understand that it may negatively affect certain businesses in town if it is permitted in county areas at both ends of our community, and that our businesses should be given a level playing field to play on,” he said. “The (Sugar Grove) American Legion claims that it will have to close its doors without (video gambling), due to their lost revenue. I agree that putting this on an advisory referendum is in the best interests of the community. We represent the entire village, and my vote will be based on what the majority of the people want, not my personal opinions, because that is my obligation as a trustee.”

In terms of current business and growth in the village, Montalto believes the village has done very well during the last four years while many surrounding communities have suffered.

“We have stuck with our vision of controlled, sustainable growth, and have encouraged many new businesses to come into our community,” he said. “During the last four years we have seen businesses liike McDonald’s, Walgreens, Rush-Copley Medical Center, Jimmy John’s, West Suburban Bank, hair salons, tax service providers and on and on.

“I think we need to continue doing what we are doing, because it is obviously working.”

Gayle Deja-Schultz
Gayle Deja-Schultz is the third of three newcomers to the Sugar Grove Village Board trustee race this spring.

The director of Special Events for The Epilepsy Foundation of Greater Chicago, Deja-Schultz, 43, holds an associate’s degree from Williams Rainey Harper College in Palatine, Ill., and a bachelor’s degree from Northern Illinois University that she received this year. Her community involvement includes work with the Kaneland W.I.N.S. (Women in Networking Service), Kane County Senior Resources and Corn Boil. She also has an active membership in the Sugar Grove American Legion, as her husband is a veteran and firefighter.

Deja-Schultz defines the role of Village Board trustee as the honor of public service and the responsibility to represent all citizens honestly and equally. She believes no one board member has the authority to act on his or her own, and that it’s imperative that trustees have a team-player attitude and work in a positive manner with all members of the village team.

“It is the trustees’ responsibility to be knowledgeable about all village, county, state and national issues, as well as laws governing municipalities,” she said.

Deja-Schultz has been involved as a community activist for several years. In previous election seasons, village residents asked her why she wasn’t on the ballot, and encouraged her to run for public office. She has gained additional experience participating in the government process by assisting in writing state legislation, creating ad hoc committees for the village when needed and giving her “solicited opinion” from time to time.

In the last year and half, she has attended nearly every Village Board meeting. As a result, she developed a passionate opinion about how the village is managed, and believes that she could make a positive difference and assist in the future development of Sugar Grove.

“Sugar Grove is truly a great place to live, work and play,” she said. “With my diverse background, I hope to implement my many years of business experience and community involvement to help the village of Sugar Grove achieve their goals in a responsible manner that will be beneficial to all residents.”

If elected to the Village Board, Deja-Schultz’s priorities would include working to help the village “grow in a manner that will keep its small town atmosphere, yet welcome new and exciting businesses”; using a common-sense approach to streamline local government processes in order to develop a reputation of being a “business friendly” community; and communicating with residents on a regular basis in order to gain a clear understanding of what their needs and expectations are regarding the future of Sugar Grove.

“While I understand that some information may be privileged or confidential, I would implement programs in a responsible way to keep the residents informed and welcome more community involvement,” she said.

Deja-Schultz believes her stance on the video gambling referendum, which will appear on the April 9 General Election ballot, is “irrelevant.”

“I would take into consideration that if there is a low turnout on election day, the public opinion would only be representative of those who choose to participate, (which) may not dictate a true majority,” she said. “However, as an elected village trustee, I would honor the majority opinion of the referendum and vote accordingly.”

In terms of the current state of business and growth in the village, Deja-Schultz believes Sugar Grove could benefit by attracting more small retail businesses to complement its community, and notes one recurring complaint that she frequently hears.

“Due to the village’s variety of lengthy or overly complicated procedures, many businesses have found Sugar Grove difficult to work with, ultimately giving the impression that Sugar Grove is not business friendly,” she said. “If elected, I would passionately investigate these allegations and review all government processes to insure that they are streamlined as effectively as possible to provide businesses with a welcoming environment, yet still facilitating responsibly grow within our community.”

Deja-Schultz envisions the village benefitting from the Route 47/I-88 project, and said she would also want to further investigate any and all possible effects the interchange could have on local businesses and households, as a way to ensure that the project would, in the long run, be beneficial for the whole of Sugar Grove.

“I will continue to work to set the ground work for this and other projects by securing additional grants for our community and trying to further simplify the government processes so that these types of projects can move forward in a timely manner,” she said.

Maple Park Village Board

Four candidates will compete for three four-year-term seats, while three other candidates will vie for two two-year positions.

Terry Borg
Maple Park village trustee Terry Borg will look to continue his 12 years of public service on the board by seeking re-election on the April 9 General Election ballot.

Borg, 56, holds a Bachelor of Arts in international relations and criminal justice from Michigan State University, a Master of Arts in contemporary European studies from University of Sussex in Brighton, England, and a Ph.D. in higher education administration from Michigan State University. He’s currently employed at Northern Illinois University’s College of Education as the director of External & Global Programs.

Borg’s community involvement is an extensive list, as well: he served on the Kaneland School District 302 Technology Plan Committee from 2000 to 2001; District 302 Finance & Facilities Committee in 2001; District 302 Finance Advisory Committee from 2003 to 2009; and Rock Valley College Students in Free Enterprise Business Advisory Board from 2004 to 2010. He’s also been a member of the District 302 Citizens Advisory Committee since 2009.

As a village trustee, Borg believes his role is to serve as a good steward of my community. He was initially drawn to the position because of his desire to “ensure there is a logical and fair process for Maple Park decision making, applied equally to all residents.

“I am a servant leader with a passion for service,” he said.

According to Borg, he is an ideal candidate for re-election because his trustworthy, impartial and reasoned judgment are the hallmarks that he brings to the Village Board.

“I thoughtfully consider every issue, do my homework and ask questions,” he said. “I also seek input from residents and listen to their concerns. Having demonstrated these attributes for 12 years on the Village Board, my track record makes me a known quantity that wishes to serve my community.”

If re-elected, Borg’s top priorities would include maintaining infrastructure with limited funding through the prioritization of needs utilizing reasoned judgment with data; planning for the future through establishing a plan to prioritize village investment and prepare for opportunity when confidence and the market returns for growth; and investing in village personnel.

“With few employees, the village needs to ensure that personnel are well trained, use good judgment and are resident-focused in order to provide high-quality service, making Maple Park a safe and outstanding place to live and raise a family,” Borg said.

Borg believes the key to achieving his goals as a village trustee is to ensure they are commonly shared with fellow board members and village staff.

“It is critical we operate as a team and focus on consensus and compromise. Recognizing the knowledge, experience and expertise we each bring to the team creates mutual respect and the achievement of mutually shared goals,” he said.

Borg supports the village’s recently implemented tax increment financing (TIF) district, and sees it as a tool to raise funds and invest in needed infrastructure.

“Without a TIF, Maple Park will not be competitive with neighboring communities to attract investment,” he said. “While these investment funds come at a temporary cost to other governmental units, the current Village Board has made a commitment to support these governmental units should needs develop as a result of the TIF.”

In terms of the current state of village business and growth, Borg believes market conditions have taken a toll on residential housing and, in turn, Maple Park businesses. He said local businesses need the consistent support of local customers to make them viable.

“Until such time (when) our current housing inventory is fully populated and new rooftops are built, local businesses primarily reliant upon local customers will struggle,” Borg said. “It is crucial that we support these entrepreneurs in these tough times. (The board) looks forward to offer opportunities to future investors as our population increases.”

Greg Cutsinger
Greg Cutsinger will seek one of three four-year-term seats on the Maple Park Village Board this spring.

Cutsinger, 42, has been a Village Board trustee since 2011, and holds a Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts from Ohio University. He has worked for a nation-wide transportation company for over 18 years, and has managed a terminal in South Elgin, Ill., for the past six years.

Cutsinger said the role of a trustee is to balance the needs and safety of all residents while remaining mindful of budgetary and regulatory constraints. As a current board trustee, he feels that skills he brings from his “day” job are put to good practice in Maple Park.

“I bring an objective eye to every decision that comes before the board,” Cutsinger said. “I have a long-term interest in making the village a place where people will want to raise families, and to where business will want to migrate.”

If re-elected, Cutsinger will focus on continuing to make Maple Park a safe place to live and work by addressing needs with its Police Department, Public Works and code inspector, and also working to increase the village’s visibility for developers and businesses.

Cutsinger believes the TIF (tax increment financing) district was needed to keep Maple Park equal with it’s municipal peers in it’s ability to attract development.

“The board considered a wide variety of views and ultimately made adjustments based on that input,” Cutsinger said. “I think hindsight will show it to have been a good decision, although that’s 20-plus years away from now.”

Cutsinger believes the village is a great place for small- to medium-sized businesses, as it allows residents access to services and goods without having to travel to make purchases, or having the village lose out on tax revenue.

“My ideal vision would include growth that still allowed for the continuation of Maple Park’s small-town feel,” he said.

Lucas Goucher
Lucas Goucher is one of two newcomers seeking a four-year seat on the Maple Park Village Board this spring.

A graduate of Augustana College in Rock Island, Ill., with a degree in finance and management and a minor in speech communications, Goucher, 32, has served on the Maple Park Plan Commission Board the past two years, and as past president of the Elburn Chamber of Commerce on two separate occasions. He’s currently the vice president and commercial loan officer for National Bank and Trust, and focuses on local commercial lending.

Goucher believes village government is in place to preserve and improve the vital aspects of the community on behalf of its residents and guests, and feels he can be an asset to the village and his neighbors through the position of village trustee.

“My education and professional background provide a perspective on the issues faced by the village, (and) I have knowledge and the resources to be productive and work towards thoughtful results,” he said.

If elected to the Maple Park Village Board, Goucher would focus on budget restrictions and limited revenue sources to “add a new perspective by reviewing expenses and eliminating waste while working on opportunities that will bolster the top line.” He’d also emphasize maintaining and improving infrastructure and outstanding development issues to “continue to improve and implement a plan to address the aging infrastructure on the east side of town, as well as the waste water plant.

“(I’d) continue to press for thoughtful resolution on outstanding developer issues that does not leave the village with the bill, (and) consider village beautification (and) connectivity, as well as open space (parks) in macro long-term planning,” he said.

He intends to achieve such goals with a “focused determination on the core (today) issues, and the foresight to also implement for tomorrow.”

Goucher believes the village’s TIF (tax increment financing) district is good for the infrastructure issue in time, “because there is no supply of immediate resources as it takes time to build up that fund, especially when there are limited factors increasing the tax base within the district.”

“It should not be forgotten though that the TIF also takes away from other municipal entities that would have otherwise counted on those revenues,” he said. “Bearing that in mind; it is important for Maple Park to prudently utilize those funds as the account starts to build.”

In terms of local business and growth, Goucher believes the focus should be on the many businesses that are in town, “open for business and supported.”

“The village misses the (Moondance Diner), but there are still two eateries open and busy in the downtown, in addition to many other businesses—framing shop, stylists, hardware store and an attorney, just to name a few,” he said. “If the residents of the village continue to maintain a “shop Maple Park first” approach, and the business owners continue to draw a client base from out of town, Maple Park businesses will succeed.

“Maple Park needs business to maintain ‘community’; without business, a village will struggle to succeed.”

Brian Kinane
Brian Kinane will challenge for a four-year seat on the Maple Park Village Board this spring.

The director of Sales and Marketing at TimberBuilt Rooms, Kinane, 29, holds a Bachelor of Arts in mechanical engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

“I would define Maple Park trustee as a position that looks out for the best interests of the citizens of Maple Park,” he said. “I wanted to be more involved in the community. I am planning on living in Maple Park for a long time and would like to be active in its development.”

Kinane believes his background in engineering and construction allows him to understand and help with local ordinances and building codes. If elected, his priorities on the board would include improving downtown business, quieting village railroad crossings, and addressing the need for public parks or playgrounds.

“All three items will be addressed individually and planned for accordingly,” he said. “The biggest problem with getting anything accomplished is securing the money to do it. That is where I would start—finding out what each item costs, and how to fund each venture.”

Kinane sees the village’s recently implemented TIF (tax increment financing) district as good for Maple Park, but acknowledged its shortcomings.

“More money is available to spend on the things that Maple Park needs to get accomplished, but at the same time (it) hurts the community programs that do not get any additional dollars from the growth of the town,” he said.

He also believes village business needs more growth.

“More growth means more available dollars to spend on village improvements and such,” he said.

Stephan ‘Steve’ Nowak
Steve Nowak is one of three candidates seeking a two-year term seat on the Maple Park Village Board this April.

Nowak, 33, has been a trustee since 2011, and has served as the village’s financial chair during that time. He holds an MBA in finance and operations management from Aurora University, and is senior vice president of Commercial Banking with American Midwest Bank.

Nowak is also the finance council chair for St. Mary’s of the Assumption Catholic Church in Maple Park, where he and his wife and are active parish members.

Nowak defines the role of trustee as the responsibility to foster and support prudent and tempered growth initiatives for the village while maintaining measures to preserve its economic viability and balanced budget.

He is seeking the trustee position because he wants to continue to serve and support Maple Park in an active role that focuses on the future of the village.

“I have lived here for over 11 years and have seen this community progress, and I would to help support progress for the future,” Nowak said.

Nowak feels his professional background, knowledge of the community, and his support of balanced/tempered growth, will help to propel Maple Park into the future without ignoring our past history.

If re-elected, Nowak’s priorities on the board would include balanced budgeting of the village, fueled by prudent spending decisions and new revenue streams, and public safety through consistent funding of the police department, as well as improved street safety and progressive involvement with other intergovernment relationships, such as the the Maple Park Fire Department.

Nowak also wants continued emphasis on infrastructure improvement.

“These initiatives can be partially supported by the TIF financing and economic development through the attraction of new residents (and) small businesses, which will help fuel job growth and a more robust tax base,” he said.

Nowak plans to achieve his goals by “listening to the community and implementing actions as trustee that support the best outcome for the community as a whole, and not one particular entity.”

Maple Park Village Board two-year-term candidates Debra Armstrong and Christopher Higgins did not reply back to the Elburn Herald’s questionnaire.

Elburn Village Board trustee

Two incumbents and two newcomers will vie for three open seats on the Elburn Village Board in next month’s General Election.

Kenneth Anderson
Kenneth Anderson believes Elburn Village Board trustees are responsible for passing an annual budget, as well as prioritizing the needs of the community as it relates to police, public works and administration.

He should know—he’ll seek re-election for the position on April 9.

Anderson, 49, describes himself as a fiscal conservative who believes that if you do not have the money, you should not spend it. He holds a Bachelor of Science in watershed management and natural resource management (minor in soil science) from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, and is the manager of Kane County Subdivision and Special Projects Division.

“I believe I have demonstrated for nearly four years a common sense approach to village of Elburn issues,” he said. “I have knowledge and experiences from my 24 years of working for Kane County that I believe provide a diverse background as a trustee.”

Anderson cites a balanced budget, the retaining of existing businesses within the village, and implementation of the Elburn’s Land Use Plan, as the top three items he’d like to see addressed.

“I will work with the other trustees to prioritize what we can afford to do within the village of Elburn, with the monies generated,” Anderson said. “I would like the village to work with the existing business and the Elburn Chamber of Commerce to see what we can do to make them as profitable as possible in these economic times. (And) as development proceeds, we need to insure we implement the hopefully soon adopted Land Use Plan.”

Anderson believes that the Elburn Station project is, for the most part, a good transit orientated development, and will be a one-of-a-kind development for the village and the region.

“At this time and in these economic times, I believe the Anderson Road bridge project is the most important thing that could happen, and it will provide an immediate benefit to the residents, emergency services and others,” he said.

As for his feeling regarding the current state of village business, Anderson said he thinks local businesses are having difficulties due to the economy.

“I would like to see improvement. And if there is anything the village of Elburn can do, we should attempt to do it,” he said.

Michael Rullman
Michael Rullman is one of two newcomers who will seek an Elburn Village Board seat this spring.

Rullman, 45, defines the roles of trustee as listening to the public’s wants and needs, and representing them on the Village Board.

A contract programmer, Rullman chose to run for village trustee because he has the time to spare, and can give his community some time and effort to keep Elburn “a great place to live and work.”

“Each of the candidates for the office (of Elburn village trustee) brings something different, and there is no best,” he said. “We are all bringing our experiences and are making the commitment to spend the time and energy to serve the community to the best of our abilities.”

If elected, Rullman’s priorities would include: continuing to control costs and keep the village sound and solvent, as well as maintain the diligence and thought to keep the villages expenses low while still preserving the quality of life that makes Elburn a great place to live; maintaining the village as a great place to live and work, and listening to the needs of the village residents and balancing the cost/quality of life with the needs of the community to keep taxes low; and filling the vacancies in stores and houses, and supporting local businesses and the Elburn Chamber to fill up the storefronts with businesses that are complementary to the town and fit the character and needs of the village.

If he were given the choice to write, pass and implement any single ordinance without opposition, Rullman said he would change the pensions to 401Ks to be able to plan for the total costs of employees and services and allow city employees to control the direction of their retirement accounts.

Rullman said he both likes and dislikes elements of the Elburn Station project.

“While the Anderson Road extension would be nice to have, it probably will not happen without the project,” Rullman said. “The current ongoing back and forth to make the project fit the character, needs and style of the village should continue. In a perfect world, I would like to see the extension get done, and the discussion on the project’s phases and end footprint continue independent of each other.”

According to Rullman, the village has controlled expenses and costs while providing a consistent level of service.

“We need to continue to have the village solvent and keep the tax levies low while delivering the services people need to keep the village a great place to live,” he said.

Pat Schuberg
Pat Schuberg will run for Elburn village trustee after serving 15 years on the Planning Commission—six of which were spent as committee chairperson. She believes her experiences in government, financial and business will help her be an effective member of the Village Board on day one.

Schuberg, 53, holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology from Bethel University in St. Paul, Minn., and a Masters of Business Administration from Aurora University. Professionally, she has over 20 years in sales, marketing and consulting experience. During 10 of those years, she owned a retail consulting firm working with independent retail business owners, providing inventory planning and marketing expertise. She is currently an account manager for a textbook publisher with higher education institutions across the country.

“I am an active volunteer in our community,” Schuberg said. “When my two sons, Chris and Josh, were younger, I volunteered in Cub Scouts Pack 107 as a den leader. When they crossed over to Boy Scouts Troop 7, I was the advancement coordinator and enjoyed encouraging them on their path to becoming Eagle Scouts. I am also proud of the other young men who I mentored on their path to Eagle.”

Schuberg has been an active participant in Elburn Baseball and Softball, and she is the founder of Twice Blessed, a women’s resale shop benefiting Lazarus House, a homeless shelter in St. Charles.

“Staffed by volunteers, we offered gently used clothing while spreading the vision and mission of Lazarus House during it’s early existence,” she said. “I am an active member and volunteer at Hosanna Lutheran Church in St. Charles, and have also served at Lazarus House, Hesed House and Feed My Starving Children. I am also a member of the Friends of the Town and Country Library.”

Schuberg believes the role of trustee is to work for the community, as the community should be able to expect an elected official to be fair minded, a strategic thinker and work to give the village a strong future.

“The trustee must be an advocate for what is best for the whole of Elburn; not one’s individual preference,” she said.

Schuberg said it has been an honor to serve Elburn for the past 15 years as a planning commissioner, noting that the village is in a significant time of change. She cites her experience with the Plan Commission as a chief reason why she’s an outstanding candidate for the Village Board.

“The economy is beginning to recover. Elburn Station is at our doorstep. The Anderson Road overpass will impact traffic patterns and enhance emergency response times,” she said. “While growth is inevitable and necessary, it needs to be intelligently managed. Elburn is a special place with a rich heritage of farming and strong community values; we have a wealth of attractive features such as our forest preserves, bike and pedestrian walkways, access to high-quality hospitals and world-class universities nearby.

Schuberg said she’s excited to take part of the next chapter in Elburn and pledges that she will continue to work toward ensuring a manageable pace of change for both the business community and residents.

Her top priorities, if she’s elected, will be to address the village’s economy and housing, and make sure today’s decisions “place Elburn on solid footing for the future.” She said residents are feeling the economic pinch as overall property taxes are increasing while foreclosures are decreasing home values. As a result, she believes the village must attract new businesses.

Schuberg said the implementation of both the updated Comprehensive Land Use Plan and Economic Development Commission will provide the Village Board with important tools to achieve its goals.

“Our updated Comprehensive Land Use plan was funded with a $100,000 grant from CMAP (Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning),” she said. “This document can be our compass to guide us toward accomplishing our community’s vision for future residential and business development but it is only as effective as its use.”

If given the option to write, pass and implement any single ordinance with no opposition, Schuberg said she’d like to create an Active Recreation Ordinance.

“To the extent an ordinance can be created to protect active recreation without implementing a park district—Elburn is not ready for nor can afford an additional taxing body—it is important to ensure places for recreation,” she said, suggesting an ordinance to provide high-quality land for active recreation to be used by youth sports, community gatherings, gardens, public walking, running tracks and outdoor exercise circuits—even dog parks.

“Amenities can be acquired through grants, joint projects with service organization or utilizing our immense resource of Eagle Scout projects,” she said.

Jeffrey Walter
Elburn Village Board trustee Jeffrey Walter will seek re-election on April 9.

Walter, 52, has served as a trustee the past four years. He holds a Bachelor of Science in finance from the University of South Florida, a Master of Science in manufacturing management from the University of Toledo, and an MBA from the New York Institute of Technology. He’s the senior manager of I.T. Portfolio Solutions for Health Care Service Corporation (Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois).

Walter has coached soccer for Kaneland Youth Soccer Organization, T-ball and baseball for Elburn Baseball and Softball, and he was a member and chair of St. Gall Catholic Church’s Pastoral Council. He recently received the Health Care Service Corporation President’s Award for Diversity and Inclusion for his work on the Veterans Hiring Task Force.

Walter defines the role of trustee as providing sound and fiscally responsible leadership to the village.

“I am seeking re-election, (and) there are still some things I want to finish in the financial policy area of the village and continue to work on making sure Elburn Station is developed in such a way as to benefit, not burden, the village,” he said.

If re-elected, Walter’s top priorities on the board would include remaining vigilant to ensure the Elburn Station development proceeds in such a way as to not put a burden on the taxpayers. He would also focus on financial policies and economic development.

“I have been asking for defined investment policies based on sound capital planning for each department for several years,” he said. “This is in process now, and I want to use my business background to ensure the best possible policies are put in place.”

In regard to economic development, Walter said the village needs a planned effort in the development space, as clear goals and activities must be planned and completion must be monitored.

He plans to achieve such goals by continuing to use his experience and knowledge to guide the appropriate planning and policies.

Walter’s said his ultimate goal would be to establish a director of economic development.

“This would allow for the hiring of an experienced, knowledgeable economic development director to establish village policies around attracting a viable tax base—light industrial and commercial—establish plans for attracting larger companies to Elburn, come up with a plan for the current downtown area to put businesses in the vacant buildings, and develop the area properly,” Walter said.

According to Walter, the position would also oversee the connection of the current downtown to the mixed-use area in Elburn Station.

“We need firm plans with defined tasks, not just shot-in-the-dark planning,” he said.

sgpres2013

Election: Sugar Grove Village President

Incumbent squares off with long-time village trustee
Incumbent Sean Michels will face a challenge for his Sugar Grove village president seat from board trustee Kevin Geary.

Michels_SeanSean Michels
Sugar Grove Village President

Stats:
• Kaneland High School graduate
• Illinois State University graduate
• Aurora University graduate
• Sugar Grove Park District Board from 1995 to 1997
• Village Board member from 1997-1999
• Elected village president in 1999

Priorities:
• A continued effort to reduce real estate
taxes for residents
• Establishment of an intergovernmental agreement
with the Kaneland District
• Make an effort to complete developments
in which its developers have gone bankrupt

Sean Michels has spent the better part of two decades serving the public through various elected offices. A graduate of Kaneland High School, Illinois State University and Aurora University, Michels’ served on the Sugar Grove Park District Board from 1995 to 1997, and then served as a Village Board member for two years before he was elected village president in 1999.

Michels is the project manager for McCue Builders, Inc., and he has involved himself in the community via roles such as Park District coach and Sunday school teacher. He’s also a former Metrowest Council of Mayors Board member.

As president of Sugar Grove’s growing community, Michels defines his role as keeping the village moving forward in a positive progressive manner while being fiscally conservative.

“It is important to remember that the decisions that are made today will have a long lasting impact on how the village develops into the future,” Michels said. “This simple truth is why the Village Board and I have focused on our Land Use Plan and other planning documents to ensure that as we grow, our decisions will fit together in the long run.”

Michels believes that the long-term vision of Sugar Grove’s future development will help set short-term goals that are necessary to keep the village moving forward to meet any long-term goals, but cautions that the village must not overextend itself financially; rather, it must live within its annual budget. He notes that the village has earned a solid ranking of A+ by Standard and Poor’s, thanks to the fact that the village adheres to its annual budget.

Michels said he seeks re-election because he has the desire to make Sugar Grove the best community to live, work and raise a family. He works on that goal nearly every day by thinking about the next steps the village can take to attract new business, as well as what improvements can be made to make the quality of life better for village residents.

“I enjoy talking to the residents to find out what they like and what they think we need to improve on in order to make Sugar Grove a better place,” he said. “I understand that everyone wants to pay lower taxes, so I work hard to bring in new business to help reduce taxes, and to improve our quality of life.”

Michels believes he’s the best candidate for village president because of his passion for Sugar Grove and the goals he has set for it—both short and long term. His short-term goals include an intergovernmental agreement with the Kaneland School District, and completion of the Route 47/I-88 interchange as a means to keep taxes down. Michels’ long-term goals involve the introduction of fiber optic to each home and business in the village, and a Metra station—moves that he believes would make Sugar Grove a premier community in the future.

“I truly believe this is what separates me from my opponent,” Michels said. “My goals lead the village to a brighter future. He simply does not have goals for the future of the village.”

If re-elected, Michels’ priorities for the village will include a continued effort to reduce real estate taxes for residents; establishment of an intergovernmental agreement with the Kaneland School District; and an effort to complete developments in which its developers have gone bankrupt.

“The village has been willing to work with the bond companies or banks to get necessary improvements done so that their obligations are completed and the lawsuits can be dropped,” Michels said. “The problem is that some of the groups feel it is cheaper to go to court than it is to make the improvements. We realize that the residents of the subdivisions are caught in the middle, but the village is also caught in a predicament.”

According to Michels, if the village makes the improvements, it will relieve the bank from paying the village back. But if improvements are not made soon, significantly more money will need to be spent because the road base will fail and need to be completely replaced.

“We continue to meet with any potential developer that offers to come in and take over these projects, understanding that it is better to get work done than make the lawyers rich,” Michels said.

If given the choice to write, pass and implement any single ordinance without opposition, Michels said he’d move forward with the Kaneland IGA.

“This will help keep taxes down for all of the residents of Sugar Grove by having new development pay for itself,” Michels said. “Developers will pay the impact fee to have a good school district, because developers know that a good school district sell homes.”

A video gaming referendum will appear on Sugar Grove’s April 9 General Election ballot. Michels believes video gaming isn’t as big an issue as the media has perpetuated in recent months.

“The people on both sides of the issue are very passionate, but most of the people do not seem to have an interest one way or the other in video gaming,” Michels said. “I believe the public will decide if gaming is popular or not by whether they visit the establishments that have gaming. (Otherwise), they avoid those places that have gaming.”

Michels said it’s hard to ask the state to fund capital projects if the village does not participate in the part of the funding program.

“I do not condone gaming, but I am in favor of video gaming to help our local businesses survive,” he said.

In terms of local business, Michels is pleased with the recent retail and commercial growth that the village has experienced over the past four years. He believes additional retail and commercial development is always needed to diversify the village’s tax base.

“The village continues to work to bring more business into Sugar Grove by actively soliciting businesses to locate in town through the Sugar Grove Economic Development Corporation and expediting the development review process,” he said. “The village has also extended critical infrastructure to commercial areas to make property ‘development ready.’”

And then theres the Route 47/I-88 interchange project, an addition that Michels said would be a critical improvement not only for Sugar Grove, but the region, as well.

“(The) project will be a catalyst for new commercial development that will help diversify the tax base for Sugar Grove residents,” he said. “In cooperation with the village of Elburn, city of Aurora and Congressman Randy Hultgren, the village has worked hard to get funds, once earmarked for the Prairie Parkway, to be reallocated to fund this interchange. It is with great optimism (that) a decision to fund this interchange will be made in the next few months.”

Kevin Geary Press PhotoKevin Geary
Sugar Grove Village trustee and Candidate for Sugar Grove Village President

Stats:
• College of DuPage, Waubonsee Community College
• Real Estate Broker/Managing Broker Licensure
• Sugar Grove Park District’s assistant baseball coach
• Chamber of Commerce and Industry Board
• Sugar Grove Village Trustee since 1999
• Volunteers on several other groups

Priorities:
• Diversification of the tax base for village residents
• Transportation improvements
• Achieveing open and honest government
• Move meeting start time to 7 p.m. for commuters

The first 23 years of Kevin Geary’s professional career were spent in telecommunications, where he held a number of professional positions, such as technical training specialist, customer service representative, and quality control process and metric engineer.

He’s spent the last 14 years serving the public as a Sugar Grove Village Board trustee.

“With my diverse background, I would like to bring my quality control, customer service, and business experiences to the table and apply my outstanding business skills to our village projects, programs and residents’ needs,” he said.

Geary’s education background includes coursework taken at the College of DuPage in Glen Ellyn, Ill., as well as real estate sales licensure coursework at Waubonsee Community College. He furthered his education with a real estate broker licensure in 2005 and a real estate managing broker licensure in 2012. He’s required to continue his education bi-annually.

Geary has spent the last decade working and building his own real estate and property management business. He has operated in civic roles such as Sugar Grove Park District’s assistant baseball coach from 1996 to 1999; a member of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry Board of Directors for over eight years; a Downtown/Main Street Re-development Committee member; Sugar Grove Corn Boil Board of Directors member for over 13 years; an associate member of the Sugar Grove Economic Development Corporation; and Holiday in the Grove volunteer.

Geary defines the role of village president as one to create a spirit of cooperation that brings benefits to the community and respect for the region.

“The village president is responsible to ensure the goals of the community are met in a measureable way, shares the outcome of annual evaluations and posts the results of any accolades and or corrective actions to be taken,” he said.

Geary said he cares a great deal for Sugar Grove, as well as his friends and neighbors throughout the community.

“I believe the best way to lead a community is to get involved, and the best way to really capture the needs of our community is to listen,” Geary said. “Public officials need to work together as a team. There is no ‘I’ in Geary.”

The long-time trustee is campaigning on the platform of achieving open and honest government, and said one giant step toward that goal would be the village funding video recording and online streaming of board meetings so that the taxpayers can stay informed on the issues before the board.

Geary also wants to move meeting start times to 7 p.m. in order to allow commuting residents a chance to attend meetings and “participate in the democratic process,” and said he has an additional goal to bring exceptional customer service and best practices back to the village.

Geary’s additional campaign priorities include diversification of the tax base for village residents over the next four years, and transportation improvements.

“(Transportation improvements) are not only a life safety issue, but a community development issue, as well,” he said. “With the abandonment of the Prairie Parkway project, Sugar Grove must seek as much funding as possible to aid in the improvement of our roadways that also support economic growth and ensure the safety of all who travel to and through our community.”

Geary said Sugar Grove’s first-class community and unique geographic location, coupled with world-class events and attractions (i.e. Rich Harvest Farms) put the village at a great advantage over its surrounding communities.

“There are several important projects that could benefit from Prairie Parkway funds, such as the addition of a full interchange at I-88 and Route 47, road improvements to the portion of Route 47 that is also Route 30, and Route 30 west to Dugan Road,” he said.

In addition to live streaming Village Board and Planning Commission meetings, Geary wants to “get Sugar Grove moving again.” He believes the best way to achieve that would be to do an assessment of village assets.

“I have been told that within our area, we have access to Fortune 100 and 500 business executives,” Geary said. “I would host a round table where these individuals would help the village determine Sugar Grove’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats for commercial growth and development.

If he were given the choice to write, pass and implement any single ordinance without opposition, Geary said he’d target the continued awarding of no-bid engineering contracts to a preferred vendor with close ties to the village president.

“Under my administration, I would require a common sense bid process and see to it that the process is followed,” Geary said. “This process will allow the residents to see who is bidding, what they are bidding, and that the village is being responsible with the taxpayer’s money.”

In terms of Geary’s stance toward video gaming in the village, he said Illinois has made provisions within the law to ensure that local municipalities and their citizens have the opportunity to do what they feel is best for their community.

“After listening to the public comments (regarding video gaming), there was no clear direction given from the residents for whom we serve,” Geary said. “Per the discussion at the board meeting, I voted to suspend gambling at that time, with the intent that a referendum could be drafted and the community could vote on this highly debated issue. In my opinion this is democracy at work, and is the only way to truly determine the will of our community. At my urging, the Village Board has placed the (video gaming) question on the spring ballot.”

One area where Geary differs from his political opponent is the question of whether Sugar Grove should re-enter an IGA with the Kaneland School District.

“While some would say the popular answer would have to be in the affirmative, supporting the IGA, I believe the village in these unsure times will need every tool in its toolbox to get residential development moving again. I would further say that the village has over 20 years surplus of platted lots that have fees attached.

Geary said he would much prefer to talk about how to diversify the tax base for the residents, which he believes can be accomplished through commercial and industrial development.

“These types of developments can account for a significant part of our property tax base, and it doesn’t negatively impact our schools or other governmental services,” Geary said. “Additionally, if these businesses are a point of sale, sales tax dollars can be gained. This, in turn, would lessen the burden on the already overtaxed homeowner without having to reduce village services or programs.”

2012 local election results

Local Election Results
Winners in bold
Kane County Circuit Clerk
Thomas M. (“Tom”) Hartwell 92,514
Edmund James Nendick 70,692
Kane County Recorder
Sandy Wegman 93122
Brenda Rogers 70898
Kane County Coroner
L. Robert (Rob) Russell 92093
Tao Martinez 71195
Kane County Board Chairman
Chris Lauzen 93730
Sue Klinkhamer 72147
Kane County Board District 5
Melisa Taylor 6244
Norman D. Martin 3244
Kane County Board District 18
Andrew E. “Drew” Frasz 6353
Kerri A. Branson 3433

Election 2012: State Rep. 50th District

Long-term public official faces challenge from newcomer
Incumbent Kay Hatcher will face a challenge for her seat representing the 50th District in the Illinois House from Andrew Bernard, who wants to bring a fresh perspective to the office.

Kay Hatcher
Republican
Kay Hatcher has spent decades serving the public through various elected offices at the local and state level, starting with her time on the Oswego School Board in 1991, through her time on the Kendall County Board and Kendall County Forest Preserve President, and including her current tenure as Representative of the 50th District in the Illinois House of Representatives. Those years also include an even more vast list of community volunteer activities.

All of her service activity comes from one thing—her love of the area.

“I originally ran for office quite simply because I love the Fox Valley,” Hatcher said. “I have the strategic skills needed to do the job, and the incumbent legislator was going to retire after 18 years of service. This is where my children and grandchildren live, and I want to ensure it remains the best place in the world to work and raise a family.”

She said the state is facing significant problems, and she feels her track record is proof that she knows what it takes to help solve them.

“The challenge is enormous,” she said. “Because of the actions of legislators and governors in previous decades, our state is nearing the brink of economic Armageddon. In the past three years of service I have been able to carry and support legislation that shines a brighter light on state actions, demands a more responsible budget and creates a higher ethical standard. I’m grateful for the opportunity to serve, and want to continue rebuilding an Illinois that pays its bills and treats people with dignity.”

If given the opportunity to continue her service in the 50th District, she plans to focus on ensuring fiscal responsibility in the state. She said the issues are complex and intertwined, and must be dealt with across the board. She would work to eliminate the recent state income tax increase and address state pension and Medicaid funding issues. She would also continue to assess state programs in terms of their effectiveness, to help improve the state’s bottom line.

Hatcher said the state needs to create a stable environment that encourages businesses to remain in the state, so they can invest in both in people and products. She would also work to rebuild trust in state government.

“It (trust) takes a lifetime to earn and a moment to lose,” she said. “ My first vote impeached a governor now in prison; my last vote removed a member of the General Assembly for questionable actions.”

She said to help rebuild that trust, she would continue to remain entirely transparent, making her daily calendar publicly available, as well as regularly communicating with residents.

“I meet constantly with individuals and organizations to learn more about their needs,” she said. “The more interaction I have with the people of the Fox Valley, the better legislator I become.”

Andrew Bernard
Democrat
Andrew Bernard said if elected, he would bring a fresh perspective to the Illinois legislature.

“I will bring a new perspective to restoring Illinois,” he said. ”I bring forth a new platform giving tax relief to low and middle income families, while at the same time, bringing in the needed revenue. As a legislator, I will also work to cut the unnecessary waste in Illinois.”

Currently, he serves as the Democratic Chairman of Geneva Township, and is also a Precinct Committeeman in Geneva. His interest in politics and policy, as well as his experience in local politics, has led him to believe that the state needs to change.

“The financial disaster and poor reputation of Illinois government prompted me to seek this position,” he said.

Bernard said the state’s tax code needs to be overhauled. He said that Illinois’ tax structure is regressive, explaining that the state is one of only seven in the nation that maintain a flat rate income tax.

“This type of taxation system is the primary cause for Illinois having to raise taxes on all workers in Illinois; therefore, hurting small businesses and halting new job opportunities,” he said. “I strongly believe that raising taxes on the middle class is harmful to the economy and stunts job creation. The best solution for Illinois is to adopt a progressive income tax system and lower the tax rate for middle class residents.”

He said that a progressive tax structure would have allowed the General Assembly to retain the previous income tax rates for the middle class while still generating additional state revenue from the higher tax brackets.

“When the middle-class residents pay less in taxes, they will spend more, and stimulate the economy,” he said. “In other words, Illinois businesses will need more employees when businesses are growing stronger.”

To further help job creation, Bernard said the state should invest in new infrastructure. This will create new job opportunities, improve current public systems and raise the economic value of the state, he explained.

“Part of this plan will include supporting state grants to local governments in order for them to invest and fix their existing infrastructure; thus, creating new job opportunities,” he said. “Investing in new infrastructure will also attract new businesses to Illinois, which, in return, will create new revenue and jobs.”

He would also work to reform state welfare programs. He supports a plan that would require recipients of the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) program to pass a drug screening to receive funding.

“This will help ensure that those receiving cash are using public funds wisely and not abusing the system,” he said.

The plans are more than mere tweaks to the existing system, and Bernard said he knows what it would take to take those plans and make them a reality.

“I will achieve my goals by working in a bipartisan manner with all legislators, while keeping direct communication with my constituents,” he said.

Election 2012: Kane County Circuit Clerk

Challengers vie for KC Circuit Clerk Office

Both Ed Nendick and Thomas Hartwell seek to bring greater efficiency standards to the office of Kane County Circuit Clerk.

Ed Nendick
Democrat
Ed Nendick is looking to use his experience from serving 24 years as a veteran in both the U.S. Navy and Air Force, as well as his time spent as Vice President of Sales and Administration in his company, O’Connor & Nendick Inc., in the role of Kane County Clerk of the Circuit Court.

He plans to apply that experience to improving the office and how it functions.

“I have served my country. I have raised my children. I have built my business and put plans in place to keep it going until I return,” Nendick said. “I see the opportunity to turn this governmental body around to a lean, high quality,efficient unit that cooperates with the other four Clerk of the Circuit Courts offices in this state. Together we can accomplish what individually we cannot.”

The spirit of togetherness is vital to his plans, he said. While listing his top three priorities, he noted that his third priority could actually double as his number-one priority.

“Third, and maybe first, would be to bring a spirit of cooperation and integrity to the office through outstanding leadership, example and a hands-on approach,” Nendick said.

Building on that spirit of cooperation, Nendick would work to integrate the computer program developed at the Clerk of DuPage County Office.

“I would request the Clerk of DuPage County share the program that they developed on Illinois government time using Illinois government money. Local citizens of Illinois paid the computer programmer wages in DuPage County. Credit goes to their brilliance in developing a program that works so well when others have stumbled,” he said.

From that point, Nendick wants to conduct a thorough audit of all systems and programs that exist in the office. He would establish clear personnel goals and training standards, redevelop job descriptions and clearly articulate personnel expectations.

Nendick said that all specific plans will flow from the audit process, as that will determine the areas that need improvement, thereby creating both short- and long-term goals. From there, he said, it is all about leadership.

“Leadership requires good communication. I plan to have great communication with my employees; I believe in an open door policy and am open to all suggestions and possible ways to improve the system I would like to implement,” Nendick said.

Tom Hartwell
Republican
Tom Hartwell said that after 27 years as an attorney, regularly interacting with the Circuit Clerk’s Office, in addition to his time serving on the Kane County Board, he knows what it takes to make the office run more efficiently and effectively.

“My 27 years (of) experience as an attorney using the Circuit Clerk’s Office in Kane and other counties (as well as federal courts), give me a unique understanding of what excellent service means,” Hartwell said. “My service as a member of the Kane County Board has given me insight regarding the budget process and promoting cooperation and communication.”

Because the nature of the office is largely managerial, Hartwell said he has learned through his past experiences how to organize an office such as that of the Kane County Circuit Clerk.

“I am an attorney with an MBA. I served on the Kane County Board from 1996 to 2000. I have personal experience using the circuit clerk’s office. I have management experience. I have government experience,” Hartwell said. “While experience often dictates what we do, leadership allows us to do it. I have both the experience and leadership qualities to manage the circuit clerk’s office in an efficient and effective manner.”

He said he would use that range of experience and knowledge to streamilne the office, focusing his efforts on reducing waste and inefficient practices. He would connect those efforts to increasing transparency within the department, as well.

Financial efficiency goes hand-in-hand with transparency and accountability,” he said. “Given the changes that will occur with the upcoming election, this is one of our best opportunities to improve the relationship between elected officials.”

Better communication, increased effiencies and reduced waste will translate into the ability for the office’s employees to take on other additional responsibilities.

“(This will) create an create an atmosphere organized around timely and cost-efficient customer service,” he said.

Overall, service is Hartwell’s goal, and all other efforts would be designed to increase and improve services to the public.

“My goal as the circuit clerk is to serve the citizens of Kane County in a timely, efficient and ethical manner,” Hartwell said. “As an outsider, I bring a fresh prospective to the office not being entangled by policies of the past. It is important that the Circuit Clerk’s Office is well run and cost effective. Government must operate with its means.”

Election 2012: Kane County Board District 18

County incumbent faces challenge
What was once known as the 26th District on the Kane County Board is now folded into the 18th District. Incumbent Drew Frasz faces a challenge from Kerri Branson.

Drew Frasz
Republican
After 12 years volunteering on various community projects—including the steering community that helped develop La Fox and the La Fox Community Park—Drew Frasz joined the County Board to represent District 26. Now that area is drawn into District 18, and Frasz points to his continued community involvement as the reason he believes he deserves your vote.

“I am a life-long resident with the civic and elected experience mentioned above,” Frasz said. ”I am an active and engaged County Board member who responds to constituent’s needs. The position requires attending over 200 meetings per year both days and evenings. I have the best attendance record on the County Board, and have delivered on every campaign promise made in 2008.”

His goals for this term are clear-cut: 1) Hold or reduce the county’s portion of property tax bills and encourage other taxing bodies to do the same; 2) break ground on the Anderson Road bridge and road corridor in spring 2013; and 3) Continue to move forward with the Interstate 88/Route 47 interchange.

While the goals are clear-cut, the path to accomplishing these goals is not easy and will require the work ethic he has already exhibited during his time in office, he said.

To address the tax issue, Frasz said he would continue to pursue the conservative fiscal policies the County Board has been following. He would explore reducing non-mandated county services that the public may not deem affordable, and would look into potential new sources of revenue to reduce reliance on the county portion of property tax bills.

The Anderson Road bridge and road corridor project is more complex, and Frasz said he would encourage continued talks between the project developers and the village of Elburn, which recently voted to table the project.

“The county is ready to get bids on this project, and federal funding is in place but may be in jeopardy if not used soon,” he said.

Similarly, the Interstate 88/Route 47 interchange project will also require strong communication among various entities.

“This will be an active partnership between several governmental agencies including Sugar Grove, Elburn, Kane County, the Tollway Authority, and state/federal funding agencies,” he said.

His efforts are based on a simple premise, which serves as the foundation for his efforts both during his time on the County Board and previously.

“I am very proud of our area and want to see it grow in a positive way,” Frasz said.

Kerri Branson
Democrat
After spending years volunteering in the community, Kerri Branson said she wants to run for County Board because she can identify with the challenges and successes that everyday citizens face.

“I am running as an average resident of Kane County who has experienced the same struggles as the people of our county and want to make a difference by raising questions to the board that our community has been asking,” she said.

She plans to continue coordinating efforts and communicating within the community, and as a County Board member she can make sure those voices get heard.

“As a public servant, it is my duty to listen to my constituents and bring their concerns before the board,” she said. “I believe in coming together as board members and making decisions about our county to make it a better place to live, work and be proud of.”

She would focus her efforts on cutting wasteful spending and allocating funds fairly and ethically. She would promote community health and education, including the preservation of farmland and forests. And to address an issue she has lived with first-hand, she would help those who are with exceptional needs.

“My biggest accomplishment in life are my four children, who have taught me the basics in life I can use towards solving any problem,” Branson said. “My two oldest twins are severely affected by cerebral palsy, which threw me in headfirst to an array of medical, insurance and organizational stresses.”

She said her family’s experience has taught her a lot about how people with special needs are treated in society.

“I have been a strong advocate for my sons and people who are at a disadvantage by relentlessly continuing to fight for their rights,” she said. “This will be my job for the rest of my life, and I feel honored God has given me this responsibility.”

She said her “everyday citizen” perspective is exactly what is needed on the Kane County Board.

“Inexperience can sometimes be a positive addition to an equation that needs solving,” Branson said. “If people are looking for change in our county, more of the same and requiring experience is not going to bring that. Fresh eyes to an old problem can help look at things creatively and logically without the influence of what has already taken place. I am not a politician, and have no desire to strive to be one. My interest is in relaying what I hear from our community to the County Board and advocating for those who cannot advocate for themselves.”

Election 2012: State Senate—25th District

Challengers Pierog, Oberweis seek State Senate seat

A pair of challengers will face off to win the seat representing the 25th District in the Illinois State Senate.

Corinne Pierog
Democrat
With a background in education, as well as being a small-business owner and community volunteer, Corinne Pierog regularly sees first-hand the struggles of the middle class in Illinois. She said she is running for office to help ease those struggles.

“People in my community are struggling. I am from and support the middle class, and I can be the advocate who understands their problems and can be their voice in Springfield,” she said.

With time spent on the St. Charles School Board, as well as the City Council, Pierog has experienced working with groups of all sizes and people of all means, facing a variety of challenges.

“All of our residents must be able to succeed. I want our kids to achieve their dreams,” she said.”I don’t want families to have to choose between funding their 401K and paying their child’s college tuition. And I want our seniors to enjoy their retirement with dignity. I want to make sure our economic and social policies reflect the needs of our businesses, our residents and our social service agencies.”

If elected, Pierog said she would focus on three areas: jobs, education, and property tax relief.

Economic growth is vital to secure a more stable future for the state’s residents, she said, and focusing on certain areas of the economy are important to the state’s economic turn-around.

“We need to reinvigorate our state as a hub of transportation, agriculture, education and innovation. And our entrepreneurs and small businesses must be given the tools and training they need to succeed and create jobs,” she said.

Pierog explained that unemployment and underemployment are best overcome through education. With technology and innovation driving the economy and what it continues to evolve into, the workforce must learn the skills it needs to meet the demands of change.

“We need to support STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) education for our children and job retraining opportunities for displaced workers,” she said.

While all of that goes on, which can take time to occur, Pierog said work needs to be done to provide economic relief sooner.

“Supposedly, there are two things in life we can’t avoid—death and taxes,” she said. “But just because we can’t avoid taxes doesn’t mean we can’t have some relief from too heavy tax burdens. People today are struggling to find jobs, to pay bills, to keep their homes. When they are hit with an annual high real estate tax, it can put them under water. Many residents in District 25 are faced with just this dilemma. They need relief.”

Pierog also wants to address an underlying issue statewide that she feels negatively impacts the entire system. She explained than Illinois contains nearly 7,000 governmental entities, and the volume of different political bodies creates the opportunity for corruption and lack of transparency, making any efforts to improve the state difficult, if not impossible.

“Obviously there appears to be no shortage of news about Illinois’ storied history of political corruption, and equally an enormous amount of ideas presented on how to make our government more ethical and transparent,” she said. “What seems to be missing, however, is the mandate from the voters to engage the change, by demanding through their voice and their vote a responsible and ethical government. I will be a candidate to champion that voice.”

Jim Oberweis
Republican
A lifelong entrepreneur, Jim Oberweis wants to see the trajectory change for the state of Illinois.

“I decided to run for this office because I want the future of Illinois to be better than the past,” he said. “I want my children and grandchildren to have the same opportunities with which I was blessed as a lifelong Aurora area resident. I see a decline in public safety, education, fiscal responsibility, employment opportunities and infrastructure. Illinois can and must improve in all aspects.”

Oberweis started Oberweis Asset Management from nothing, and helped build Oberweis Dairy from 50 employees to the more-than-1,000 employees it has today. He said that real-world business experience is what is required to turn the state around.

“I know what it takes to bring successful companies to Illinois, as well as to prevent companies from wanting to leave our state. I’ve had first-hand experience in dealing with government over-regulation, negotiating union contracts, providing health coverage to employees, and overcoming a variety of hurdles to build a successful business,” he said. “I want to take that knowledge to Springfield to get our state working again.”

Oberweis said he wants to make the state more “business friendly,” thereby securing more jobs and opportunities for Illinois residents. He intends to help solve the state’s underfunded pension issue, calling it a “mess,” and wants to make the state’s Workman’s Comp laws more like the surrounding states. Additionally, Oberweis wants to ensure that the temporary income tax increase is truly temporary, if not repealed outright.

“I will also work for term limits for state legislators. Eight years in any office is long enough,” Oberweis said. “We need to return to citizen legislators instead of career politicians.”

When addressing the state’s struggling economy, he said the first thing that needs to happen is to repeal the 67 percent increase in the state income tax.

“This was promised to be a temporary increase, and I plan on making sure it will be temporary.”

He said the economy will continue to stagnate until the state’s unfunded pension liability of over $80 billion is resolved. He suggested that the state consider changing the current defined benefits plan to a defined contribution plan for new state employees.

“This would begin to put us on the path of fiscal responsibility,” Oberweis said.

The key to accomplishing these goals is for a change in approach from state legislators. Instead of focusing on winning their next election, they should focus on solving problems.

“My focus will be on improving the future for Illinois, not on getting re-elected,” he said.”I will work with Republicans and Democrats to do the right things to solve our problems. I’ve been pretty good at getting people to work together in the past, and I believe I can do that in Springfield.”

Election 2012: U.S. House—14th District

Both incumbent, challenger focus on the economy
In the race for the representative from the 14th District of the U.S. House of Representatives, one-term incumbent Randy Hultgren faces challenger Dennis Anderson.

Randy Hultgren
Republican
Randy Hultgren is looking to a second term in the U.S. House of Representatives to continue his work focusing on the nation’s struggling economy.

“We’ve got to get our nation’s spending under control and get the economy back on a road to growth,” Hultgren said. As a father of four, I’m truly concerned for the future of our nation.”

His level of concern has not changed during the past two years of his freshman term.

“My first vote as a Congressman was to repeal the president’s massive health care law in full, and I still believe the law must be repealed,” he said.

With unemployment still too high and federal spending still too high, he said much work remains to be done beyond the federal health care law.
“Unemployment is still far too high. We were promised an unemployment rate of 5.6 percent if the stimulus was passed. Instead, millions of Americans are still unemployed or underemployed (working part time when they would rather be working full time),” he said. “Federal spending is also far too high. Washington would like to treat the economy as a cash tree—a new tax for every program, chopping off as much as it wants, whenever it wants. What Washington doesn’t understand is that the best way to allow the tree to grow more jobs and tax revenue organically is to simply leave it alone.”

Unemployment must be addressed by working with small businesses, he said, explaining that two of every three new jobs is created by a small business. Hultgren has met more than 100 small business owners and job creators in his district in the past year alone, and he always asks the business owner the same question:

“During each storefront visit and factory tour, I ask what it would take for that employer to create just one more job,” he said. “There are nearly 30 million small businesses in the U.S., and 23 million people who are under employed. If every small business could create just one job, we would have overemployment.”

He personally introduced a regulatory sunset bill that would address outdated rules and regulations that he feels stifle business growth.

Debt needs a comprehensive approach, he said. The only way he feels the federal government can control its spending is with a Balanced Budget Amendment.

“We absolutely need a Balanced Budget Amendment to the U.S. Constitution,” Hultgren said. “Without structural change, it will be near impossible to reign in Washington spending. A constitutional amendment would force the government to spend only what it takes in.”

He said such an amendment is necessary because the scale of the problem is so large.

“If the U.S. were to eliminate all discretionary spending—all defense spending, all highway repair money, all federal courts and government operations, even the money spent taking care of our returning veterans—the budget would almost be balanced for a single year. What this tells me is that we can take nothing—not even defense or entitlements—off the table when it comes to cuts. It took years to reach this point, and it will take years to balance our budget again, but I believe it can be done.”

Dennis Anderson
Democrat
Dennis Anderson has spent a lifetime in community service, volunteering on the boards of directors for a number of service organizations, ranging from humane societies to food banks.

He wants to continue serving the public, but now he wants to do so by changing what he calls the dysfunctional state of the U.S. House of Representatives.

“The House has been frozen by partisan gridlock, and the people of this district, of Illinois and of the nation as a whole are not being served,” Anderson said. “Honesty and truth no longer seem to be held to be of any value by too many in Congress, and the people deserve thoughtful, honest representation, whether Republican, Democrat or Independent.”

He said Congress needs non-career politicians in office.

“I am not a career politician,” Anderson said. “I owe no debts to party or to special interests and, at the age of 61, I am not planning on starting a new career. I am running because we need change in Washington.”

All aspects of that change relate to the economy, he said. He will focus on bringing jobs to the district, increasing access to education and serving the historically under-represented.

“Recovery from the economic downturn requires the cooperative efforts of both parties in Washington, and between the public and the private sectors,” Anderson said. “That the government has a role in the recovery is accepted by both parties, as demonstrated by the ‘jobs bills’ that each have introduced.”

He said that one of the best things the federal government can do to improve the economy is to repair and upgrade the nation’s infrastructure, specifically pointing to schools, bridges and water systems.

“To do so will not only create good paying jobs, jobs that will result in a revived customer base for small business, but will also save future generations from having to bear the cost of our neglect, a cost that rose by roughly half a trillion dollars between 2004 and 2009, according to the American Society of Civil Engineers,” Anderson said.

Like Hultgren, Anderson believes there should be a new plan to address the nation’s health care system. However, Anderson’s plan goes in the opposite direction as Hultgren’s. He said the cost of health care is out of control, and pointed to health indicator world rankings—specifically relating to infant mortality, maternal mortality and deaths due to care not obtained because of cost—that he said “are terrible.”

“If we truly had the world’s best health care system, as some often claim, our health status indicators would reflect that,” Anderson said.

He also pointed to the rising costs of health care as a drag on the economy. If he had his way, he would pass one piece of legislation to address the problem.

“If I had one chance to pass and implement any law, with no opposition, it would be the creation of a single-payer health care insurance system in the U.S.,” Anderson said.

However, Anderson said he knows that when addressing problems in Washington, no one gets their own way and all sides must work together.

“I am committed to engaging in fact-based, honest exchanges with other members of Congress and with the people of the 14th District,” Anderson said. “I also believe my many years in the public sector and as a volunteer have been helpful in training me to work with highly diverse parties to gain consensus.”

Election 2012: Kane County Board, District 5

Pair of candidates both seek to serve as tax money watch dogs
Republican incumbent Melisa Taylor is running for her second term representing District 5 on the Kane County Board. She faces Democrat challenger Norman Martin, who brings a background of public service as a former member of the United States Air Force and as a retired member of the Illinois State Police.

Melisa Taylor
Republican
Taylor plans to continue the same priorities as what originally led her to run for the office two years ago—serving as a steward of county taxpayer money.

“I initially ran for Kane County Board to help more than just Sugar Grove,” Taylor said. “With a Kane County budget of over $70 million, I felt it important to oversee where our tax money is being spent.”

To serve in that watchdog role, she said she plans to continue looking into every process within every department of the county, searching for the most efficient ways to obtain cost savings. She also is focused on the Kane County Animal Control Department.

“I will also continue to assist with the restructuring of the Kane County Animal Control Department to ensure that our pets are treated and sheltered with the utmost of care,” she said.

Another priority is continuing her efforts to freeze Kane County property tax levies.

“It is important that our government reflects the utmost respect for the contribution of each taxpayer,” Taylor said.

Knowing that these goals will require the input of the other members of the Kane County Board, she remains dedicated to developing strong relationships with her fellow board members.

“It is necessary to work with the other board members, and therefore I will continue to foster working relationships with the other board members, whether experienced or new to the board,” she said.

Overall, her efforts are economy-focused.

“The role of a Kane County Board member is to be the steward and watchdog of the revenue generated within Kane County to ensure the money is used to the benefit of all Kane County residents, homeowners and business owners,” Taylor said.

In addition to her efforts to help increase efficiencies and freeze tax rates, she also plans to help her constituents, one person at a time if need be.

“(I) will continue to advise residents of the Kane County services that are available to help them with assistance through these trying economic times,” she said.

Norman Martin Sr.
Democrat
While new to politics, Martin is not new to public service. Following his discharge from active duty in the Air Force, Martin served a full career as a police officer for the Illinois State Police, ultimately serving as Regional Commander, policing and patrolling Kane County for 13 years.

He chose to run for office because he sees a need for change at the county level, and he feels his past experience can help him directly address his concerns.

“As a taxpayer and resident, I am concerned about how our tax dollars are being spent, how responsive our elected officials are to the constituents they serve,” Martin said. “I want to use my knowledge and experiences to help ensure our county is doing the best it can to provide quality services to its customers who live, work and trade in the county and do so in a responsible and efficient manner.”

He said his first priority would be to control taxes, either keeping them the same or lowering them if possible. To help reduce the cost of government, he said the county should explore private/public partnerships.

He also wants to focus on making government act in an ethical manner.

“One that is responsible to its constituents. One that holds self and all county employees accountable for the consequences of their actions. One that governs transparently, and is a good steward to the assets and affairs of the county,” Martin said.

He also wants to help improve the quality of life for Kane County residents by promoting safe communities and developing a business-friendly climate.

“That will attract activities that support job creation,” Martin said. “(We need to) create sustainable, environmentally friendly policies and business practices.”

Addressing those priorities will require regular and effective communication with the residents within Martin’s district, something he looks forward to.

“I will work closely with my constituents to ensure the issues and concerns are clearly understood and their interests are properly represented. If elected, I pledge to use every resource available to me to help the county prosper,” Martin said. “Above all, I will operate with honesty and integrity at all times.”

Election 2012: Kane County Coroner

Candidates focus on restoring public’s trust in the office
Both challengers for the office of Kane County Coroner are in professions that relate to the office, so both bring a measure of experience to the race.

Tao Martinez
Democrat
Martinez is the president and founder of ArchAngels BioRecovery, Inc., a company dedicated to the assistance of families suffering from the tragic loss of a loved one and victims of violence. Services include infection control of hazardous environments that result from homicides, suicides, unattended deaths and mass-casualty incidents.

That experience often puts him in touch with coroners from throughout the Midwest and beyond, as well as the families of victims.

“I currently handle homicides, suicides, industrial accidents, and mass casualty incidents on a day to day basis, and it is my job to get directly involved with the families,” Martinez said. “It has always been my passion to help others during their worst times, and achieving this position would give me the opportunity to work on prevention, which is the only way that we can offset the number of deaths that we see currently.”

He said that if elected, he would turn his attention to restoring the public’s trust in the office.

“The reputation of the Coroner’s office has been tarnished, and it will take a lot of hard work to re-establish trust,” Martinez said. “The only way to start the healing process and repairing the image of this office is by establishing and enforcing a policy and procedural manual for all employees … As a team, improving the public image begins with building working relationships with various agencies, and focusing on raising community awareness toward programs that promote safety, health, education and life skills. Together we can work toward reducing the number of lost lives.”

Martinez also plans to streamline the office’s budget to address the financial challenges posed by the struggling economy. He said he has established relationships with other agencies to bring in resources and apply local funds to retain operations at no additional cost to the county. He also said that establishing mutual aid agreements with other nearby counties would qualify for Homeland Security Grant funds.

He said that while the primary function of the office is to determine the cause of death, there is another function he wants to ensure doesn’t get overlooked: focusing on community safety.

“As an elected official, not only is there an obligation to the office, but an obligation to the community,” Martinez said. “The best way to reduce the cost of operations within this office is to aggressively promote community awareness through various educational programs that will address domestic violence, drunk driving, bullying, drug abuse and many other acts of violence that can lead directly to homicides, suicides and accidental deaths. By following this approach, it is my belief that we would be saving funds, but most importantly, we will be saving lives.”

L. Robert ‘Rob’ Russell
Republican
Russell has 20 years of county law enforcement experience in all three sheriff bureaus: corrections, court security and patrol. He is currently a sergeant with the DuPage County Sheriff’s Office, and feels that his experience and education are perfect for the role of Kane County Coroner.

“I have spent the majority of my working life serving the public as a law enforcement officer,” Russell said. “I have always looked for areas of need in which I could make a difference. I decided to run for coroner because the office was in need of a leader. I believe my qualifications best fit the job description, and I would like to have the opportunity to improve and professionalize this office.”

He said that upon taking office, he would focus his efforts on establishing clear-cut accountable policies and procedures, establishing a common-sense educational campaign to help prevent unnecessary deaths, and updating the current morgue facilities.

To deal with the policies and procedures, Russell would begin working with other coroners throughout Illinois.

“Most Illinois coroners provide a high level of compassionate service and are impeccably professional. I have, and will continue, to seek out those coroners who have maintained honor and integrity while serving in this vital office,” Russell said.

Russell said his efforts to raise community awareness would be centered on the most-common types of unnecessary deaths that occur in the county.

“Issues like DUI crashes, heroin and synthetic drug use are some of the issues that have plagued many of our young people,” Russell said. “One of the things I have already done is to print up bumper magnets that say ‘slow down-speed kills’. Several people have commented that they have seen these magnets on vehicles while driving around Kane County. Hopefully, this pro-active step has raised awareness and had an impact. I have many more ideas like this that I would like to bring to the office when elected.”

While Russell said he is focused on improving the office’s morgue facilities, he said he is not interested in building a new facility. Instead, he is interested in exploring resource sharing with area hospitals.

“Unfortunately, the most contact that people have with the Coroner’s Office is when tragedy strikes,” he said. “I do not want these victims to identify their loved ones in the dilapidated facilities that we currently have. It is important that families coming to the Coroner’s Office are shown compassion in a professional environment.”

Election 2012: Kane County Recorder

Longtime incumbent faces challenger
While many elected county offices will be filled by someone new regardless of who wins on Election Day, the race for Kane County Recorder features a longtime incumbent, Sandy Wegman, facing a challenge from Brenda Rogers.

Sandy Wegman
Republican
After spending the last 12 years as Kane County Recorder, Wegman said she is looking to continue her track record of continual improvements and upgrades while remaining budget conscious.

“Having played a vital role in the design and development of our land records systems, I am seeking re-election because I want to ensure that the system stays in place and new technologies are implemented along the way,” Wegman said.

She pointed to her past accomplishments as reasons why she deserves another term in office. She said she has streamlined the office, consolidated services and implemented new technology, all while staying within budget. She currently serves as President of the Illinois Association of County Clerks & Recorders (Zone IV), a leadership position she feels is an example of the success she has brought to her role.

“In a time when we are required to do more with less, I have a proven track record of implementing improvements that benefit the taxpayers of Kane County,” she said.

The Recorder’s Office is solely fee-funded, Wegman explained, meaning that the office is funded entirely by the fees it charges and not with tax dollars. She said it is vital that the office remains within budget each year, and this would continue to be her number-one priority.

Being able to do more with less means finding new ways to accomplish tasks, and that means utilizing new technology as it becomes available, she said.

“The Recorder’s Office is one of the most technologically advanced offices at the county,” she said. “It is important to provide the necessary upgrades that will allow our technology not to become dated so that we can continue to provide the services that are expected by the users.”

She also is focused on completing the rewrite of the office’s Land Records System.
“This will allow us to take advantage of new technologies that will make the system easier to support, upgrade and use,” she said.

Overall, Wegman said the goal of the office is to provide better service while using fewer resources. She said that the past 12 years show she knows how to accomplish that.

“Under my leadership, the Recorder’s Office has always come in under budget,” she said.

She said that streamlining the office has been an ongoing project, evidenced by the fact that Recorder’s Office staff has been reduced from 33 to 19. At the same time, the office has improved its ability to serve the public, she said.

“Through innovative technology which allows e-recording of documents and instant return of documents, the Recorder’s Office has reduced the flow of paper, which eliminates the cost of postage and allows for immediate access to data and/or images,” Wegman said.

Brenda Rogers
Democrat
Rogers would not only focus on the task of recording documents and utilizing new technology, she said she would also do so while spending extra effort protecting the public’s identity from identity thieves and offering public seminars to raise awareness as well.

She said that as she has met more people from the county, she realized that many people were not even aware of the office of Kane County Recorder, nor what its responsibilities are.

“So, as the recorder, I will go that extra mile by doing educational seminars that will include explaining to our residents the duties of the recorder. I will do foreclosure and identity theft prevention seminars, as well as indexing documents,” Rogers said.

While she agrees that utilizing new technology is vital, it must be done so responsibly.

“Protecting our resident’s privacy by removing their signatures from documents that are online (is a priority),” Rogers said. “Having their signature online is a way for individuals to steal their signature, and it is one of the first steps of identity theft.”

She said that closely watching the budget and utilizing technology to reduce costs are important, and her 20-year background as a Realtor gives her the experience she needs to do so.

“I believe my background as a Realtor is helpful to the position,” Rogers said. “I have experience working with multi-million dollar budgets. I have been a Realtor for over 20 years, and as a Realtor I have had the opportunity to work with first-time buyers, those moving up, empty-nesters and developers. And since the office deals with documents related to ownership of property, I believe I am the best candidate for the position.”

Rogers said that her efforts would go beyond the traditional office hours; she plans to spend extra time with the public helping educate them and raise their awareness of issues that should be important to them.

“Many employers have asked their employees to do more with less, and the recorder should do the same,” Rogers said. “I believe that we have to give the residents value by going above and beyond for them. As the recorder, I will be in the office during the day and in the community in the evening doing educational seminars for them. I will have an open dialogue with the users of the office and the residents of the county.”

She said she would plan quarterly educational seminars that will include foreclosure prevention and identity theft prevention. She said the office’s website would have a question-and-answer section, and she would stay abreast of new technology. All of this would be focused on providing more services for less cost, while at the same time protecting the public.

“Next to your family, your property is your most valued possession, and I want to protect it for you,” she said.

Election 2012: KC Board Chairman

Both candidates bring elected experience, focus on changing county culture
In the race for Kane County Board Chairman, both candidates feature a long history in holding elected office. Sue Klinkhamer served eight years as an Alderman in St. Charles, followed by another eight years as St. Charles Mayor. Chris Lauzen has served as an Illinois State Senator in the 25th District since 1992.

Chris Lauzen
Republican
Lauzen said he chose to run for the office because he believes it is time to reform how the county functions. He said that escalating property taxes are a significant problem. In addition, he pointed to what he says is the increasing perception of pay-to-play politics within the county, which he feels has damaged the morale of taxpayer and county employee alike.

“… they see the politically connected few benefit while the grassroots many of us stagnate,” he said. “There is a critical mass of people who want and will work for reform.”

He strongly disagrees with Klinkhamer’s view on adding a County Administrator position to the county.

“I am more closely aligned with voters’ desires to freeze the county property tax levy, to end political campaign contribution cronyism, to bring best practices to the county, not hire and delegate county administration to a highly paid, electorally unaccountable administrator,” Lauzen said.

His number-one priority is to freeze the property tax levy.

“It makes no sense that our property values are going down, but our property taxes continue to go up,” Lauzen said. “We are being taxed out of our homes, while the Kane County portion of our tax has gone up 50 percent in the past seven years.”

He would then focus on ending what he calls the “Kane County Culture of Cronyism.” He said that too many political contributions come from people with something specific to gain in return for their financial support.

He would seek to find best practices from both inside and outside of the county to help find ways to reform the way Kane County conducts its business.

He would do this “by intensely listening, providing accurate information, treating all people respectfully, gathering consensus around taxpayers’ priorities of limiting the growth of government, restoring trust in public institutions, and increasing per capita prosperity in Kane County.”

Economically, he believes the county should help coordinate the efforts of existing Chambers of Commerce, as well as changing how county government serves employers. He has a five-step strategic plan to accomplish this:
“ • Streamline the permit process, setting predictable, prompt standards for response.
• Coordinate a framework of incentives countywide to minimize tensions of regional ‘bidding wars.’
• Partner with private industry and educational institutions through quarterly roundtable discussions and employer forums.
• Coordinate planning for infrastructure among federal, state, local agencies, and developers who are willing to invest their capital.
• Establish a Kane County Cooperative Clearinghouse website and portal to exchange and exploit innovative ideas, equipment and services, especially in the areas of access to capital.”

He explained that this type of cooperative clearinghouse could also learn from successful businesses already operating in Kane County.

He said this is all possible by collaborating with the various members of the County Board and county staff.

“The strength of board-style governance is multiple perspectives and contributions (with checks and balances), not personal political aggrandizement,” he said. “Together, we will do more with less.”

Sue Klinkhamer
Democrat
Klinkhamer says that her depth of experience will serve her well in the office she categorized as the “legislative leader in the county.”

She points to her 16 years on the City Council of St. Charles—including eight as mayor—in addition to her more-recent stints as the Deputy Director of the City of Chicago’s Washington D.C. Office of Intergovernmental Affairs (2006-08) and time spent as District Director for Congressman Bill Foster (2008-10).

“My experience and background are well suited to this position, particularly my history of being a leader who succeeded by building consensus, a quality that is greatly needed to move the county forward at this time,” Klinkhamer said.

Once taking office, Klinkhamer would turn her attention to making the County Board function more effectively and efficiently. One of her first efforts would be to retain a County Administrator.

“As our neighboring counties have learned, a professional administrator is vital to ensuring that a county is functioning efficiently,” Klinkhamer said. “Reaching this goal will help to ensure that information from all county departments is funneled through to all board members through a single office, which will ensure greater efficiency, eliminate duplication of efforts, and allow for greater transparency.”

She would also change how the County Board functions, changing the group from having multiple committees in favor of a Committee of the Whole structure. This would reduce the influence of the County Board Chairman, who currently has the authority to grant committee chair assignments.

“Adopting this format should also eliminate projects moving forward in such a way that not all County Board members are aware of their details before they come up for a vote, which should in turn assist in relieving some of the tension that has in the past resulted in lawsuits which have proved to be very costly to Kane County taxpayers,” Klinkhamer said.

Klinkhamer said she would also push to cut the County Board Chairman’s pay by 25 percent, as well as eliminate the full-time benefits currently available for County Board members.

“Any time elected officials start talking about cuts, taxpayers should absolutely demand they talk about cutting their own salaries and benefits before they go after services vital to the health and well-being of taxpayers,” Klinkhamer said.

With a refined internal structure, Klinkhamer would focus on transforming tension into a collaboration. She said she would make sure that all team members at the county, including elected officials and hired staff, are respected and recognized for their contributions to serving the public. She would also seek to focus on building consensus “where there has often been contention among these different partners.”

A more-efficient, fully functioning county could then be more effective in working with the various municipalities inside the county.

She said she would “work with the municipalities to coordinate their existing excellent economic development efforts, strengthen our county’s urbanized core, and better our transportation system.”

Yet, to get to that point, Klinkhamer pointed back to the very first things that she said would create a better-functioning foundation for success: Hiring a County Administrator and switching to a Committee of the Whole structure.

“Until this is done, none of the fundamental issues underlying both ethics questions and in-fighting that have plagued the county—and have resulted in lawsuits costly to the taxpayer—are likely to be resolved,” Klinkhamer said.

2012 Primary election results

The following results are from local contested races, and have been aggregated from the counties of Kane, Kendall, DuPage and Cook, as well as the Aurora Election Commission. The results are considered unofficial, and the winners are in bold.

Illinois State Senate
25th District
Republicans
Dave Richmond 6,616
Richard C. Slocum 4,520
Jim Oberweis 10,816

Democrats
Corinne M. Pierog 2,784
Steven L. Hunter 1,413

Kane County Circuit Clerk
Thomas M. Hartwell 17,648
Catherine S. Hurlbut 9,340
Karin M. Herwick 7,951

Kane County Auditor
Terry Hunt 14,863
Laura C. Wallett 12,559
Karl Regnier 5,687

Kane County Coroner
L. Robert Russell 17,494
Robert Nicholas Tiballi 16,011

Kane County Board Chairman
Republicans
Kevin R. Burns 11,424
Chris Lauzen 25,963

Democrats
Bill Sarto 4,255
Sue Klinkhammer 5,567

Referendums
Unincorporated Kane County
Electrical Aggregation
Yes 4,006
No 4,209

Village of Elburn
New tax rate for police pension
Yes 204
No 492

Village of Maple Park
Electrical Aggregation
Yes 100
No 67

Election 2012: Kane County Coroner

Two Republican candidates face each other in the Tuesday, March 20, primary election. The winner will face Democrat Tao Martinez, who is running unopposed, in the general election this fall.

Republicans

L. Robert Russell
Rob Russell’s background as a 20-year veteran of the DuPage County Sheriff’s Office makes him uniquely qualified for the office, he explained.

While many assume that a county coroner’s focus is medically focused, he said that in reality, there is no medical requirement for the office, because all medical functions are outsourced to forensic pathologists and lab professionals. He said that out of the 102 counties in Illinois, only two coroners are doctors, and one more is a medical examiner.

“The role of the Coroner is one of a Peace Officer who is charged with investigating suspicious deaths (on the scene),” Russell said. “What prompted me to run for this position was the fact that I saw the opportunity to serve the citizens of Kane County in an area that closely resembled my strengths. My resume matches the job description for the Coroner’s Office.”

Russell explained that given his experience investigating death as a peace officer, he best understands the laws and procedures of a criminal investigation—specifically issues relating to evidence chain of custody.

He said the number-one issue facing the office currently is a lack of integrity. He said the next coroner must make the office his only priority.

“I will repair the bridges between the Coroner’s Office and other civil service agencies in Kane County,” he said. “I will serve the public with the same vigor I have had as a law enforcement professional.”

Integrity of the office could be further restored if it pursues accreditation, he said.

“I also see much value in accreditation,” Russell explained. “Becoming an accredited office will help solve the problems of the Kane County’s Coroner’s Office by incorporating the ‘best practices’ of agencies across the nation.”

From a facility standpoint, Russell said he understands that there are no funds to build a new morgue. However, he said that there remains a possibility to upgrade the office’s facilities by creating partnerships with other local facilities.

“In addition, by making the morgue an area training facility, we would be eligible for government grant money which could help speed the process along,” Russell said.

Robert Nicholas Tiballi
Robert Tiballi said that annually, there are slightly more than 2,700 cases that involve the Kane County Coroner’s Office. Less than 0.5% of those are homicides, meaning that approximately 2,700 cases are natural, suicide or accidental death.

Given those numbers, he said, his medical background and leadership experience are exactly what the office needs.

“When sworn in as Coroner, I will bring to the position 23 years of experience as a practicing physician, 15 years experience as a founder and administrator of a large medical group, 15 years managing a budget that I not only administer, but also raise capital to fund, and years of supervising and disciplining hundreds of my peers as an elected Chairman of the Department of Medicine of a large local hospital,” Tiballi said.

He explained that the coroner should be ready to supervise a diverse office of professional contractors and support staff while maintaining records accurately. In addition, the coroner must maintain good working relationships with outside agencies and law enforcement officials.

“I will restore focused, purposeful, reasoned and experienced leadership,” he said.

His first order of business would be to begin what he calls a “top to bottom, stem to stern review of all areas of the office including policies and procedures, work roles and assignments, physical equipment assets and reform the working operation of the office within the first two months on the job,” he said.

Tiballi said this office overhaul would include vital intangibles, such as a restoration of ethics and high professional standards that should already exist. Further, he would work to build positive relationships with local law enforcement, fire control and health professionals, which he said have been strained severely.

“Within the first month of taking office, I will meet personally with leaders in each jurisdiction of law enforcement and fire control in every part of the county to re-establish good working relationships,” Tiballi said.

He said that overall, he would combine his business sense with his medical expertise to rebuild the office from the ground up.

“Through much hard work and dedicated service I have seen good ideas succeed,” Tiballi said. “I believe that patience and perseverance conquer all things and I am one of the hardest workers you will ever meet.”

Election 2012: Kane County Circuit Clerk

Republicans

Thomas M. Hartwell
Having served on the Kane County Board from 1996-2000, Tom Hartwell is familiar with Kane County Government. As a practicing attorney out of South Elgin for the past 19 years, “the court is my workplace,” he said.

This bodes well for him in his pursuit for a position responsible for the maintenance of all records of the county courts.

“The Circuit Clerk handles court files, manages over 100 employees and works with other elected officials,” Hartwell said. “My abilities, experience and motivations make me uniquely qualified.”

He said his priority would be to better organize the record-keeping system while spending less resources.

“When it comes to wasteful government spending, enough is enough. I will make tough decisions that will help solve the financial fix were in. Kane County can no longer afford the type of old-school leadership that has brought us to the brink,” he said.

He explained that the current Circuit Clerk’s Office is behind in the installation and implementation of an advanced computer system. He would save time, resources, and create opportunity to improve service by fully utilizing technology designed to efficiently and economically manage the court’s records.

“We live in an information age. Kane County court records need to be brought into the new millennium,” Hartwell said. “Advanced computer technology will free up the office’s employees to take on other additional responsibilities, creating an atmosphere organized around timely and cost-efficient customer service.“

He said that upgrading the office’s technological capabilities will allow the court to process cases faster while enabling people outside the court to access public information over the Internet more easily. In effect, this reduced the resources needed to perform the job while at the same time improving service to the public.

The focus on streamlining processes could translate to all areas of county government, he said.

“One ongoing challenge will be our ability to do more with less,” Hartwell said. “If we don’t work smart and if we don’t work together, the slow recovery of our economy will continue to strain the public sector. Maintaining a balanced budget without sacrificing important county services is something that needs to be addressed across the board, regardless of office, in the spirit of reciprocal collaboration.”

Catherine S. Hurlbut
Catherine Hurlbut did not respond to repeated attempts to obtain information for this article.

Karin M. Herwick
Karin Herwick definitely has the most direct experience of what it is like to work in the Kane County Circuit Clerk’s Office. She has worked in various capacities in the office for the past 20 years. Starting as a team supervisor, she continued to take on more responsibility until she became the office’s Chief Operating Officer for the past seven years, including her secondary role as Chief Deputy Circuit Clerk.

“I have been motivated to seek the position of Circuit Clerk because I find public service both rewarding and challenging,” Herwick said. “I would like to continue to be a public servant as your next Circuit Clerk.”

Because of her extensive experience inside the office, she said she would be able to hit the ground running in pursuing her priorities.

Her first area of focus would be to improve online access to records and using innovation to address other areas of customer service. She said she has been actively working to improve public record access through the Circuit Clerk’s website, helping make it user friendly while also protecting personal and confidential information.

She would also focus on transitioning the office from a paper to what she calls a “paper on demand” system would provide many efficiencies and cost savings. She explained that achieving this advancement is more possible with someone already experienced in the office’s functions.

“This requires a comprehensive understanding of manual processes to be able to transition them to new business solutions,” Herwick said. “It also requires training of deputy clerks on the new way of business, as well as working with all Partners of Justice and the public to successfully transition.”

Should the County Board vote to fund a new case management system, Herwick said she is prepared to work with all the impacted parties to ensure that the new system is both accurate and comprehensive.

She said she is uniquely qualified for this role due to her current role and history with the department.

“I have a proven record of being a team player and able to successfully work with people. I will continue to lead in this same manner,” Herwick said.