Tag Archives: L. Robert Russell

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.”

Feb. 2 Election Results

Below are the local unofficial results from the Feb. 2, 2010 primary election. Winners names are in bold.

District Representative 14th Congressional District

Democratic candidates
Bill Foster—25,071
Republican candidates
Randall M. “Randy” Hultgren—34,472
Ethan A. Hastert—28,575

State Senator 25th District

Democratic candidates
Leslie N. Juby—8,492
Republican candidates
P. Sean Michels—9,444
Chris Lauzen—22,110

State Representative 50th District

Democratic candidates
Linda Healy—4,435
Republican candidates
Keith R. Wheeler—7,344
Kay Hatcher—8,468
Bob McQuillan—2,462

Kane County Clerk

Democratic candidates
Ghafran Chishti—12,242
Republican candidates
John A. “Jack” Cunningham—30,139

Kane County Treasurer

Democratic candidates
None
Republican candidates
David J. Rickert—24,125
Bob Kovanic—7,347

Kane County Sheriff

Democratic candidates
Pat Perez—13,435
Republican candidates—too close to call, awaiting absentee count
L. Robert Russell—15,531
Donald E. Kramer—15,570

Kane County Board District 5

Democratic candidates
None
Republican candidates
Bill Wyatt—1,152
Melisa Taylor—1,332

Kane County Board District 25

Democratic candidates
None
Republican candidates
Bob Kudlicki—1,447
Thomas (T.R.) Smith—1,863

16th Judicial Circuit (Grometer Vacancy)

Democratic candidates
None
Republican candidates
Fred M. Morelli—17,910
Kevin T. Busch—28,050

16th Judicial Circuit (Kane County Vacancy)

Democratic candidates
John G. Dalton—7,584
Michael C. Funkey—5,407
Republican candidates
Thomas Patrick Rice—5,841
Robert L. Janes—4,115
D. J. Tegeler—3,065
Leonard J. Wojtecki—5,374
David R. Akemann—12,880

Referendum

Sugar Grove Library Proposition to increase the limiting rate
Yes—925
No—1,920

Pair of Republicans race to face Perez

by Ryan Wells
A pair of Republican candidates for Kane County Sheriff, L. Robert Russell and Donald E. Kramer, will face each other on Feb. 2 for the chance to run against Democratic incumbent Pat Perez, who is running unopposed in the primary election.

L. Robert Russell
L. Robert Russell said that he has the experience, ideas and leadership skills necessary to bring the Kane County Sheriff’s Department into the future.

“What the Kane County Sheriff’s Office needs most is a vision for the future and a leader who can implement that vision,” Russell said.

He has worked for the DuPage County Sheriff’s Office since 1993, having worked in all three bureaus of the department—corrections, court security and patrol. He currently serves as the supervising liaison for the Wayne, Addison and Bloomingdale townships. He was also selected by DuPage’s sheriff to serve in search-and-rescue efforts in the wake of hurricanes Katrina and Rita, earning a commendation for his service there.

He said it is this wide-ranging experience in a different—but local—department that has given him the skills and knowledge to help resolve what he says are reoccurring problems within the department.

“I’m a Kane County taxpayer, and I’m aware of the reoccurring problems at the Sheriff’s Office,” he said. “I see solutions out there that aren’t being brought to the table. I believe the office needs a fresh perspective to deal with these immediate problems.”

One of those immediate problems Russell said he wants to address is the personnel make-up of the department. The current structure is too inefficient and harms the department’s ability to deliver the type of service required, Russell said.

“I would implement a plan to improve the efficiency and quality of service,” Russell said. “It has been revealed on several occasions that the current administration is top-heavy.”

By using the term “top heavy,” Russell said that there are too many administrators sitting in offices, and not enough officers in the field. This has a negative impact on both the budget and on the department’s ability to respond to needs throughout the county.

“We need to get the boots off of the carpet and back on the streets,” Russell said. “There needs to be a reallocation of the current personnel.”

That shift in personnel focus to make the department less top heavy will help at the budgetary level as well, Russell said. With the economic downturn affecting everyone and every governmental department, this will be a significant part of the focus of the sheriff in the coming years, he said.

“Like everybody else, my family has learned to live within our means during these tough economic times,” Russell said. “The Sheriff’s Office needs to do the same. The next administration needs to respond appropriately to the economic downturn, by staying within the adjusted budget and bringing proactive solutions to the table.”

Russell said that not only will he focus on cutting expenses and creating efficiencies to eliminate wasteful spending, he will also look at ways for the department to obtain more revenue.

“After looking at the expenses … the first thing that I would do is hire a full-time grant writer,” he said.

Currently, the administration employes a part-time grant writer, who has obtained several grants to ease budget pressures.

“How many more could have been obtained with a full-time grant writer?” Russell asked. “A full-time grant writer will pay for him or herself many times over through increased grant awards, and is a wise use of Sheriff’s Office funds.”

The effort to revise the department’s personnel structure and address its fiscal challenges must coincide with an improvement in the department’s service and response times, he said.

“People in western townships have complained of long response times—up to 30 minutes,” Russell said. “That’s unacceptable. We can improve service by partnering with the townships.”

The range of goals Russell laid out will be achieved, he said, because of his leadership abilities.

“I have led, and will continue to lead, by working problems and finding solutions,” Russell said.

Donald E. Kramer
As a more than 30-year employee of the Kane County Sheriff’s Office, from June 1979 to November 2009, Donald E. Kramer said he has the experience and already-existing knowledge of the department to step in and make an impact from day one.

“I believe the Sheriff’s Office needs leadership that will provide more effective service to the citizens of Kane County,” Kramer said. “I believe that I have the skill level and experience to manage the personnel and address the core needs of the citizens while maintaining a balanced budget.”

Kramer joined the department in 1979, and was promoted to sergeant in 1986 and lieutenant in 2002. During those years, he supervised a jail shift for four years, headed a traffic division for eight years, and managed the computer network, department training, and community policy for central Kane County and civil enforcement.

It is that level of management experience and inside knowledge of the Kane County Sheriff’s Office that separates him from his Republican opponent in the primary, or the current sheriff and democratic candidate, Kramer said.

“My Republican challenger has considerably less management experience and is not familiar with the operations of the Sheriff’s Office,” Kramer said. “I also have more education and lifetime experience than the current sheriff and believe his will make a difference as the leader of the Kane County Sheriff’s Office.”

Kramer said he hopes to use that experience and knowledge to restructure the department in a more efficient and effective manner, ranging from individual officers up through the management ranks. He also intends to work other law enforcement agencies to share resources and combine efforts in combating drugs and gangs, and improve traffic safety.

“I plan on building a management team that will determine the needs of the community and work with supervisors to implement successful strategies,” he said. “Upper-level management will also be more responsible for collaborating with other agencies and managing finances to achieve these goals within financial constraints.”

The biggest challenge facing whomever is elected to the position, Kramer said, is to provide for the public safety while navigating through a budget crunch that translates to a reduction in finances and personnel.

“Because there has been a significant cut in the budget and personnel, it will be necessary as sheriff to redeploy resources to address core issues that affect the greatest number of citizens,” Kramer said. “To accomplish this, I will reduce the number of specialized units and reassign personnel in order to provide the greatest amount of service to attack neighborhood crime and traffic violations.”

With all units of government facing tightening budgets, Kramer said that it will be vital for all elected officials to work together more effectively in order to provide the highest level of service while remaining fiscally responsible.

“That can only be accomplished with mutual cooperation and understanding,” he said.

All of the management, restructuring and financial decisions must be made with the public in mind, he said. Given that, he said his ultimate focus will be on maintaining—and improving—the level of service provided by the Kane County Sheriff’s Department.

“I am committed to listening to the needs of citizens and addressing the issues that bring the greatest return to the safety and security of the public,” he said.

Pat Perez
Pat Perez has served as Kane County Sheriff since 2006, having previously worked for the department since 1992. He served the department as a supervisor from 1996 to 2006, and said that his time both in the department and as sheriff have given him the insight necessary to continue to improve the department.

“I have seen the growth of Kane County and strive constantly to provide the best service possible for those we serve,” Perez said. “I know from experience the quality-of-life issues that range from domestic violence to burglary to drug and gang enforcement to foreclosures and evictions.”

Perez said the department has applied a proactive application to law enforcement, rather than just react to crimes as they occur. He pointed to the 2008 move from the Geneva facility to the St. Charles facility—in which 511 inmates were transferred without incident and without an interruption of service to the public—as an example of the impacts of a proactive approach.

“We have embarked on a new era and I am honored to have been sheriff during this important time in our agency’s history,” Perez said.

Perez said that included in that new era are accomplishments such as reducing unnecessary spending, redeployment of personnel to increase the department’s efficiency, and expanding its outreach to the communities.

“I have kept the promises I made when I ran for sheriff in 2006, and will continue to lead our agency in a positive direction,” he said.

Looking forward, Perez said his most immediate priority is to navigate through the difficult economic climate facing his department in 2010. To that end, he said all decisions will be made without negatively impacting the department’s patrol functions, because that aspect of the department consists of the true first responders who have the largest impact on the citizens.

“The economic downturn has inspired us to do the very best we can with the resources we have,” Perez said.

One way to increase the resources available to the department is to focus on obtaining grant funding. He said the department has obtained more than $890,000 during the past three years, which translated to vehicle purchases, training and personnel that might otherwise not be available.

Additionally, Perez plans to continue to foster partnerships with Kane County citizens.

“Our expansion of Community Policing, Neighborhood Watch, TRIAD Senior Services, Citizen’s Police Academy and Jail Ministries are but a few of the programs that have drawn us together as a community,” he said.

That sense of community is vital to the continued improvement of the department, Perez said, adding that collaboration has already had an impact.

“Through maintaining relationships with our fellow law enforcement agencies, with elected officials at all levels and with the citizens of Kane County, we have made great strides in crime prevention and have seen a reduction in crime,” he said. “I realize that all our accomplishments are the result of group efforts.”