ALGONQUIN – Several area community leaders and business people on Wednesday nodded in agreement as Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon stressed the importance of financial transparency among elected leaders.
An informal visit from Simon during a regular Algonquin-Lake in the Hills Rotary Club meeting allowed members to ask questions and discuss such topics, as well as any others that came to mind.
“Just the idea of transparency is a very good idea,” club president Jim Zursin said after the meeting. “I definitely think that should be encouraged.”
Overhauling the state’s financial disclosure laws for public officials was one of the issues Simon decided to tackle upon being sworn in as lieutenant governor in 2010, she told the group at Port Edward Restaurant in Algonquin. “I do want to, for example, have all sources of income listed,” Simon said.
When asked whether she’s met resistance from Illinois legislators, Simon answered in one word: “Yes.”
Legislation to make changes to the disclosure laws has made it through the Illinois Senate, she added, with more work to do in the Illinois House of Representatives.
The short, 20-minute discussion migrated quickly from issues of transparency and hovered over education-related ideas.
Simon, who said she believes education to be the “single best investment of public resources,” highlighted recent efforts to consolidate suburban school districts in the name of efficiency and effectiveness.
Zursin, also principal of Eastview Elementary School in Algonquin, later said he was familiar with the logic behind the tactic as it’s already in use in the area, including his own Community School District 300.
The visit from Simon – who’s running in the upcoming election against incumbent Judy Baar Topinka for Illinois comptroller – was part of an effort to every month bring two to three speakers who might expose members to new topics and ideas, club secretary Virginia Freyre said.
“It’s just a way to attract some new members and discuss interesting topics that maybe we wouldn’t normally hear about,” Freyre said.