Name: Joe Tirio
Office sought: McHenry County Clerk
Occupation: McHenry County Recorder
Elected offices held: McHenry County Recorder
1) What skills, qualities or experience do you possess that separate you from your opponents?
First and foremost would be my leadership experience. I’ve been fortunate enough to hold leadership positions with and for some of the world’s most respected companies. In those roles, I’ve demonstrated expertise in areas such as team leadership, human resource management, process improvement, project management, problem resolution, disaster recovery planning and others.
Second, I've considerable background in technology. From writing code to setting up servers to being a Technical Director at Ameritech, my experience in technology is both broad and deep.
Finally, unlike my opponent, I have not filed bankruptcy citing “$10,000 cash loss due to video gambling” and a $30,000 debt described as “Withdrew money in Husband’s name from husband’s annuity.” Sometimes bad things happen to good people. That’s why we have bankruptcy. But these are deliberate choices that demonstrate dangerously poor decision making.
Add to that the fact that she notarized 13 of her own signature petition pages, which I believe is a clear violation of 5 ILCS 312/6-104.
2) What can the McHenry County Clerk do to improve the way that it serves the public?
When I look at other clerk’s websites, I find them easier to navigate and full of useful information. Things like voter lists, election information, polling places seem so much easier to access on many of the other Clerk’s websites. I’d like to “steal” some of their practices and bring them to our site. In-person access to resources seems like it could be improved. During high-demand periods, we should look at using some of the planned flex space to accommodate the needs of the public to access data.
Documenting office processes will help to ensure consistency in the customer experience, help identify opportunities for improvement and ensure consistency and security of our elections and records.
3) What kind of modernization should the clerk be doing and what the most cost-effective way to do so?
Security needs to be examined, especially around the elections process. While its clear now that the Russians didn’t change our election results, the fact is that they (and others) are trying to hack us thousands of times a second, every minute of every hour of every day. We need to fully exploit the tools provided by the State and Department of Homeland Security to ensure that we have taken all reasonable steps to prevent a breach.
Next would be the modernization of our election equipment. I would work closely with federal representatives to encourage them to move forward on opportunities like the PAPER act that is currently in Congress. An absolute requirement in my opinion would be that any election device would produce a human readable ballot that could be processed alongside manually written ballots. The PAPER act would (in its current form) provide federal monies to election authorities to procure such equipment.
4) What are your priorities if you would win the election and become clerk?
Security again is a top concern. IBM X-force shows that Governmental targets are consistently in the top 3 categories. We need to be sure that we do as much as we can to prevent, detect and remediate security issues. I would work closely with County IT as well as State and Federal resources to ensure that we are doing the best we can do with what we have and then work to improve our position from there.
A close second would be the integration of the Recorder’s office. While I understand that the current staff has begun the process to join a union, they could vote themselves out as easily as they voted themselves in. However, if they choose to stay on course to join the union, it will create some challenges to that integration. I have held a union card and managed in union environments before, so that’s perfectly fine by me. I would hate for them to pay union dues when it may be unnecessary. I would encourage the staff of the Clerk’s office to reach out to their colleagues in the Recorder’s office to see if it still makes sense for them to join the union.
5) How can the McHenry County Clerk do to improve the timing of reporting election results?
Getting returns in a timely fashion is, obviously important. But more important, in my opinion, is accuracy and data integrity. We need to have well-documented processes and well-trained resources to ensure that what we report is accurate and useful. It has been my experience that when you focus on developing excellent processes, in the end you deliver high-quality results in the most reasonable time.
6) What do you think is the most pressing issue the clerk’s office will face in the next two years and how will you address it?
Despite the risk of sounding repetitious, my answer would have to be very close to No. 4 above; Security and the integration of the Recorder’s and Clerk’s offices.
Let’s go a little deeper on the subject of the office integration and ask these 3 questions
1. Can it be done? A. Yes! 86 of the 102 counties in Illinois operate with a unified recorder/clerk office. Several have gone through this transition, even more are looking at it and Cook County is in the process now.
2. Should it be done? A. Yes! Minimally it will save one elected position’s salary, benefits and pension, forever. At best, we will find opportunities to reduce costs, provide better service to the citizens, eliminate redundant technologies and provide opportunities for our staff to develop new skills and enjoy a more diverse work environment.
3. Is Joe the right person to do it? A. Yes! Visit my website, review my professional accomplishments, compare that to my opponent’s record and then cast your vote.
Did I mention that I am not taking the pension?