McHenry County Board - District 5 (Republican)
Voting will take place Tuesday, March 18, 2014
Voters will be able to select 2 candidates in this race. The 2 candidates with the most votes will be elected.
Winner in this race will be elected for a term of 4 years.
Click a question below to display the candidates' answers to that question.
Why are you running for county board?
I’m running for office because I believe that I can continue to be the voice of my constituents, an instrument of positive change, and to ensure that the County Board stays on its path of fiscal strength and responsibility. There are two issues that I think are of particular importance. The first is the protection of our groundwater and the second is initiatives that create and foster sustainable economic growth. McHenry County must continue to communicate and foster a spirit of cooperation between itself, business, and municipalities within its borders. My experience as a business owner provides me with a strong understanding of the importance of sound fiscal policies and responsibility. It has also taught me to make tough decisions – decisions that are based on the long-term result not the immediacy of short term success.
I am running for McHenry County Board because I believe our county's residents need someone to stand up for them and their beliefs. Taxes in our county are ranked in the top 25 (highest) in the nation. This to me does not translate to an effective and efficient government. The county board members cannot continue to sell bonds and use cash to fill their budget requirements. This is just kicking the can down the road and playing a shell game. Taxes have become to high in our county and need to be reeled in to help all of the families/people in McHenry County. This is one of my greatest motivations for running for McHenry County Board.
I care deeply about this county and its people. I believe there are several issues that are not being addressed by the county board. The county board needs members who will fight for what they know to be right. The board needs members who will represent the people interests, who have the courage to speak their minds, and say what needs to be said. As a non-commissioned officer in the U.S. Navy I learned the values of service, duty and responsibility. I was exposed to the complexities of organizational structure, the necessity of thorough communication, and the tenants of personal and professional respect. I took those values to heart, after serving my country honorably I returned home where I applied those values to my civic and professional life. As a former Sheriff’s deputy I have a proven record of championing just causes, and remaining steadfast when situations become difficult. I have developed the humility to admit mistakes and gained the wisdom necessary to learn from those mistakes. Finally, it is my greatest desire to contribute to shaping McHenry County into a thriving, blessed community where my four beautiful children can prosper as they raise their families and build their lives.
What is your top legislative priority if you are elected?
I’d like to see the County adopt a new Unified Development Ordinance and implement a new Storm Water Ordinance. I think the continued lobbying of the state and federal governments for funds to mitigate flood damage, to protect our ground water, and to improve the County’s infrastructure are essential legislative activities. The County Board is diligently working to expand broad band and fiber optic capabilities throughout the entire county.
The three issues that most families worry about are jobs, the economy and taxes. I wonder how our local economy will grow when our taxes are listed among the top 25 in the nation? That reality paired with the fact that Illinois is crippled with debt and overspending problems, creates a recipe for overtaxing to continue. People, and more importantly businesses, are leaving our county and state because of these problems. We have to come up with simple fixes to very complex problems created by past politicians. Government has overextended itself into our lives with more and more laws and bureaucracy. We must start fixing these problems at our local and county levels first. I believe that I can bring these common sense and reasonable solutions to the people of McHenry County.
Transparency and Accountability- This county has very little accountability and transparency. For several years now, members of the public have wasted their time and resources in attempts to gain access to information that, by law, should be available to them. This lack of openness has diminished the trust of the people and the effectiveness of the government. The county needs its elected officials to be continually honest and forthcoming. When mistakes are made, the public should have access to the causes and consequences of those mistakes, as well as the details and the solutions necessary to correct the mistakes. When the people are granted transparency and accountability, all necessary reforms and agendas can be implemented with greater ease and less controversy. If elected I will immediately set myself to making transparency and accountability the new standard by pushing to establish a true means of oversight, while ensuring that all county agencies adhere to rules and laws already in existence. There is much that can be done to make McHenry County government open and accessible to those that desire and deserve accountable, honest government.
Where do you stand on the upcoming March referendum to make the County Board chairmanship popularly elected by the voters?
I am in favor of a referendum to make the County Board chairmanship a popularly elected position. I do not support the idea of an election at large for a four year County Board position. The county board vote for chairman takes place every two years which, in essence, is a term limit. If the individuals in these positions are not performing, the county board can vote to replace them. It costs approximately $50,000 to $100,000 for an individual to run a county wide campaign. An important question is does raising this amount of money cause an individual to become beholden to large donors and/or special interest groups.
I am against the County Board Chairmanship being elected at large. Just as the last election voting County Board Chairmanship with executive powers was defeated almost 2 to 1. I feel that choosing a County Board Chairmanship by the existing board members is still the right decision. Under the current process the County Board Chairmanship is only a 2 yr term. A County Board Chair typically at most sits for up to 4-6 yrs. I feel that if the County Board Chair was elected at large that outside influences would be coming in to help dictate what goes on in McHenry County. I also don't think that adding another layer of government in McHenry County or the State of Illinois is the answer.
I believe that one of biggest problems facing not only McHenry County politics, but American politics is the entrenched career politician. This referendum is a means to creating an opportunity for another entrenched, career politician. Currently the county board elects one of its members to the chairmanship which entails a two year term of office. The members know the candidates personally and professionally at a level that the average voter does not. They know who is right for the position and who is not. The chairperson has to remain continuously diligent, knowing that in only two years he/she can lose the position if he/she is not productive. If the referendum were to pass the chairmanship would revert to a four year term and as is the result in many elections, the candidate with the most signs and campaign flyers will hold the office. The extension of two years takes away any meaningful sense of urgency by the chairman to confer with the other members and the public about issues and concerns that need immediate attention. The bottom line is that the county doesn't need more campaign signs and fundraisers. It needs productive leadership that can be revoked every two years if need be.
Do you believe that the County Board – before 2013 – kept an adequate eye on the finances and spending of the McHenry County Mental Health Board? Why or why not?
When I was chairman of Human Resources, I initiated conversations with the Mental Health Board that resulted in the implementation of personnel policies that were aligned with the County’s policies which effectively reigned in the wild fluctuations of the Mental Health Board’s policies. The County Board has no real control over the Mental Health Board since it is a separate taxing body and creates its own budget and tax levy.
I feel that the County Board did not have a understanding of the magnitude of what was happening at the McHenry County Mental Health Board. If you fail to have oversight, especially with something so large, you will end up reacting to a situation that has spiraled to where it is today. Trying to fix the problem that has taken place now, will and already has taken yrs. to repair. Fulling funding a very large brick and mortar building instead of using that money to help those people that need it was not the answer.
No. The irresponsible spending by the Mental Health Board was conducted for years, and was allowed to conduct while the McHenry County Board looked the other way. Cronyism and personal relationships played a part in the out of control spending. This is an example of the lack of integrity and accountability that must be addressed. The county needs board members that can recognize inequities and have the courage to openly address those inequities no matter the political backlash. Personal agendas, private financial agendas and political agendas should not factor into something as important as the Mental Health Board. Unfortunately that is exactly what has led to all of the scrutiny of the Mental Health Board and its participants.
Do you believe the county should continue to run Valley Hi Nursing Home, or would you like to see it sold to a private entity?
Between the Valley Hi tax levy and the changes made by the County Board to control expenses and enhance revenue, Valley Hi is in a strong financial position. It is no longer a drain on the County’s budget. I believe the county should continue to run Valley Hi since it was voted that authority through a referendum by the constituents of the county.
I believe that we should be helping our elderly population. They have mostly worked and contributed to our society and we should not just push them to the side because they have become older. However, you should be able to run Valley Hi Nursing Home at the very minimum at around break even. If a private entity can come in and run a nursing home and make money, the question will lie in why can't McHenry County? You have to look at where the money is going? A lot of the patients at Valley Hi are typically Medicaid which the State of Illinois reimburse. This means there are typical delays of months upon payment for services. This makes things harder to run efficiently. Is the staff at Valley Hi over or under staffed? McHenry County Board will have to decide and if we don't have the right people in place to run the facility then we need to take a closer look. We don't want another disaster like the Mental Health Board and Facility.
The research that I have done indicates that the current operating board for Valley Hi and its director has been very effective running the facility so that it has actually stayed in the black. As a result I don’t believe that there is any reason to change the status of Valley Hi and its relationship to the county. It is very important that Valley Hi remain a valuable resource in McHenry County, to serve our elderly and those who may face both health and economic challenges in their declining years.
What issues would you like to see addressed in the upcoming Unified Development Ordinance?
The Unified Development ordinance (UDO) should promote and ensure the protection of the County’s agriculture industry and the County’s groundwater. The UDO should also address ag-tourism. I believe that ag-tourism should have two classifications: light impact ag-tourism which could be granted with conditional use permits, and heavy impact venues such as concerts, horse racing, and large produce cannons (e.g. pumpkin or watermelon cannons) which would be allowed with a limited number of temporary use permits. These temporary use permits would have very stringent conditions that must be met. There should be a streamlined process for renewing conditional use permits for applicants who have no substantial changes to their property.
I believe that there is a new version coming out soon and to speculate what the new version is going to look would be unfair. However, one thing that has come up are the very large lighted billboards. I feel that those should not be on county property. The problem arises because of pockets of county property that are within city limits west of 47. Most county property is west of Rt. 47 and in the northern part of the McHenry County. I think that the County Board should continue to have a moratorium on those types of signs until the final version is voted on.
The Unified Development Ordinance was established to consolidate all of the zoning and planning ordinances so they provided a consistent means for our community to be able to responsibly develop land. I think this was a step in the right direction but I think that two important issues are lacking. Conservation of ground water needs to be addressed and strict guidelines need to be enacted. According to my research the county is hitting record low reservoir levels and much of the available fresh water is being ushered off into the Fox River. This ordinance has to seriously address this matter. Another issue concerns residential development and restrictions thereof. With the housing market in dire conditions and the countless foreclosures and abandoned homes in the area, residential expansion should be curbed and an effort made to repopulate those homes that are already available. Many of the people who live in this county do so as a means of getting away from the urban sprawl. There is no incentive to the local population to afford developers extra access to the community for the purpose of expanding residential subdivisions for a profit, while sticking the taxpayers in the community with the maintenance and upkeep costs.
Do you believe county government should continue to keep its tax levy frozen? Why or why not? And if not, what expenses would you cut to ease the burden on taxpayers?
Yes, the County should continue to keep its tax levy frozen. Given the current economic times, the County should take the lead in stabilizing the tax burden of its citizens. Through good stewardship, the county has been able to keep the levy flat while still providing services to its residents.
I do believe that we should keep the tax levy frozen at this time. McHenry County needs to find ways to cut back on expenses. When the County is in the top 25 in taxes in the nation everything that is done within our county needs to be taken a look at from top to bottom. No department should be excluded from trying to find more reasonable ways to cut high taxes.
I am and will always be for tax reduction and/or maintaining low taxes. I am also a realist and I understand that in order to keep taxes low, government has to reduce its costs. The taxes are required of taxpayers in this county are already making it difficult for residents to live comfortably much less thrive. Reports claim that property taxes in McHenry County are the third highest in the state, a state well known for over taxation. Over the last two years the County Board has not taken a tax levy. I think that has been responsible but in order to maintain this current levy and not have a revenue shortfall some of the county’s bigger agencies with the more robust budgets have to find a way to cut costs and reduce waste. I believe the county can maintain the frozen levy if some very shrewd financial plans are laid and implemented. If we are not careful, and we do not maintain parody with inflation we could jeopardize financial situation in the long run.