Bachelor's Degree, Finance, DePaul University
Retired, Air Traffic Controller at O’Hare (31+ years) & Community Banker (22+ years)
On the Record
What experiences do you have that make you a good candidate for office?
The top item on my list would be my over 22 years of being a member of the Geneva Plan Commission. This experience has allowed me to learn how work with government regulations, work with group dynamics and develop an understanding on how to find common ground that will work in the best interest of the involved parties. My attendance record over that period, only a handful of absences in over 300 meetings, shows dedication to meet my commitment to our community. One has only to look at the growth since 1990 to understand the amount of work that the Commission has undertaken while I have been privileged to be a member. I have also served on the Board and as President of the Geneva Senior Housing Corporation, a not-for-profit, that worked to bring senior housing to Geneva in the late 80s till early 2000s. I have served as a volunteer with the Geneva Beautification Committee since the late 1990s. Additionally I am a member of the Geneva Lions Club.
What are your top two or three priorities if elected?
My top priorities are to continue learning as much as possible about the district. This includes reviewing past customer surveys, finding out what the users need and want, understanding how State mandated requirements impact our district, looking at past board actions and melding together all that information with the financial resources available to the district. I would work with the other Board members to provide the highest level of service to our customers while maintaining sound financial practices. The upcoming customer survey will help the Commissioners continue to look at the wants of the community and make sure we address the needs. The Park District has shown a good past record of planning based on community surveys and I look forward to participating in that process.
Would you support freezing your taxing district’s levy until housing prices rebound? Why or why not?
I believe it is fundamentally naïve to promise that. The realty is that past actions to provide services have consequences that require funding levels to keep up with the increasing cost of providing those services or we have to cut the services. Additionally the math involved with property taxes is convoluted to the point where decreasing housing values guarantee increasing property taxes. I would support looking at user fees schedules to help increase revenue to reduce property tax burdens where that can be implemented. Once current bond debts become callable, the District will be looking at how much can be saved be refunding, the bond markets equivalent of refinancing, these obligations. That could potential result in some savings to the taxpayers but it is a few year until the bonds become callable.
What one decision by the board do you most disagree with and why?
Having served on many Boards, I understand that information the Board uses to make its decision is usually not the same information that the public sees. Therefore I can not say I disagree with any of the past decisions the Board has made since I was not privy to all the information that Board had. That being said, I would fully support any taxing districts attempt to place full disclosure of information on its website so the public has the same information going into a meeting that the Board has, limited only by items deemed required by the Open Meetings Act to be keep confidential to the Board only.
What was the biggest accomplishment of the board in the past year?
No one single accomplishment stands out as the collective work the Board has done continuously shows a dedication to providing high quality services. The District has scheduled to do a update to its Master Plan in 2013 so that follow up to the 2008 Master Plan is probably my favorite item. Without monitoring and updating the needs of the Community the taxing bodies could be missing the desires of its customers. By scheduling updates every 5 years the Park District has shown a dedication to having a well thought out Master Plan and then executes the plan with fiscal responsibility. One has only to look at the District’s replacement budget to notice that.
Why should voters elect you to office?
I feel that I have shown a long term commitment to public service in Geneva. The office I seek is unpaid as have been all my previous positions. Since I am fully retired, from two noncompeting long time professional positions, I have the time to fulfill the obligations for which I am asking the voters to give me. My past history of public services details the highest of ethical standards, personal integrity and my attendance record confirms my commitment to fulfill the duties of the office.
Other Local Races
L. Michael Konen