Juris Doctor, University of Iowa
Master's Degree, Buiness Administration, Univeristy of Iowa
Bachelor's Degree, Business Administration and Political Science, Augustana College (Rock Island IL)
Dave Hartwell, 23
Danny Hartwell, 19
On the Record
Why are you running for the position of Kane County circuit clerk?
I truly care about others. As an attorney, I serve my clients because I care about their problems. Twenty years ago, I met Joel Perez, Jr., a former gang member with a passion for helping underprivileged teens. He wanted to provide alternatives for youths facing the pressures of gangs. I helped him form and organize successful anti-gang programs in Elgin and Aurora. Since then I have spent much of my time, resources and efforts supporting various civic, charitable and youth organizations because I know our future lies in our children. I believe we are called to help one another. Service at my office will be courteous and user-friendly. My goal as the Circuit Clerk is to serve the citizens of Kane County in a timely, efficient and ethical manner. As an outsider, I bring a fresh prospective to the office not being entangled by policies of the past. It is important that the Circuit Clerk’s office is well run and cost effective. Government must operate with its means.
What would your top three priorities be as circuit clerk?
As circuit clerk, I will identify waste and root out the inefficiencies that exist in the office. I will conduct proficiency studies to effectively employ existing personnel and conduct an IT audit to identify improvements in the circuit clerk’s computer systems. The audits and studies will be conducted by independent and unbiased professionals so that the best results can be achieved. Financial efficiency goes hand-in-hand with transparency and accountability. Given the changes that will occur with the upcoming election, this is one of our best opportunities is to improve the relationship between elected officials. Better communication, among departments and individual employees, fosters constructive cooperation. I believe in finding common ground and working on common goals. I respect others and, in turn, look to be respected. My attitude welcomes open daily discussion and the exchange of varying ideas. As a practicing attorney, I am aware of the improvements that can be made in circuit clerk’s office. Efficiencies from an advanced computer and records system would reduce overall costs by a significant margin. A new more productive case management system will free up the office’s employees to take on other additional responsibilities, creating an atmosphere organized around timely and cost-efficient customer service.
How would you differentiate yourself from your opponent?
I am an attorney with an MBA. I served on the Kane County Board from 1996 to 2000. I have personal experience using the circuit clerk’s office. I have management experience. I have government experience. While experience often dictates what we do, leadership allows us to do it. I have both the experience and leadership qualities to manage the circuit clerk’s office in an efficient and effective manner. I have been an attorney for more than 27 years. I manage a successful private practice, which involves working with people inside the court system on a regular basis. The circuit clerk works with diverse “constituencies,” including judges, the county board, the state’s attorney and public defender, court services, law enforcement, the bar association, social service agencies, civil litigants, criminal defendants, witnesses, jurors and, of course, the voters. Each one of these should expect the very highest level of professionalism. I have the government, business and managerial experience to manage this diverse customer base.
Explain an accomplishment of yours and how it would relate to your being an effective circuit clerk.
Over the last three decades, the development of my law practice has allowed me to be a regular customer of the circuit clerk’s services. I understand what the office must do to provide quality service. Yet there is more to the office than the courts. The circuit clerk’s office has over 100 employees. These employees are individuals, people that need to be organized and managed. I served as President of Elgin Continental Little League and managed the 2007 Senior State Champions. I oversaw more than 800 players and 1,200 volunteers who participated on seven different fields. We organized teams, scheduled games and practices, and held fund raising events. By focusing on common goals, we worked together to operate a successful baseball and softball program. No one wants to cut the grass, rake the fields, paint the dugouts, or sit in the concession stand -- unless they see the bigger picture. When everyone does their part then the team will be a success. As circuit clerk, I will bring leadership that will promote working together for the betterment of the office.
As the circuit clerk, how would you work around the reported inefficiencies of the office’s current computer system and the county’s current attempts to upgrade?
At present, the circuit clerk’s office has an excellent staff. Until a new case management is acquired, I will make case by case changes to improve service. Where funds are available, I will to automate on a smaller scale when cost savings and efficiency can be achieved. We must do more with less. Government must live within it means. We must be more efficient. As Circuit Clerk, I will identify waste and root out the inefficiencies that exist in the office. I will conduct proficiency studies to effectively employ existing personnel and conduct an IT audit to identify improvements in the circuit clerk’s computer, data, and telephone systems. The audits and studies will be conducted by independent and unbiased professionals so that the best results can be achieved. Advanced computer software and programs will allow the court to process cases with even greater efficiency. It will enable people outside the court to access certain public information over the Internet. Such computer technology will free up the office’s employees to take on other additional responsibilities, creating an atmosphere organized around timely and cost-efficient customer service.
Why are you the best candidate for this position?
My 27 years’ experience as an attorney using the circuit clerk’s office in Kane and other counties (as well as federal courts), give me a unique understanding of what excellent service means. My service as a member of the Kane County board has given me insight regarding the budget process and promoting cooperation and communication with other government officials. With an MBA and my experience managing large volunteer organizations, I know how to bring people together and achieve success. Most of all, for me hard work is a lifestyle. I graduated from Augustana College not with one major but two. I went to the University of Iowa School of Law and earned not only my Juris Doctor but an MBA as well. In law school, I served as an editor of the Journal of Corporation Law and published not one article but two. Upon graduation, I was hired by one of the largest law firms in the county but eventually I started my own successful practice. I strive to succeed. With my experience and drive, as circuit clerk, I believe I can provide excellent service with cost efficiency.
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