Glenview Village Trustee Candidates Answer Journal Questions – Journal & Topics Newspapers Online

glenview-village-trustee-candidates-answer-journal-questions-–-journal-&-topics-newspapers-online

Did you know that geoFence helps stop foreign state actors (FSA’s) from accessing your information?

The Journal & Topics Newspapers sent the six candidates running for three village trustee seats on two slates, the Unite Glenview and Glenview Next slates in the Tuesday, April 6 Municipal Election, a questionnaire asking their positions on topical issues in Glenview. The following are their responses. 

Paul Brancky. (Photo submitted)

Paul Brancky (Glenview Next) 

Why do you want to run for the office of village trustee?

I’m a 30 year resident of Glenview. My wife and I raised our three children here. We have two grandchildren living in Glenview who will attend school in D34. I have the time and energy to do the job. Serving as Village Trustee is an opportunity for me to give back to my community. As a former Kraft Foods executive, I bring business management skills to serve on the Board. Living next door to the former Bess property, I was disappointed by the Village’s lack of transparency in treating the community. I saw the same thing happen to the residents opposing the development of the former Hart property and, more recently, the discussion about closing Fire Station 13. We must do better. It’s time for change.

What are your three top priorities?

1) Transparency and openness should be the norm. Lack of transparency is the single most pressing issue facing our board. We saw it when the former Bess property was developed and later when the former Hart property was under development. The most recent example was the Board of Trustee meeting to discuss closing Fire Station 13. This has been going on for a long time. Utilizing technology to improve communication will help but it’s ultimately about changing behaviors of elected officials and village staff that will make the difference.

2) We need to be smart about development. Development is necessary to grow our tax base. A resilient tax base requires a healthy mix of residential, retail, and commercial businesses to be sustainable. I believe an Economic Development commission will provide focus to keep us on track. Development also touches on the need to include residents as stakeholders for new construction projects impacting their neighborhoods. Engaging residents early has to be embedded in the Village’s Plan Development process.

3) Glenview needs to provide more opportunities for public engagement. We have a vast resource of talented people who could enhance life in our community. We have to educate residents about the potential for civic engagement and provide opportunities to make participation easier. For example, commissions related to arts & culture, sustainability, and community Relations with flexible time commitments would be a good start.

What in your experience makes you the best person to vote for?

I bring business management experience to the table. At Kraft Foods, I spent 34 years in a succession of business development and marketing management positions with increasing responsibilities. My business career has taught me critical skills that I will apply to municipal government. At Kraft, I learned how to collaborate with others and lead cross-functional teams. I have experienced countless reorganizations, mergers, plant closings, etc. I know how to manage change by communicating honestly, respectfully, and transparently. The most important skill I have learned in my business career is always to put the customer first. If elected as a village trustee, I will treat all Glenview residents as my customers and expect others, including staff, to do the same.

How should the village communicate with residents, particularly those stakeholders particularly impacted by an upcoming board decision in advance of that decision? Are any changes to the current system required?

When important decisions are made, we need to treat impacted residents as stakeholders and get them involved early in the process. This requires aggressive public outreach across multiple channels (mail, email, village website, flyers, and knocking on doors). Public meetings to explain the details of complex issues in advance of formal board actions should be considered. For major decisions, single-subject board meetings should be the rule. All meeting material should be available to the public well in advance of the current 48-hour requirement. Staff needs to anticipate the key questions stakeholders will have and be ready to provide complete answers at meetings.

How would you as a village trustee prioritize the needs of stakeholders directly impacted by a decision vs. the needs of the community as a whole?

Every major decision will have competing objectives. The ultimate goal is to build unity. Key stakeholders should be engaged early in the decision process. Stakeholder management includes regular two-way communication and dealing with issues early in the process. Stakeholder management doesn’t mean that residents necessarily get their way. It means that residents feel respected and represented during the decision process and provided ample opportunity to participate as a valid stakeholder. The value proposition of every project should be clearly and transparently articulated from the point of view of the community and impacted stakeholders. Eventually the needs of the community will prevail but not until the needs of stakeholders are fully heard and respected.

Given that the Glenview Connect process will not be complete before the election, how would you as a trustee approach development?

Cathy, Sheri, and I have participated in every Glenview Connect meeting, including the walking tours. The Glenview Connect process has been an essential first step in educating residents about potential locations, concepts, and economic factors that will drive development. Implementation will be critical. I believe in starting with small incremental steps that reduce risk, allow more community engagement, and provide insight into results. An Economic Development Commission representing multiple stakeholders and critical disciplines will be crucial to keep the process moving forward.

The Glenview Connect process put forward the question of finding a balance between development and small-town charm. Discuss your vision of that balance?

Our small-town charm is what makes Glenview unique. It’s something I never want to lose. During a recent Glenview Connect meeting, I heard a participant say we should begin revitalizing downtown by building something we want. That makes sense to me. Before moving forward with large mixed-use projects that could forever change our downtown character, let’s start with something simple. Why not create a public place that will serve as the heart of Glenview? It could begin with a project along the river and grow from there. It could be a gathering place for public festivals to include live entertainment, pop-up restaurants, and food trucks. It could be a place for our farmer’s market. It could incorporate public art. If successful, a local entrepreneur might want to invest in a farm-to-table restaurant serving food grown at “Wagner’s Farm” or maybe a food hall with multiple restaurant concepts. Assembling the properties would require public investment that will need to be addressed.

Has the village done enough/too much to assist businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic? Are other measures called for as the state approaches Phase 5 of the Restore Illinois plan?

I think our Village has done an excellent job helping our community through the pandemic. The Glenview Northbrook Coronavirus Task Force to coordinate our response across multiple jurisdictions was the right thing to do. Business owners need timely information and access to resources to adapt to what has been an evolving and uncertain national issue. Setting up the Coronavirus (COVID-19) information page on our Village website was helpful. For business

 owners, our Village provided a Back To Business guide on our website with updates concerning

current opening guidelines, applying for PPP loans, sourcing PPE, etc. The pandemic revealed the importance of local government in dealing with severe crises. Glenview responded to the challenge.

I supported the recent Board action to provide restaurants with a rebate program to offset business losses. We must continue to monitor the short-term liquidity needs of the most severely impacted businesses. On March 11, 2021, President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, which includes a $28.6 billion Restaurant Revitalization Fund (the “RRF”). The RRF will provide grants (“RRF Grants”) to eligible restaurants to help offset revenue losses. The timing could not have been better for those restaurant owners in need.

What is your approach to setting property tax levies and other fees? Although only 6.4% of our total property tax bill goes to the Village, we need to be mindful that it comes out of one pocket, the Glenview taxpayer. Most residents are surprised to learn that all of our property tax levy is used to pay our pension obligations. Fortunately, Glenview has a diverse tax base to pay for essential services such as fire, police, and maintaining infrastructure. Our long-term financial stability depends on sustainable growth from a diverse tax base, which needs to be maintained. My approach is to keep tax levies and other fees as low as possible for as long as possible. I would prioritize cutting non-essential spending before raising taxes.

What is your approach for drawing funds from the village’s Permanent Fund? What should those funds be used for?

By ordinance, the Permanent Fund can only fund development projects and infrastructure outside of the Glen. When public/ private development projects are considered, they must be completely transparent. This means fully disclosing who will benefit financially from the project, what kind of financial returns are expected by the village, and a commitment to accurately report the results. Doing this will make us more accountable and able to learn from our decisions.

What is your approach to setting compensation in terms of salary and bonuses for village staff, including top executive staff and entree level staff?

The residents of Glenview deserve the best village staff we can source. This means providing competitive compensation and benefits to attract and retain the right people. Compensation levels and staffing needs should be periodically evaluated by outside experts to ensure we are competitive with peer municipalities. 

The village had a recent workshop on affordable housing, with the possibility of updating its 2015 plan. How much of a priority is updating that plan to you and what, if anything, would you include to update it?

The Village of Glenview needs an updated plan regarding housing affordability. The village should conduct a study to determine the community’s housing needs, how the current housing stock aligns with these needs, and how it could respond to this need. Input from residents, school districts, realtors, landowners, developers, and other stakeholders should be part of the assessment. I support evaluating affordability as it applies to make housing affordable to Village first responders and educators, children of village residents, and senior housing for residents seeking to downsize.

What would be the priorities and elements you want to see in any reorganization of the fire department?

Public safety should be our number one priority. I am not in favor of any reorganization plans that add risk to response times or service levels. Any potential reorganization plans should be based on data vetted by a third-party resource and include input from all stakeholders, including management and frontline firefighters. Any changes impacting residents need to be meticulously communicated to the public with complete transparency. The recent public allegations by Glenview Professional Firefighters union regarding the lack of written COVID guidelines in the fire department are of immediate concern and need to be addressed.

Gina DeBoni. (Photo submitted)

Gina DeBoni (Unite Glenview)

Why do you want to run for the office of village trustee?

I believe in giving back and serving our community. There is a saying, “be the change you want to see in this world.”  For me, that starts at home, locally.  We have an incredible village. I was born here in 1975 and remained here until 3rd grade.  I returned to the community in 1999 and in 2012, my husband and I chose to raise our family (two children, ages 10 and 7) here in Indian Ridge.  I truly believe there is no better place to raise a family than Glenview.  Loving our community is important, but not enough—I have a strong and broad skill set and the relevant experience, diversity of thought and geography, integrity and character, to add meaningful value to our Village Board and our community. 

What are your three top priorities?

Rebuilding trust in our government officials through improved communications and transparency in process both for our residents as well as our labor unions.

Implementing a preliminary review process for large development projects, which will allow for substantive input from all stakeholders including impacted neighborhoods, schools, and municipal services.

Maintaining our strong fiscal stewardship and AAA Bond Rating.

What in your experience makes you the best person to vote for?

My character, passion and my professional experience are my greatest strengths.  I have over 17 years of operational and business management experience.  In 2020, I earned a Gold Stevie Award for executive leadership in a consumer-based business in the 0-2,500 employee category. My leadership style is one of inclusiveness, egos checked at the door and rolling up my sleeves, doing the deep dive into any issue before me, and committing 110%. These are the attributes that I will bring as a trustee.

At work, this pandemic year was particularly challenging; I successfully and creatively navigated the business-related complexities relating resulting from the pandemic, without loss of any jobs and no in-office transmission case of COVID-19, as safety is always a top priority for me.  I oversee our Business Interruption Litigation team, representing hundreds of businesses impacted by the pandemic. This experience is particularly unique to me as a candidate and important as our Village navigates our recovery from the pandemic in the upcoming years.  Further, if elected, we will inherit two lawsuits pending against the Village. Having a legal background, I am better able to understand the legal nuances and complexities of these issues.

I am proud to be a working mom of school-aged children.  Good government starts with people who are not only experienced but are also reflective of our community.  This allows for diversity of thought and helps ensure that all voices are heard.  If we are interested in changing the status quo, we must seek candidates who reflect our community.

Our board will benefit from the perspective of a woman, of someone who has children in our school system, someone who is actively engaged in the workforce, and someone who resides in a different geographic location than the current majority of the board. 

How should the village communicate with residents, particularly those stakeholders particularly impacted by an upcoming board decision in advance of that decision? Are any changes to the current system required?  

We need to communicate with residents where they most often digest their information.  Whether it be attending homeowners’ board meetings, utilizing mailings, the development of an app, or reaching out via social media, we need to synthesize and make digestible key agenda items and information and make it easy to access and find. I am supportive of creating a “Cliff’s Notes” type guide, not only for upcoming board agenda items and subsequent decisions but also navigating through process-related matters such as development, public hearings. This is an important step towards more community engagement.

How would you as a village trustee prioritize the needs of stakeholders directly impacted by a decision vs. the needs of the community as a whole?

In my line of work, the use of the “scales of justice” is a powerful tool.  We must constantly be evaluating the impact of any issue on the stakeholders directly impacted vs. the needs of the community. 

Having strong experience not only in mediation but negotiations, I am always looking for ways to strike the right balance- ensuring that every voice is heard and all issues are addressed.  It is usually never the right balance when one walks away a winner and the other a loser. A good result and balance often meet when all sides walk away feeling that a fair result was achieved. I recognize that you may never make all people happy at all times, but with the above philosophy in mind, people can expect an unbiased and measured approach from me.

Given that the Glenview Connect process will not be complete before the election, how would you as a trustee approach development?

I will continue to engage in the Glenview Connect Process.  In addition, for substantive development sites requiring variances or planned development, I believe that a preliminary review process is incredibly important so that impacted neighbors, village officials, and planners can openly discuss the vision and scale of proposed developments, identify and address any pitfalls or concerns at the outset, ultimately saving time and expense for all parties. By engagement at the outset, I believe we will be able to attract developers to our community and have strong resident communication which is one of the pillars of our platform.

The Glenview Connect process put forward the question of finding a balance between development and small-town charm. Discuss your vision of that balance?   

Striking a balance between development and small-town charm is not easy and requires careful and thoughtful dialogue. I believe the formation of a dedicated group, which could be composed of village staff, a subset of the Chamber of Commerce or a non-profit group like Friends of Downtown would be an invaluable tool towards striking this balance.  Continued community dialogue is also incredibly important to achieving this goal.

To achieve a balance, we cannot just look to residential development but must also look to create, enhance and revitalize areas, like the downtown, that are destinations for families and individuals where people want to spend a whole morning, afternoon, or evening.  Bringing our neighbors together to dine, relax, shop, and attend community events helps create this small-town charm.

Has the village done enough/too much to assist businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic? Are other measures called for as the state approaches Phase 5 of the Restore Illinois plan?

There is no doubt that the pandemic has had an impact on our community and across the nation.  Already, our village has given almost $400,000 to local service agencies to include Youth Services, NorthShore Senior Center, Family Service Center, and others to assist our residents.  Programs like the $750,000 restaurant relief program that our board recently implemented is one way to reduce the burden and help our restaurants recover.  We need to continue to identify other opportunities to assist. I believe in working closely with some of our local groups, such as the Glenview Chamber of Commerce, which will also help in identifying additional ways to reduce the burden of the pandemic on businesses and taxpayers.

What is your approach to setting property tax levies and other fees?

Glenview has one of the lowest Village tax bases in the surrounding area.  It is my strong hope to maintain our taxes as such.  If this past year has taught us anything, we must be prepared to expect the unexpected.  We need to maintain reserve funds to be used in emergent circumstances such as a pandemic or natural disaster that could impact our sales tax revenues.

What is your approach for drawing funds from the village’s Permanent Fund? What should those funds be used for?

My approach to drawing funds from the Village’s Permanent Fund is not much different than how I approach any issue.  I believe in a strategic, methodic, reliable, inclusive and transparent approach to drawing funds.  In 2022, our permanent fund will grow in excess of 23 million dollars.  We must be fiscal stewards of this fund on behalf of our residents.   Community input is a must.  I view the title of the fund quite literally.  These funds should be used for enhancements to our village in a permanent way- something that we can look back in years to come and be proud of.  Heinen’s is a good example of a positive use of permanent funds.

What is your approach to setting compensation in terms of salary and bonuses for village staff, including top executive staff and entree level staff?

As an individual who has spent the last seventeen years in business management and operations, I believe a clearly defined compensation structure and setting of and review of yearly goals are essential to a well-run business and employee growth and development.  Bonuses are a tangible way of recognizing exceedingly strong performance; however, bonuses are to be earned and not expected.

A review of regional and industry-wide salary compensation for Village staff, across all levels, is a useful tool to benchmarking where Glenview is currently at and identifying potential areas for adjustment. Not unlike the corporate world, operations must work closely with finance to ensure that the total compensation package falls within reasonable parameters in the budget to ensure strong financial stewardship.   

The village had a recent workshop on affordable housing, with the possibility of updating its 2015 plan. How much of a priority is updating that plan to you and what, if anything, would you include to update it?  

Whether it be affordable housing or any other issue that impacts our community, I strongly believe that we should always be talking to residents, reviewing information, asking questions, and looking for ways to improve our community. Much has changed since 2015; we need to also determine the impact of the pandemic on not only housing in our community but also our businesses. The recent workshop on affordable housing was an important first step to determining where we have been, where we are now, and looking towards the horizon.  I support bringing all stakeholders to the table which include our schools, residents, all service providers, and experts to discuss affordable housing.

What would be the priorities and elements you want to see in any reorganization of the fire department?

Any reorganization of the fire department must keep our residents’ and our first responders’ safety as our number one priority. Our community deserves a continuation of the top-tier service.

In terms of any reorganization, input from all relevant groups and individuals will be required and should include the firefighters in the field, leadership, residents, finance, as well as a review of best practices in other municipalities. 

There should be a clearly defined process that is measurable and can be reviewed at regular intervals to ensure accountability at all levels

Tim Doron. (Photo submitted)

Tim Doron (Unite Glenview)

Why do you want to run for the office of village trustee?

I have resided in Glenview for 37 years, raised my children here (one has moved back with her family), lived in the same house for 36 years, and have met many wonderful people. I truly love this community. It is a large town small town with wonderful neighborhoods. My wife and I have been active members in the community, local government, and our church, Our Lady of Perpetual Help. I see Glenview at a critical crossroads with respect to policies, development, and reinvestment. I believe my background, experience, and willingness to commit the necessary time can help guide the community in making key decisions that will affect our life here for many years to come.

What are your three top priorities?

Communications and enhanced transparency that affords the public a better and easier understanding of complex issues.

Preserving the well-established process of financial strength and stability.

A well-defined planning process that employs a robust outreach to impacted neighborhoods and schools ensuring their input and preserving their integrity and strength.

What in your experience makes you the best person to vote for?

My entire professional career has been devoted to community outreach based on solid urban planning and transportation engineering skills. I served as the Village of Glenview’s Plan Commission chairman for eight years and chairman of the Glen Redevelopment Commission for three years. I was also chairman of the Downtown Planning Commission. My education combines a bachelor’s degree in Political Science/Urban Studies and a master’s degree in Public Administration.  I have served as the CEO/Executive Director of a public agency, a transit system with over 250 employees. My job requires me to publicly testify and build consensus with the public, private developments, and municipalities. 

How should the village communicate with residents, particularly those stakeholders particularly impacted by an upcoming board decision in advance of that decision? Are any changes to the current system required?  

Village business can be hard to understand for those who don’t deal with it on a daily basis. That leads to a sense of frustration and even distrust. Impacted residents should be notified in advance by multiple forms of media – print, broadcast (GVTV) and digital. The issues should be synthesized and easy to understand and generally provide a background of the rules, codes, plans, and ordinances that will govern decisions. This will include links to files of greater detail if desired. Input and testimony should continue with both in-person as well as internet-based engagement.

How would you as a village trustee prioritize the needs of stakeholders directly impacted by a decision vs. the needs of the community as a whole?

Assuming we are talking about development we need to start with a Comprehensive Plan based review and work forward. Variance from the plan must show a community benefit.  Additionally, the village needs to implement a preliminary review application public meeting with the developer to ensure compliance with the Comprehensive Plan and discuss impacts on neighbors and schools.

Given that the Glenview Connect process will not be complete before the election, how would you as a trustee approach development?

Glenview Connect is all about commercial development, redevelopment, and adaptive reuse on commercial sites. This would be subject to the same guidelines discussed above but with an enhanced outreach to neighboring properties. For new development sites, requiring a PD (planned development) or substantial variances,  I would reverse the planning process and have the neighboring residents meet with village officials and planners first to determine the bulk and scale of the development that would be reasonable.

The Glenview Connect process put forward the question of finding a balance between development and small-town charm. Discuss your vision of that balance?   

Good upfront planning is imperative. Our downtown is unique insofar as it is essentially two streets and less than a dozen block faces. We need to think outside the box to determine our brand. It can’t just be all new four-five story tear-down developments. We need to carefully consider a new blend of preserving some of the older more iconic structures and weave them into our brand.  These should include more open and public space. The Glenview Connect process has identified some of each. I am a firm believer also that the Village needs an aggressive approach towards recruiting tenants into our empty storefronts and holding absentee landlords accountable for the condition of their buildings.

Has the village done enough/too much to assist businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic? Are other measures called for as the state approaches Phase 5 of the Restore Illinois plan?

The Village took a big step forward in the relief of fees and certain taxes on restaurants. Businesses will still suffer for the remainder of the year or longer. This effort may need to be extended but this decision will be on a data-driven basis and can’t be accurately predicted as of this time and needs to be evaluated in concert with the Chamber of Commerce at least quarterly.

What is your approach to setting property tax levies and other fees?

Barring any catastrophic event, no increase in property taxes for the next fiscal year. Continued monitoring and awareness of best practices in staffing and outsourcing to economize should be continued as a policy. Additionally, a standard for reserve funds should be continued to be used in emergencies like the COVID19 impact to sales tax revenues.

What is your approach for drawing funds from the village’s Permanent Fund? What should those funds be used for?

With the expiration of the TIF in 2022 these funds will be significantly large, roughly 23-24 million dollars. The policy for use of these funds should be revisited and transparent to the public every year. Use of these funds were originally contemplated to offset the impact of the new Glen Town Center and the local commercial areas in the village including the downtown.  The Glenview Connect Plan has studied the commercial areas and opportunities and this plan should be referenced but not only as a final determination. As previously mentioned I believe that a new aggressive policy of fix up and clean up existing properties along with a serious dialogue with absentee landlords is necessary. Once the Village’s brand is “established” our goal should be to proceed with development and adaptive reuse of existing properties along with possible new development and accompanying public uses. These are all possibilities for use of the Permanent Fund in a public-private policy.

What is your approach to setting compensation in terms of salary and bonuses for village staff, including top executive staff and entree level staff?

We need to employ best practices and use of national and regional standards. Bonuses are good insofar as they reflect exceptional performance and are not compounded each year. Each case is different and adherence to a compensation policy is necessary to align with other communities of our size. 

Additionally, any compensation should be viewed in terms of an entire package of benefits.

The village had a recent workshop on affordable housing, with the possibility of updating its 2015 plan. How much of a priority is updating that plan to you and what, if anything, would you include to update it?  

Affordable Housing is very important. promoting opportunities for diversity and accessibility in our community is important. However, this has to be decided through the lens of impacts to schools and community engagement and input. We need to engage the school districts and robust community input in determining the final policy

What would be the priorities and elements you want to see in any reorganization of the fire department?

Priority one is the safety of our residents but also a preservation of the sense of safety. My review of the consultant’s report indicates that by reducing services we still remain within national standards. That’s not good enough. Our standards and data needs to be studied and reviewed publicly every year to determine what our community needs and accepts. This is a good example of badly needed enhanced public outreach and better communication.  

Sheri Latash. (Photo submitted)

Sheri Latash (Glenview Next) 

Why do you want to run for the office of village trustee?

The village board would benefit from trustees having different world views. Generally, the professional background of trustees has been in the financial sector and the stated focus of the village board has been to be the fiduciary steward. I take a broader view of the role of government. In addition to the obligation to be the financial steward, local government has a social contract with residents and this aspect has not been addressed by recent boards.  My diverse educational, professional, volunteer and life experiences are atypical and could add a dimension to board discussions in this regard.  

The other reason I’m running for trustee is to bring best practices in governance that I’ve observed elsewhere to our board.

What are your three top priorities?

Restoring trust in government, beginning with taking steps to improve transparency.

Increase resident engagement in civic life. This would include interactions with the board in formal settings and with the trustees in informal settings (like regularly scheduled Coffee with the Council).  It also includes tapping into resident talent that would add vibrancy to village life.  For instance, an arts & culture committee could plan events that would bring repeat visits from inside & outside Glenview to downtown (or other areas of the community) and generate revenue.  An economic development commission would bring a focus and coherence to development and marketing of Glenview.  An environment & sustainability commission would address many issues that are beyond the scope of our wonderful natural resources commission.

Ensure that development is in the best interests of the residents and that their earkt input is appropriately incorporated into the decision-making process.

What in your experience makes you the best person to vote for?

In my recent decade-long experience with the League of Women Voters, especially the last four years as the local League co-president, I’ve acquired knowledge about best practices in governance observed in other communities–that is, procedures & practices that could improve board transparency, public engagement, and the structure of boards & commissions. It’s time we adopted at least some of them in Glenview.

Also, my background in environmental management and legislative & regulatory affairs on a range of issues would be an asset to the board. I will be an advocate for a thoughtful and meaningful approach to environmental issues related to development as well as approaches to meeting the 49 goals of the Greenest Region Compact adopted by the village board in November 2020.  

How should the village communicate with residents, particularly those stakeholders particularly impacted by an upcoming board decision in advance of that decision? Are any changes to the current system required?   

Every month the printed Village of Glenview Report is sent to all households. At the bottom of the last page, there’s a reminder, encouraging residents to subscribe to the weekly E-Glenview news. Perhaps that reminder should be in a more prominent place.  I don’t recall if such a reminder about E-Glenview is included in the quarterly water bill, but that might be another opportunity to inform residents. E-Glenview is very helpful in alerting residents to upcoming board decisions.  

Additionally, letters could be sent to those stakeholders most directly affected by a board decision, keeping them updated about the status.  This is what occurs when infrastructure work is scheduled in a neighborhood.  Finally, when a development is anticipated to affect a particular neighborhood, residents should be made aware of it by mail, well in advance, and be able to participate in listening sessions and give & take with the staff (and developer, if development is the subject matter).

How would you as a village trustee prioritize the needs of stakeholders directly impacted by a decision vs. the needs of the community as a whole? 

I don’t think it’s that easy to distinguish the needs of directly affected stakeholders vs. the needs of the broader community. In the case of Fire Station 13, how many stakeholders on the east side of town constitute a big enough group to be considered “the community”?  Regarding the Willow/Pfingsten project, the needs & benefits to the entire community relate to property & sales tax projections and offering a service or product that is not conveniently available elsewhere.  However, what would benefit the community as a whole if the projected tax benefits are unrealistic and the service/product is redundant?  What if a development exacerbated local traffic problems creating additional risk to the community as a whole–anyone traveling from four directions (cars, cyclists, pedestrians, ambulances) trying to navigate that already problematic intersection? Traffic safety concerns are also an issue in the redevelopment of Bess Hardware and serious questions were raised about the projected tax benefits.  Bottom line–when zoning changes are proposed, we need an independent evaluation of a development’s projected financial benefits revenues to the community as a whole and balance that with the need to look at both the tangible and intangible impacts of decisions for local stakeholders.   

Given that the Glenview Connect process will not be complete before the election, how would you as a trustee approach development?

Glenview Connect was the beginning of the process.  Some interesting ideas were presented related to downtown redevelopment and the Glen Town Center redevelopment.  The need to maintain a diversified tax base is a critical consideration in development, so I hope the blueprint that emerges from Glenview 

Connect addresses that need.  Use of the Permanent Fund may be appropriate to assist in development. 

As a participant in all the Glenview Connect workshops, I needed more to time to process the development options presented.  While some alternatives seemed clearly better than others, the short time we had to provide input measured reactions rather than thinking, at least for me. Community meetings regarding specific plans, like the charettes used during the creation of the 2016 Comprehensive Plan, are essential.  Stakeholder involvement early in the development process is also essential for building goodwill and gaining buy-in.    

The Glenview Connect process put forward the question of finding a balance between development and small-town charm. Discuss your vision of that balance.  

The small-town charm relates to the walkability, human scale of downtown Glenview Rd., and the types of businesses that operate there.  If we make downtown Glenview too dense, we will have lost that charm.  We can make downtown Glenview, as defined by the village to also include Waukegan Rd. down to Dewes, more dense by increasing density on Waukegan Rd.  Can Glenview Rd. accommodate more density?  I don’t know. Would a four-story mixed-use development help create the ‘sense of place’ that we are looking for?  How will density affect noise and air quality?  We need to be thinking about the environmental impacts of development.  Based on the preferences expressed during the most recent Glenview Connect workshop, attendees favored buildings not to exceed three stories.  If that’s what we want, it may be necessary to use Permanent Fund money to offset a developer’s cost and ability to make a profit.  

Has the village done enough/too much to assist businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic? Are other measures called for as the state approaches Phase 5 of the Restore Illinois plan?

The financial assistance package provided to village restaurants was a prudent and helpful step in offsetting COVID impacts.  The weekly village E-news publicized a variety of Chamber of Commerce programs designed to help members and non-members navigate through the range of challenges businesses have faced–from becoming proficient on Zoom to applying for federal PPP assistance. Additionally, in light of the personal and family stresses created by COVID, the village board awarded the increased funding sought by the social service agencies.  Given that the Village made budget cuts to produce a balanced budget, their efforts to assist businesses have been necessary and appropriate.  While we all look forward to reaching Phase 5, we must continue to be vigilant in following public health guidance so that our positivity rate and hospitalization rate stay low and stable.  

What is your approach to setting property tax levies and other fees?

The village manager and professional staff are diligent and thoughtful in preparing the village budget that is the basis for the property tax levy.  I will rely on their recommendations, accept input from constituents and add my own thoughts & questions to the process.   As part of the budget process, the fee schedule was evaluated and some modifications were made because of COVID. As COVID is still with us, perhaps it will be necessary to extend the liquor license and health inspection fee waivers granted to restaurants in the recent financial assistance package. Besides the fee review conducted as part of the budget process, one fee I would be interested in looking at relates to the unpermitted removal of trees.

What is your approach for drawing funds from the village’s Permanent Fund? What should those funds be used for?  

These public (but not taxpayer) funds are available to pay for infrastructure and economic development projects outside The Glen.  The Glenview Connect project currently underway will produce both an Economic Development Strategic Plan and a Downtown Development Plan Update. There will be many competing ideas for use of Permanent Fund money. Use of the Permanent Fund should be subject of Committee of the Whole (COW) meetings, a committee that our village board that doesn’t currently use. It is a mechanism used by surrounding communities to educate the trustees and public on issues of widespread community interest.   An open public discussion about possible uses could result in greater resident buy-in of how funds should be used for redevelopment.  Additionally, residents may present creative ideas for use of the funds in ways unrelated to development.  

What is your approach to setting compensation in terms of salary and bonuses for village staff, including top executive staff and entree level staff?   

As part of our slate’s self-education process, the issue of salaries was one we touched on with executive staff.  We were told that, generally, Glenview’s salaries are within the 75-80% range of compensation for the area. If a recent comparative compensation review is not available, the village should contract with an HR professional to do so.  Of course, we need to ensure that job descriptions are comparable.  We want highly qualified and creative staff which may mean paying a salary that’s outside the standard range.  I need to understand the current compensation structure for employees, whether salary increases are based on COLA, a prescribed step system, or other factors before deciding on the bonus issue.  Everyone who works hard deserves to have that effort recognized.  I need more information on how that recognition is currently given to our municipal employees as well as the surrounding communities. 

The village had a recent workshop on affordable housing, with the possibility of updating its 2015 plan. How much of a priority is updating that plan to you and what, if anything, would you include to update it?  

Affordable housing is a complex, nuanced topic. The first priority must be educating the public about the subject–what affordable housing is, who’s eligible to live in it, who in Glenview lives in it now, how much exists in Glenview, and what our needs are. Education must address public fears, concerns, and misinformation.  

Glenview doesn’t need an updated plan to move forward. The 2015 plan identified zoning bonuses and a variety of options for direct village involvement to increase the supply of affordable housing, but none of them have been implemented. There are other incentives that could be added to that list. However, any discussion of ways to address the community’s affordable housing needs should be done in an open forum with wide-ranging input–from developers, residents, the business community, housing experts, village staff.  Surrounding communities have used a Committee of the Whole process to have these discussions.  If the plan is updated, it must reflect the best data currently available.  This includes 2020 census data and a local evaluation of community needs, housing diversity, and housing costs.  

What would be the priorities and elements you want to see in any reorganization of the fire department?

Public health and safety are the top priorities.  What might look like efficient resource allocation on paper, or money-saving opportunities, overlooks the social contract that local government has with its residents. As we saw with Fire Station 13, the public was intolerant of the increased risk posed by station closure.

The need to act as if people mattered extends to valuing the input of the employees tasked with carrying out the mission. As any viewer of the television show “Undercover Boss” knows, there is great knowledge and wisdom about how to make operations more efficient, better for customers, and satisfy employees. 

In terms of a fire department organization plan, I will listen to the recommendations of the employees and independent consultants, and I will ask questions.

Adam Sidoti. Photo submitted)

Adam Sidoti (Unite Glenview)

Why do you want to run for the office of village trustee?

My wife and I chose to raise our children in Glenview. I am proud of the community we live in and it is important to me to do my part in making this Village even better.  Over the past several years, I have seen the unfortunate erosion of trust – up close.  I have also learned that the best way to ensure progress is to foster communication.  During my time working with my neighbors on issues related to development and safety, I have come to appreciate the important role that Trustees play in the community.  At the same time, I have seen how, with small improvements, we can ensure that Glenview’s municipal processes can be more accessible and friendly to the average resident.  You should not have to maintain a law degree or experience as an engineer to navigate some of our processes.  I am direct, open, and as trustee, pledge to ensure that everyone’s position is considered in a thoughtful way.

What are your three top priorities?

My biggest priority is rebuilding trust.  A lot of us will talk about transparency as if it’s a destination.  It’s not.  It’s a process. We get there by rebuilding trust in our leadership.  The second priority is focusing on accessibility. I have sat in village hall, confused and anxious.  We must accept that some people only come to board or commission meetings when there is an issue that impacts them.  We must make navigating that process less daunting.  My third priority is to go out into the community and find and recruit innovative individuals to serve on our current commissions.  We have to think about different ways to engage with the residents.  We have to make it easier to consume information.  We have to be proactive on issues we know will be important.

Overarching above all these priorities is assessing the damage to our local businesses and residents due to the aftermath of Covid 19.  We still do not know exactly what that impact will be – but I suspect that it will lead to more vacancies and struggles for more businesses and families.  We must consider what role the Village of Glenview can have and we should be working with groups like Friends of Downtown and the Chamber of Commerce to help our community to thrive. 

What in your experience makes you the best person to vote for?

My legal education and business background equips me with the skillset needed to make critical decisions.  I have the experience of having practiced law as a litigator, asking important probative questions, and the experience of having run business operations in large and small organizations. There is no doubt that the role of Trustee in Glenview is an important and serious position, requiring someone who can both think critically and ask probing questions to ensure that we have accurate information upon which to make decisions. Trustees should adopt a predictable and replicable way to assess issues.  They must be able to synthesize data points – including those anecdotes, comments and conversations with stakeholders in the community.  These must be balanced and considered, and only then should a decision be rendered.  I have a vested interest in the future of Glenview, as this is the place that my wife and I have chosen for our two school-age children.  I am committed and focused.

How should the village communicate with residents, particularly those stakeholders particularly impacted by an upcoming board decision in advance of that decision? Are any changes to the current system required?

Over the past year, the Village has done an increasingly better job at communicating with residents via social media.  That was necessary due to the Covid pandemic.  However – specific to development – I think we need to recognize that all stakeholders (residents, nearby businesses, schools, emergency services, as examples) need to be involved, depending on the significance of the development.  For example, should a new developer or buyer emerge for Pearson or Signode, I would expect that we provide information immediately to the community.  Sometimes, we wait until “there is something to react to,” and while I certainly do not want to put the cart out in front of the horse and stir up emotions unnecessarily, I think people do better with decisions when all the facts are put before them.  From my experience with the former Hart Estate, I had the opportunity to look at how other Villages approached development. As a result, I became educated on a “preliminary review” process, which would allow public comment and directional input at a Board Meeting, before it would go through the commission process. This will save money and time for the public and developer.  

It’s unfortunate that most people’s communication with the Village is solely through their water bill.  We need to improve upon that with a commitment to meeting people where they get information (i.e., Nextdoor, Facebook, etc), but also leverage that communication to push out paper versions of a “Glenview Summary,” so that people can get a better sense of what is going on. Not everyone has access to technology in the same way – or feels comfortable using it.  This is another relatively inexpensive way to help with communication.

How would you as a village trustee prioritize the needs of stakeholders directly impacted by a decision vs. the needs of the community as a whole?

My decision-making process is well documented.  It is a balancing game.  I happen to weigh safety and sense of security much heavier than I do most other things, but at the end of the day you need to be able to consume data points and information.  I was taught in law school – and it has been reinforced in the business decisions I make today – that you have to be able to listen first and speak last.  I will always consider the impact of any decision we make against the need to make the decision.  I also will make sure that every decision I make will be supported with my reason.  Sometimes, I notice that board members may simply give a yes or no answer, without much explanation. I strongly encourage us to demand more of our trustees. The public deserves to know what factors were considered and how they were weighed/balanced.  In general, some decisions – like those impacting Fire and EMS services – must be made based on the community as a whole, while others – like smaller developments – will more likely skew toward a more local stakeholder concern.  

Given that the Glenview Connect process will not be complete before the election, how would you as a trustee approach development?

My approach to development is like my approach to any issue: We must objectively review all relevant data points and information. Data does not mean just facts and figures. It also means anecdotes and comments from all stakeholders (public, schools, emergency services, etc).  I am in favor of responsible development.  Responsible development means balancing the developer’s interests with those of the community and factoring in safety and sense of security.  At the same time, I would like to see us move to implement the preliminary review process referred to earlier.  We also have a comprehensive plan that was last updated about 5 years ago.  While circumstances may change, I do believe that it contains some really good ideas and their commentary should serve as a guide to a vision for development.  Glenview Connect is another data point.  In the sessions, so far, I have seen that people want a balance between progress and density.  That also must be considered.

The Glenview Connect process put forward the question of finding a balance between development and small-town charm. Discuss your vision of that balance?

Glenview Connect has been great to be a part of.  I have had the opportunity to listen to members of the community – and I am so impressed with how thoughtful and passionate our residents are.  It is clear that we need to decide whether we want our population to grow further.  Many of the items suggested involved larger density (condo/apt) residential, with the notion that increasing demand will bring in more supply (retail, service, etc.).  I do not believe we have consensus yet on what the community wants. I do believe we need to work with the building owners in the downtown area to make strategic improvements.  One item that I really liked was the closing of Riverside Drive with the intent of creating a walkable area with restaurants and shops.  On a summer evening, I want to take my children to dinner, and then walk to the Dairy Bar, and watch them play in the park.  In the winter, I can see us having outdoor festivals during the holiday season with pop-up food and fun opportunities, and lights strung down the street.  That is my vision of Glenview.  One of my favorite days of the year is the 4th of July parade.  That is small-town Americana at its best.  While we need to move forward, we need to remember about what drew us all to Glenview in the first place.

Has the village done enough/too much to assist businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic? Are other measures called for as the state approaches Phase 5 of the Restore Illinois plan?

I think the Village has made some great efforts to help manage through the COVID-19 pandemic.  I noted the relaxation of fees for alcohol license, as well as additional financial help provided to restaurants.  These were nice steps taken by the Village.  I think it would be incorrect to assume that simply because we are approaching Stage 5 that we are out of the woods.  I would like to partner with our local businesses and supportive organizations to create programs (like scavenger hunts or bingo cards) to help incentivize our members of the public to use local businesses. One thing that I have done during the campaign is going to local establishments and ask how they are doing.  Thankfully, many have said they are doing better now – but they had very tough times during the early days of the Covid pandemic.     

What is your approach to setting property tax levies and other fees?

I believe it is critical that we continue to fully fund our annual pension obligations.  We also have an excellent finance and accounting department working with the Village.  They were instrumental in maintaining a balanced budget during the pandemic.  We must continue to work with staff to continue to look into ways that we can be fiscally responsible while continuing to provide excellent services to the community.  At the same time, every single person I spoke to listed taxes as a big concern.  I understand that.  While we should be proud that the portion of our tax bill that goes to the village is comparatively smaller than many comparable surrounding towns, I do recognize that we should always look for efficiencies.  Again, those efficiencies will be balanced against security and revenue.

What is your approach for drawing funds from the village’s Permanent Fund? What should those funds be used for? 

The Permanent Fund, by definition, can be used for the improvement of the infrastructure of Glenview.  As the TIF expires in 2022, the fund will be between $23-24 million.  We need a better definition around the use of those funds, otherwise, it will be a free-for-all.  The Glenview Connect process has identified areas that may be ripe for investment.  Ultimately, these are public funds – though not considered to be tax dollars.  I am in favor of taking Glenview Connect as a backdrop and having public meetings (and maybe surveys as well) to start to identify the consensus around the best use of the funds.  We have some significant infrastructure issues coming up in the next year or two.  We need to consider how these funds may help us move forward, particularly as we learn about how habits may have permanently changed in the aftermath of Covid 19.    I would like to take great measures to include the public in these decisions.

What is your approach to setting compensation in terms of salary and bonuses for village staff, including top executive staff and entree level staff?

As a business and legal operations leader who currently works for a Global HR company, I have a lot of experience in compensation and bonus structures.  There are best practices and legal considerations that need to be balanced in the determination.  I am in favor of merit-based raises and bonuses, and I would like to see an analysis of our payroll as compared to that of similarly situated villages and towns.  In no way do I want to diminish the role of our top executives – but I do think we can do a much better job of explaining the roles and responsibilities of these individuals.

The village had a recent workshop on affordable housing, with the possibility of updating its 2015 plan. How much of a priority is updating that plan to you and what, if anything, would you include to update it?

I have been very clear that affordable housing is an extremely nuanced discussion. I don’t believe we have the solution yet. I firmly believe that two primary goals of affordable housing are to (1) allow for seniors to age in place, and (2) allow for students to have opportunities they may not otherwise be able to attain but for their parent’s income. While the workshops are helpful, I believe we are at the beginning of this process. It will take time. We need to engage with stakeholders – particularly school districts – to determine impacts.  I also believe that we need to look at what our housing stock actually looks like, and what the needs are of the community.  I am proud of our school districts and the work they are already doing for students of lesser means. I am looking forward to additional workshops and engaging the community on determining the solution to this very nuanced issue.

What would be the priorities and elements you want to see in any reorganization of the fire department? 

A common theme in my answers is about improving our communication.  I am very concerned at what I see as breakdowns in communication.  As a candidate, I have spoken directly to members of the union to explain that I want to be able to have open communications.  Due to labor negotiations, I may not always be able to comment – but I will always commit to listening.  

The first priority is – and will always be – an emphasis on safety and sense of security.  Full stop. I do not compromise on safety. I do not negotiate on sense of security.  Any reorganization of the fire department should only be done after a thorough review of data, complete with input from stakeholders like the public, the firefighters, members of the union, the chief, and other key figures. While I have learned a lot about fire departments in the last several months, I need to rely on the expertise of those in the front lines as well as those with experience to better understand what options may be available to improve the level of service we already experience.

Cathy Wilson. (Photo submitted)

Cathy Wilson (Glenview Next)

Why do you want to run for the office of village trustee?

I’m running because I think the village board can do better. Take a look at the results from the  2019 Village of Glenview Community Survey. Results reflect respondents who had an opinion. 

Niney seven percent of the residents surveyed rated Glenview as an excellent or good place to live. Fifty three percent of residents surveyed, gave a rating of “very satisfied” or “satisfied” with the ease of access to the Village President and Board. Fourty five percent of residents surveyed gave a rating of “very satisfied” or “satisfied” to the overall responsiveness to their needs by the Village President and Board.

These aren’t good percentages.  I’m running in order to change these numbers.  We must rebuild the relationship between the board and the residents. We must rebuild trust which starts with a commitment to transparency. We must change the way the board communicates with residents – more access and more conversations. We must provide better and more accurate data. We must explain the process and reasons behind a decision. The village has been controlled by the same group, Unite Glenview, for 20 years.  It’s time to broaden the representation on the Board. 

What are your three top priorities?

My top three priorities are: 

Expand the board priorities. I will never waver from a commitment to a balanced budget, low property taxes, and a AAA bond rating.  But the village needs to broaden its vision. The village needs to become a leader in sustainability.  The village needs to do more to support our businesses. The village needs to do more to market Glenview as a great place to live, visit, play, and spend money. The village needs to do more to support our diverse residents. The village needs to find ways to involve more of our talented residents in government. 

Make the board more accessible to our residents and more open with information and communication.  More “Coffee with Trustees”.  More neighborhood meetings in field houses. More open meetings focused on single topics where the community learns together.  More dialogue with the village board and staff.  Post agenda and documents for meetings more than 48-hours in advance.  

Prioritize stakeholder (residents, businesses, and interested others) input early in the development process while elevating the importance of sustainability and natural resources.  Post all documents, maps and plans in full size and color at a kiosk at the Library for public review and comments two weeks in advance of a public hearing. Require a staff, stakeholder, developer meeting before a project goes to the New Development Commission. During this meeting, participants should attempt to discuss and resolve areas of disagreement. Elevate issues related to sustainability and the environment impact of developments. 

What in your experience makes you the best person to vote for?

I have 26+ years of experience working with a large corporation (Scott Foresman/Pearson Publishing) and a tech startup, WeSpeke. Over these years I have built skills in marketing, communications, strategic thinking, innovation, and product development.  I understand how to connect with customers to determine needs and to work collaboratively to create solutions.  I know how to use technology to enhance interaction and communication. I know how to set goals, plan projects, and assess outcomes. I know how to employ innovative techniques.  These skills will serve the Board well as it focuses on areas of improvement that include effective and open communication, data-driven decisions, and finding solutions to issues to better serve residents.  

How should the village communicate with residents, particularly those stakeholders particularly impacted by an upcoming board decision in advance of that decision? Are any changes to the current system required?

Yes. The village does an effective communicating through its emails, social media accounts, and the monthly newsletter. However, it needs to do more. I would want to explore the use of snail mail to micro-target impacted residents. When it was my street’s turn to get sewer improvements and resurfacing, the village did an excellent job communicating. First it sent a letter presenting an overview of the project. This was followed by weekly updates. This was very effective.  I suggest we look into that model as we reach out to residents that will be impacted by an upcoming board decision.  People are very busy, and the most effective tool is to put a piece of paper into their hands (in addition to the other communication tools the village uses).  It isn’t fancy, but it may work. We must find solutions that reach out to people as everyone is busy 24/7. 

How would you as a village trustee prioritize the needs of stakeholders directly impacted by a decision vs. the needs of the community as a whole?

When a Board makes a decision, it is fair to say that some residents will not be pleased. To address this problem, the Board needs to adopt several best practices that allow for more transparency. The board should deliver timely and accurate information; I suggest posting the agenda and staff report earlier than 48 houses before a meeting. I suggest creating a kiosk in the Library where all plans and maps for development are available for public view and comment. The Board should allow early input from residents in a format where questions are asked and answered. Ultimately, the Board will need to make a decision based upon all the facts. After the decision, the Board should explain the process used to make the decision and the rationale for the decision.  If these steps are followed, residents would at least understand the how and why of a decision and feel they were heard throughout the process.

Given that the Glenview Connect process will not be complete before the election, how would you as a trustee approach development?

Development is one of the biggest issues in this election.  We are looking at development in the downtown and along Waukegan Road, at Pearson, at Signode, and who knows what else may come on the market in the post-COVID world. 

The current Board has voted to realign the Plan Commission into the New Development Commission. I want to see how that new configuration works.  Does it give residents, businesses, and other stakeholders ample opportunities for early input?   I am going to request a change in the development process that builds in a stakeholder meeting (village staff, residents, businesses, developer, and other interested parties) before the development goes to the New Development Commission. The goal of this meeting is to put all issues on the table and look for a resolution before it goes into the Commission and before the village board.  We have experienced too many contentious meetings in the past because residents felt excluded from the process. This simply has to change.  

I will ask the staff to work with the library to create a kiosk where plans for any upcoming developments are displayed.  The staff will print all the documents and plans in full size and in color.  These plans will be available for anyone to review two weeks prior to a project moving to the New Development Commission.  I will request a Comment Box where visitors can share their opinions about the project and that these comments be reviewed by the staff and New Development Commission. We must create new opportunities for residents to provide early input into any development in Glenview.  

If I am a trustee, when a development comes before the board, I will request from village staff  a summary of issues/concerns presented by residents, businesses, and other stakeholders and if and how they were resolved. I will also want to learn how the project addresses sustainability and its environmental impact.

We must find a more resident-first and environment-first approach to development.  

The Glenview Connect process put forward the question of finding a balance between development and small-town charm. Discuss your vision of that balance? 

A large number of participants in the Glenview Connect process expressed the desire to keep the small-town charm of Glenview and emphasize our natural resources. Many new arrivals choose to live in Glenview for a home with a yard, for our parks, for great schools, for our convenient location, for access to highways and downtown via Metra. It is questionable they seek out Glenview to live in a five-story apartment building on Glenview Road.   

I believe we can reinvigorate downtown by creating a public place that becomes the heart of Glenview. Unique shops and restaurants.  Experiences. Art exhibits. Events. Spark projects that change throughout the year. I believe we can create a dynamic area without density in those few blocks. With imagination, we can create a destination where people enjoy our downtown, spend money supporting our local businesses, and come back again. There were some excellent ideas presented during Glenview Connect and we need to continue the conversations and thinking about how to make them happen. I feel very positive that we can begin to deliver the promise of an exciting downtown.  But I do not believe that building multi-story residential buildings with parking garages is the innovative solution residents want for their downtown. 

Has the village done enough/too much to assist businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic? Are other measures called for as the state approaches Phase 5 of the Restore Illinois plan?

Luckily, the village budget has weathered the pandemic in good shape.  Kudos to the village staff for making cuts to non-essential expenses. In addition, the pandemic has shown the importance of a balanced tax base. Some of our retailers did well (Abt and grocery stores) while the food and entertainment sector suffered. I supported the assistance provided to restaurants and bars. 

Here are a couple of ideas as we move towards Phase 5. (1) Create a Glenview Phase 5 Recovery Group consisting of village staff, members of the Chamber of Commerce, non-Chamber businesses, Friends of Downtown Glenview, and other interested parties to seek out ways to offer assistance. They’ll have the best ideas regarding how to assist businesses. 

(2) Create a “Shop the Bear” marketing campaign that would encourage residents to support Glenview businesses.  When the economy opens up, people will open up their wallets and spend money.  Let’s make sure it happens in Glenview. 

What is your approach to setting property tax levies and other fees?

I do not support raising property taxes on residents or raising other fees.  One thing this pandemic has shown us is the importance of a balanced tax base – residential, retail, business, and commercial.  As some residents may know, our property tax goes primarily to paying pension obligations. This means that our operating expenses come from sales taxes and home rule taxes. We need to do everything possible to help our businesses thrive.  The village needs to play a larger role in supporting and expanding our retail, service, and commercial businesses. I would like to see an Economic Development Commission that could guide the village as we seek to attract and retain businesses and help businesses navigate to the other side of this pandemic and beyond.  We need to create a marketing plan around an idea like “Shop the Bear” which would emphasize the importance of keeping our spending in Glenview. If necessary, I would cut non-essential expenses before raising taxes. 

What is your approach for drawing funds from the village’s Permanent Fund? What should those funds be used for?

The Permanent Fund was established as part of the Village’s fee for being the master developer of The Glen. Twenty percent (20%) of all land sales were deposited in this fund.  The primary goal is for one-time infrastructure projects outside the Glen. 

Recently, the Permanent Fund has been used to economic development. The Village was able to purchase the former Dominick’s site at 1020 Waukegan Road (now Heinen’s) to maintain a grocery in the downtown area. The Village also purchased the former Bess Hardware site at 1850 Glenview Road for resale to a developer.  The Permanent Fund will receive a significant funds when The Glen TIF closes in 2022 and at the end of 2023, the Permanent Fund will have a balance of almost $29M.  

I believe the Village Board should determine how the majority of this money gets spent with significant input from residents.  Any use of funds in the Permanent Fund should be fully transparent with a financial report compiled by a qualified, third-party consultant. This report should be available to the public.  In addition, at specific intervals, the board and residents should be updated on the financial performance of any project, including an end-of-project summary.  I would like to explore ways we can use the Permanent Fund to spur economic development.  Of course, all potential uses should be considered. 

Here’s another idea. I would like the board to consider allocating a to-be-determined sum of the Permanent Fund for projects that would be selected by the residents. I think this would be an interesting way to get more residents involved with village government and find creative uses for the Permanent Fund. The potential for community impact is unlimited! 

What is your approach to setting compensation in terms of salary and bonuses for village staff, including top executive staff and entree level staff?

We all want a highly skilled village staff and should offer salaries and benefits that are competitive with similar-size neighboring communities for employees performing similar tasks. The Village should maintain and update a competitive compensation chart and reference it when creating budgets and salaries.  I do not support bonuses for village staff, including the well-paid top executive staff.   Unlike a corporation, Glenview does not function as a for-profit business.  Our goal is to operate within a budget that balances revenues with expenditures.  If the village is unable to hire the most highly qualified employees because our compensation package is not competitive, then the Board should be presented with data-driven evidence and solutions should be discussed. 

The village had a recent workshop on affordable housing, with the possibility of updating its 2015 plan. How much of a priority is updating that plan to you and what, if anything, would you include to update it?

We need to update the 2015 Affordable Housing Plan. The current plan isn’t really a plan; rather, it is more a report — an overview of information, data, and financials related to what constitutes affordable housing. The Plan stated that there are 1,183 affordable housing units based upon 16,002 total housing units. This percentage of 7.4% does not meet the state recommended standard that 10% of total housing units meet the criteria to be classified as affordable housing.  It describes a few incentives that could be offered to build affordable housing; however, it never delivers a plan to create more affordable housing in the village. 

The updated plan needs to deliver a plan – a commitment to action. However, the village staff or an outside expert cannot create this plan in isolation. It must include residents as ultimately, a commitment to affordable housing must be a village-wide decision. 

The plan should be created after a series of village-wide meetings that educate the public on the impact of affordable housing in a community (home values, crime, impact on schools, etc.). Residents need to participate in an open and honest discussion. The meetings should discuss how affordable housing could integrate into our community. It should explain how developers finance this type of housing. It should give residents options. Only after these meetings take place can the village begin to create a plan. We also need to do a housing needs assessment across the village to determine if we have the housing stock that reflects the needs of our residents now and in the future.  Again, this plan needs the approval and commitment of our residents if it is to be implemented.

What would be the priorities and elements you want to see in any reorganization of the fire department?

The Glenview Fire Department has a long tradition of outstanding service to our Village.  In the 2019 Community Survey, the Department received very high ratings: overall quality of emergency medical services (95%), overall quality of fire protection (94%), overall quality of 911 services (94%), and overall quality of emergency response times (93%). 

There appear to be issues related to the leadership of the fire department. This was brought to our attention first with the closing of Fire Station 13 and then with the March 22, 2021 Letter to the Board of Trustees written by Glenview Professional Firefighters Association.  

The Village Board must immediately conduct an independent third-party investigation into the attempt to close Station 13 and the many allegations in the March 22 letter. 

At this point, I don’t know whether a reorganization is needed. The results of the independent third-party investigation will guide that discussion. Here’s what’s most important —  that the fire department continues to deliver the highest-level service to our community while assuring the health and safety of the firefighters. 

Support local news by subscribing to the Journal & Topics in print or online.

In the end, I know that geoFence is the solution for blocking NFCC countries and I am certain your neighbors would feel the same!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *