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Lisle Township Trustee {_getChooseLabel(this.selections.length)}

CHOOSE TWO CANDIDATES FROM BELOW TO COMPARE
  • Michael A. Tams (Rep) Banking

  • Michael E. Riedy (Rep)

  • Jerome "Jerry" Buch (Rep)

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    Kathleen Chatman (Rep) Lisle Township Board Trustee

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    Dave Melsbakas (Dem) Sales

  • Mohammed Waheed (Dem)

  • Sean Allen (Dem)

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    Drew Bolda (Dem) Chemical Engineer

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Biographical Information

Tell us about your background and decision to seek this office?

What are your top three priorities? What do you hope to accomplish in your term?

Some question the need for township government in this day and age. What are the services that the Township can best provide? And why?

There is a referendum on the ballot to consolidate the Naperville Township Road District and the Lisle Township Road District into one consolidated township road district. Do you see any other services that could be consolidated with or shared by the surrounding cities, counties, townships or other governmental bodies?

How will you reach out to include more resident communication and seek more input from your constituents who are currently not actively involved with township government?

I have served the residents of Lisle Township as their Trustee since my election in 2009. It has been a pleasure to continue the tradition of fiscal conservatism this Board has long demonstrated all while delivering needed services to residents. I'm seeking reelection because I enjoy serving and it's important to keep Democrats out of public office as they ruin everything they get their hands on.
I'd like to cut taxes again in the next term, when we did that in this last term it was fun and rewarding. I'd like to see more residents engaging with the Township, our meetings are open and we like visitors. I would say my third priority is again, just beating Democrats. They can be really nice people and I have some personal relationships with folks who are Democrats that I value very deeply, but they are terrible in government.
Well in any day and age I think services provided as close to the taxpayer as possible are always lower cost and better administered. The Township has statutory duties that it executes faithfully and at low cost. We run a very cost efficient highway department. We also happen to run a very robust, cost efficient food pantry. Residents of Lisle Township need both, among many other services. I'd like to see accountable governments have more influence than distant, impersonal, unaccountable ones.
Echoing my previous answer, where responsibilities can be consolidated "downward" - in my opinion, to smaller, more accountable units of government - I think this is beneficial to taxpayers, and should be done where ever possible.
We have many outreach activities as official Township events (one example is car care clinics for seniors) but I think getting the word out about good performance is difficult and not news worthy to the media. They will happily run stories about bad officials but "Republican Officials Run Cost-Effective Unit of Government" neither sells papers nor fits with the media's overall agenda. We used to prepare regular newsletters but I'm not fond of using taxpayer money to promote what we do.
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My name is Kathy Chatman and I am currently a Lisle Township Board Trustee. I was appointed to fill a vacancy on the Board in December, 2015. I am currently running for the seat of Trustee as I feel it is imperative to have a Township Board that has representation from across the Township. I have lived in unincorporated Lisle for the past 16 years and lived in incorporated Lisle prior to that for 9 years. I have been active in the community for the past 25 years across various volunteer opportunities. I am proud to have served on the Lisle Community Unit School District 202 School Board for 9 years with a focus on reviewing the policies of the District as the Policy Committee Chair, implementing curricular initiatives and serving while the high school underwent a major construction project. I believe I can bring a voice for those who are serviced in both the unincorporated and incorporated areas throughout the Township in a fair and responsible manner.
My top three priorities are: 1) To be a liaison and representative voice of all of Lisle Township and as needed to bring a perspective of those who live in unincorporated Lisle to the Township; 2) To evaluate and determine if consolidation efforts from both the state and local level are in the best interest of the taxpayers we serve; 3) To serve my fellow Lisle Township constituents in a fiscally conservative manner while also providing needed services to support them in times of need through services such as the food pantry, job club and Ride DuPage to name a few.

In addition, Lisle Community Unit School District 202 is seeking to build a new elementary school which looks to be built within the Meadows Subdivision, where I live. While my youngest child is almost done with high school and would not be attending that school, I believe that having a parent and taxpayer of Lisle CUSD 202 on the Township Board -who also lives in the same neighborhood -will provide an opportunity for collaboration if needed during the construction project and subsequent elementary school opening for our community.
The questions surrounding Township government & the need for this layer of government is a very hot topic of late. There appears to be a very articulated & focused effort statewide to consolidate. However, one of the main Township responsibilities is to locally house the Assessor & I have a strong concern of the Assessor potentially moving to the County level. Having lived in Lisle when challenges have hit in the past, I know having the Assessor local has been crucial for homeowners & businesses. I would be hesitant to believe we all would receive the same level of commitment & service if the Assessor were housed elsewhere. I would also be skeptical about the ability for the County to provide direct assistance in times of need in a way that has the same direct & quick response. Additionally, I would have concern for access for those who may utilize needed exemptions (i.e. seniors or disabled friends & neighbors). Should the quest for consolidation continue, I would be open to understanding the process while also expecting that needed services & access to the Assessor’s office be very clearly articulated & understood before blindly agreeing to consolidation efforts. I also believe the Township can provide direct assistance to those in need in ways that directly impact and improve the lives of those in our community. The Food Pantry, Job Club, Ride Du Page are just some of the examples that the Township supports those in our community in ways that make a day-to-day impact in real people's lives.
The current referendum question of the consolidation of Township Road Districts is an example of the current consolidation efforts. While the question is presented very simply in a yes/no structure on the ballot, there are multiple layers of integration and impact should this referendum pass. In order to effectively implement this consolidation there would need to be a very articulated understanding of such issues as to where the Consolidated Township Road Commissioner would be housed as well as how the election of such a position would be held - not to mention a very specific and equitable allocation of resources and services to insure all constituents across the two townships are equally serviced. Other services that may be consolidated should be done after a careful understanding of the benefits and impact to those directly affected. Consolidation should be measured not by a total count of taxing bodies across the state but by the effectiveness of the units of government being consolidated and the cost impact on taxpayers. When it is of benefit to taxpayers then I fully support these efforts.
In regards to outreach to constituents, I invite anyone to contact me directly at any time to discuss any concerns within the Township. I would encourage all within the Township to utilize the services that Lisle Township provides should they find themselves at a time of concern or know of a neighbor in need. I am also very present and very active in our community so I feel I interact and relate with my Township neighbors in many ways to help me understand our community’s needs. Having local government, represented by longtime members of the community who work to make this corner of DuPage County a better place, is why I am running for this office. Whether the concern be for local access to rent or essential food assistance when in need or close, readily available access to the Assessor’s office for understanding and concerns of our property values or other ways to provide support for other systems within our community, I believe I will serve all the members of the Township with my utmost commitment and with a premise of financial responsibility. Thank you for the opportunity to share my thoughts with you.
Campaign Phone (630) 440-1652
website https://www.facebook.com/DaveMelsbakasforTrusteeofLisleTownship/?ref=aymt_homepage_panel
A few months ago, I was a frustrated voter leaving my polling place. It was yet another election in which I did not vote for many races because there were candidates running unopposed. I am a sales rep for a steel company, not a politician, and I never saw myself as one. Yet I knew that the future I wanted was different from that of our current political leaders, and I also knew that change started at the local level. I found my local township party and attended my first meeting. They talked about the upcoming caucus and asked for people to run in the next election. I spoke with my wife about this opportunity and with her blessing I decided to run. We both grew up in this area, we’ve lived in Lisle for five years, and our parents are seniors in the community. We have a daughter that will be starting public school next year, another on the way, and we plan to be here for a very long time. My motivation to run is simply to make our township a better place to live, and to help those in need along the way.
I believe a trustee is a steward to the residents of the township. My first priority is improved contact with the residents. During my campaign, I have visited with college students, seniors, business owners, and residents. It is very important to let the residents know we are listening to their concerns and working on their behalf. My second goal is to eliminate the pensions and healthcare benefits that are perks of some of the elected offices. Currently, most of these positions are treated as part time jobs or less by elected officials, that hold other full-time, career positions. Our state is in financial crisis, and elected officials need to sacrifice for the greater good, rather than imposing these burdens on taxpayers. My third priority is somewhat related to the second. I will seek to make the township more financially responsible. By auditing township staffing levels and salaries, I will be able to make more money available to our senior services and general assistance programs. The re-appropriation of many of these funds will help streamline our government and eliminate wasteful spending.
Township government is the simplest form of government and needs to be the model for reining in the excesses of government that we have in Illinois. Currently, there are unincorporated areas that the villages and towns do not want to bring into their jurisdictions, and that are served by the townships. In DuPage County, for example, what works for unincorporated residents of Woodridge may not be what works for the unincorporated residents of Wood Dale. The services can’t be forced onto the municipalities that are already over-extended, nor can they be passed off to the county, where they would be lost among the abundance of programs. A “one-size-fits-all” service offering helps no one. A small community is better served by an elected township board that can take the time to sit down and find out what will specifically help its residents, and focus the funds into those programs.
All local government entities, from the counties down to the park district boards, need to be audited. There is legislation in Springfield to consolidate local governments starting with neighboring townships. Consolidation for the sake of consolidation does not help anything. If consolidation creates a smaller board, but there are more patronage positions, that does not do anyone any good. A road district consolidation that was contrived by the Naperville Township Highway Commissioner and his attorney, who also happens to be the Supervisor of Lisle Township appears to benefit individuals, not the community. However, a comprehensive road district consolidation encompassing all municipalities within the township could be more efficient and cost-effective.
The Trustee position is a position of stewardship. I will demand that the other trustees join me in volunteering monthly to work in the food pantry, getting to know the residents that use that service. The trustees must visit senior living communities like Benedictine and Brookdale, and 55+ communities like the Cameo complex, on a regular basis. We can study what works in other communities and what has worked in the past, but that is not enough. We need to speak directly with our population to find out what they need help with now. They are our residents, and they deserve to have their voices heard. We also must make it as easy as possible for those in need to access the services they require, not jump through hoops. I want to create a sign-up for residents to be mailed/e-mailed monthly bulletins, and the township website must also be improved. The state eliminated many of the general assistance programs, and while the website mentions they are no longer available, it does not provide hyperlinks or contact numbers for the appropriate government departments.
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I am a life-long resident of suburban Chicago and a ten year resident of Downers Grove. I attended public schools until college where I earned a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Rose-Hulman. I earned a Professional Engineer's License from Illinois in 1994.

I've worked as a Chemical Engineer and Project Manager at Chicago area firms for local, regional, national, and international projects. I'm working on my fourth passport with a lot business travel. As an engineer I wrote bid packages for fabrication or construction projects, performed technical and financial evaluation and selected the supplier. I also evaluated the product and approved payment for goods or services.

My first time voting in Lisle Township I noted that many of the local, county, and state offices were unopposed. I think a two party system is essential to a responsive government. Where only one party holds office, problems do not get openly discussed and funds can spent in ways that do not help the community.
Township government is essential but expensive. Lowering the costs of services is the most significant priority. Lisle Township has less than 60 lane miles of roads. Where advantageous, the township needs to share services with local or county governments. The public assistance needs to be prioritized and streamlined. While the financial assistance is determined by law, the cost of administering the aid can exceed the aid provided. In other cases, aid such as Ride DuPage needs to be prioritized so that residents without an automobile or driver's license can get to COD, a library, or stores. The township runs a food pantry which is need based but open primarily during traditional business hours. The township needs to consider residents working multiple jobs when setting hours of availability. The physical buildings of the township must be properly maintained. The township has one building which is being replaced due to inattention to upkeep.
Townships provide services for roads in unincorporated area, property assessment, and aid to veterans, seniors, and those in need. As a township's unincorporated areas become fewer, the need for township government becomes less. However, less does not mean none. Residents who purchase property in unincorporated areas need to have roads serviced and brush cleared. There should be no brush obstructing speed limit or stop signs. People and businesses throughout an entire township need to have property assessed for taxation purposes. Aid for unemployed, seniors, veterans, disabled will require an agency that crosses city and village boundaries. A ride to COD can determine whether or not a resident can complete a degree. When an economic downturn occurs, job clubs and assistance is needed beyond village boundaries. Townships are properly sized for services and acknowledges that all solutions do not exist in a single village or city.
I believe that public assistance is an area where efficiencies of scale can be considered. Some aid programs have administration costs high relative to the benefit provided. Where costs are high compared to the public benefit, consolidation and efficiency must be considered. However, the residents of unincorporated areas must have reliable services. An agreement for shared services must not put the residents at risk of unfair charges. If sharing costs is beneficial, it must prove to be beneficial over the long term. A five year or ten year solution is not acceptable. The solutions proposed must be equitable and long lasting. As a township becomes more and more urbanized, the role of Township Assessor becomes more significant. Because the assessor provides services to residents and businesses throughout the township I do not see an opportunity for consolidation. However, if presented with a means to make property assessment efficient and responsive I would consider it.
Township government needs to be regularly communicated to the residents. The communication can be news print, web based, pamphlets or other means of reaching residents. Times for road maintenance and brush clearing can be communicated in a manner similar to the communication set up by local villages which send text messages, emails or automated phone calls targeting specific areas. Changes in the hours of operation of the food pantry can be similarly communicated. Pamphlets can be left in libraries and other public places which detail the services provided. Once a resident uses the Township services, a phone number, email address or other preferred mode of communication can be obtained so that further communication is eased.

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