I have BSEE and MBA degrees and over 40 years of work experience coupled with decades of volunteer experience in my family’s local community for various causes ranging from being an election judge for Will County through serving on the Plainfield District 202 School Board for multiple terms and retiring as its President in 2018. I understand the roles and responsibilities of being a Trustee within the framework of public service
The single most important issue facing the office of Wheatland Township Trustee is to continue the Fiscally Conservative leadership we have enjoyed the past several years; to recognize that our Township has been an excellent steward of our community’s treasures and that this same Conservative stewardship must be maintained. Wheatland Township operates effectively at one of the lowest costs to taxpayers of any Township in Illinois.
Wheatland Township already provides every reasonable service requested, working with outside experts when appropriate, at the lowest possible cost. Our Highway District alone has saved our taxpayers tremendous amounts of money.
All of our operations and decisions are based on transparency coupled with fiscal responsibility. We have even been awarded the Sunshine Award for transparency in local Government.
Wheatland Township has addressed needs within our scope by providing PPE and offering our facilities for use. We have also used CARES act funding for a small office conversion to better utilize our building.
I have a B.A. in History and a minor in Marketing. I’ve worked as a legislative aide for an Illinois state senator and as a fundraiser/political director for local, state, and congressional races in Illinois for the past 25 years. My parents instilled in me the importance of civic duty, and I’ve taken an active role in the election process ever since – sometimes as an employee, often as a volunteer. The past six years I’ve worked in marketing & communications for a tech company.
The blend of government and private sector work experience offers me perspective on balancing the needs of the community in a cost-efficient manner. Listening to the key stakeholders on each issue and weighing their position before rendering a decision, and collaborating with the right people to complete a project are necessary to properly serve the Wheatland Township citizens.
Holding the line on taxation is the most important issue facing Wheatland Township. As the government closest to the citizens, Wheatland Township elected officials should be cognizant that our neighbors have entrusted us with their tax dollars. Taxes and fees, especially in Illinois, are hiked constantly to counter out-of-control spending. The bigger the government the easier it seems for the elected officials to forget that hard-working Illinoisans provided the money they so easily spend. I expect every candidate I vote for to be proper stewards of those dollars, and I expect the same of myself.
The Township is currently operating on a very lean budget; I maintain my commitment to that. During my service at the Township, there have been some examples of work to provide services to the community. PACE suburban bus rides help our most vulnerable citizens and offer them independence. This valued service is fairly negotiated on behalf of those members of our community who need it most. When our unincorporated residents were individually contracting with waste-hauler vendors to the potential detriment of our roads, we negotiated a contract to give the residents a consistent provider at a lower, group rate. When community needs such as these arise, I will work with the Supervisor and other Trustees to provide the most cost-effective solution for the taxpayers.
The Township received Illinois Policy Institute’s Sunshine Award for transparency and government openness (beyond what state law requires). It has been awarded to only 77 other local governments out of Illinois’ 7,000 taxing bodies. I have been proud to serve as Trustee with the expectation that everything we do is for all residents to see and/or at least hear and read the details.
I propose that we continue to upload the most recent information to the www.wheatlandtownship.com “Transparency” page. Meeting minutes, agendas, budgets, salary information, and FOIA requests are among the many items available on the website. And now, a mobile version will allow Wheatland residents on-the-go access to the same information.
The Cares Act provided funding for Wheatland Township to adopt safety measures for our staff and the re-entry of the public to the building. A remodel of office space moved staff closer to the front of the building to service the public in a broader space which included the plexiglass dividers.
Long term concerns will have to be addressed in our budget to maintain the safety of staff and the public.
My name is Wendell Harkins and I want to thank you for the opportunity to introduce myself. I have lived in Naperville (Wheatland Township) for the past 18 years, am married to my wife Hilary and our son is a Senior at Neuqua Valley High School. I have for the past 10+ years been a scout leader helping area boys develop and grow into responsible young adults.
I have a BS in Chemical Engineering from Ohio State University and have worked for over 38 years as an engineer designing, building, and operating chemical plants. I have taken multiple post graduate classes in business as well numerous continuing educational classes (technical and business related). In my tenure, my job responsibilities have included management of 1) manufacturing plants, 2) a Maintenance Department, 3) and Engineering Departments. My largest support staff was over 50 people of diverse backgrounds, skill sets, genders, and ethnicities.
Having been responsible for over $750 million in capital investments, I have a thorough understanding of what it takes to plan and manage large and small multi-faceted departments as well as investment projects, understand and comply with regulatory requirements and address Human Resources concerns.
While every organization always has room for improvement, I believe Wheatland Township is a well ran municipal organization. The staff and trustees take their fiduciary responsibility seriously. They continue to bring goods and services to the people of the Township while maintaining the lowest tax rate of any municipality in Will County. This translates to you keeping more of your hard earned money.
In my experience, the current group of people running Wheatland Township care about their community, take pride in the work they do for Wheatland Township and look at their jobs as positions of service to others and trust, and not as an opportunity to financially enrich themselves.
As stated above, Wheatland Township takes seriously the need to not waste taxpayer dollars. Wheatland Township is the largest township in Will county and has the lowest tax rate of surrounding taxing bodies. Salaries are kept low (no salary increase in years) and expenses are watched closely.
I have personally scrutinized spending by the Township, asking why one contractor / service provider was used over another, was an alternative contractor / service provider considered and was value provided for the taxpayer. I will continue to try to reduce the level of spending without significantly effecting needed services.
To my knowledge, Wheatland Township had provided every service the people have asked for. We let organizations who specialize in providing social services do what they are best at – they have the skills and everyday experiences to provide the service more efficiently. However, Wheatland Township is here for the people if needed. One example is our renowned transportation program called Ride DuPage (shared with Naperville, Lisle Township and Naperville Township) providing transportation to seniors and special needs kids.
Wheatland Township is currently one of the most transparent municipalities in the state as evident in it earning the Sunshine Award presented by the Illinois Policy Institute. This award is only given to the taxing bodies with the highest integrity and only about 1.1% of the 7000 taxing bodies have earned this award.
To help inform the public, the Township website is used to post meeting minutes, employee salaries and benefits, and operating costs.
Township meetings are open to the public and we encourage any and all citizens to reach out to the Township and ask questions about where your tax dollars are being spent.
The Township's Board of Trustee's greatest concern is for the safety and health of our citizens and township workers, and for the viability and success of all of our businesses, churches and organizations. The COVID pandemic has been a challenge for everyone and I do not believe anyone could have anticipated the effects this pandemic has had on our society, but this that said, I believe Wheatland Township is fully prepared to address any COVID issues that arise.
Wheatland Township is fiscally sound and have continued to provide all established services to our citizens.
I have been a Wheatland Township resident for over 16 years and an active business/community leader based in Naperville/Aurora. Professionally, I am a finance executive and lead the Accounting / Finance department of Q1 Technologies, Inc. (Q1Tech), a global technology company headquartered in Aurora since 2004. Academically I hold an MBA and BS in Business and Finance. I also have multiple certifications in Information Technology. I have been married to Krishna for over 26 years, and together they have two daughters attending college.
I have a passion to work for our community and believes in giving back. As a volunteer, I have been actively involved in working for education, business & civic organizations. I have been volunteering for HOA, Schools, PTAs, Swim Teams, Local and State Elections, Naperville and Aurora City, Indian Community Outreach, etc. in various capacities helping them organize many large and small events.
Since Jan 2017, I have been serving on the White Eagle Homeowner Association Board. I have been elected twice and is serving on multiple committees. I am also an integral part of Indian Community Outreach Organization (ICO) and have been involved in leading the women’s wing, organizing India Day festival and many other community & educational events. I was part of Opt-Out initiative have also helped several Congressional, State and Local candidates in last few years.
I am uniquely qualified for serving the Wheatland township as:
1. I believe in American values and am running to instigate/maintain these in Wheatland Township as the voice of its residents.
2. With my professional experience and education in Accounting/Finance, I can help balance budget and secure financial surplus for resident needs.
3. I strongly believe in Family values; I will work upholding those while advancing the security and prosperity of our people.
4. With my diverse background and ethnicity, I will be able to serve and represent the largest minority of our township.
I believe the greatest challenge for the township is to keep controlling and continuing to hold the line on costs and keeping the property taxes under control. I also think there is a scope of increased outreach with residents and increased programs specially for youth and seniors in current and post Covid-19 era.
I would like to see a long-term plan and continuous audit on how the department utilizes equipment, training, and of course a long-term budget. The budget plan is great importance for the future needs of our residents. With the help of technology and interactive Board, I am looking to have our residents stay informed and build a strong outreach with them.
We need to look to the future as we deal with COVID-19 today and manage our finances appropriately. There could be numerous small cuts everywhere, but together they add up to significant savings dug deep to minimize the deficit.
Maintaining balanced budget, Quarterly Financial and Strategic Reporting, comparing actual revenues and expenditures to budgeted amounts will help us in control the finances.
I believe we must further encourage the public access and their interaction, communicating our plans /goals/progress, collective agreements and discussions between township and county/cities to our residents.
I will further the use of technology can enhance the accountability and transparency. I will commit to protect the residents through transparency, trust, and engagement to improve the citizen satisfaction.
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread and people are forced to stay home, workers are losing their jobs, health care systems being stressed, local businesses are at risk of closing permanently, and potential cuts to state and federal funding. The crisis has threatened people’s well-being, safety, and lives.
In short term, I would like to work to make sure that needs of residents are fulfilled in timely manner while providing them needed relief and support. I will work directly with residents and collaborate with them to build programs including helping residents get vaccinated, getting assistance and essential items delivered to the seniors, helping local businesses by promoting buy local and connecting them with available resources/assistances, and helping our children and youth for staying healthy and positive. As these programs are established, we can work on building these as long-term initiatives.
Being the parent of a young adult with Autism has uniquely prepared me to serve as Wheatland Township Board Trustee. I've maneuvered through the maze of social programs in our state to find appropriate services that would allow my son to achieve his goals. With modest support, my son has grown substantially in independence - he's secured a job in Chicago, conquered public transit for his commute, and excelled in his college studies. While all of these are his accomplishments, he wouldn't have been able to reach this success without the knowledge of where to go for help. He's always known where to turn, but not everyone is so fortunate.
Township government is meant to offer social services to improve the lives of residents. While these services are available in neighboring townships, they seem to be lacking in Wheatland Township. Members of our community should be able to turn to Wheatland Township for the assistance they need to reach their goals. I plan to ensure that Wheatland Township offers meaningful social services to the member of our community at the best value for our residents.
Trustees are charged with allocating and managing constituents’ resources in a responsible manner. Wheatland Township has no bid process for township work. I would establish a responsible bidding process to maximize value and transparency and would focus on contractors who pay responsible wages.
Township boards, by Illinois law, are required to provide general assistance to the indigent. It appears that Wheatland Township hasn’t allocated funds from the general assistance fund for many, many months - even in the midst of pandemic which has caused unemployment in our county in record numbers. I would institute an application process for general assistance, ensure the the public is aware of its availability, and create a resource referral network to provide for Wheatland residents in need.
Township government is meant to provide social services to improve the lives of residents. Other Will County townships offer food pantries, diaper distribution centers, and emergency assistance. Township government can assist with passports, provide temporary disability parking placards, and offer notary services. With the specific needs of Wheatland Township in mind, I plan to initiate necessary services that will enrich the lives of our residents.
Along with instituting a formal bidding process for township business, I would collaborate with neighboring townships and other units of government to find economies of scale that would reduce the cost of necessary services. I would seek grants to fund services for our community. I would seek out volunteers to stock the food pantry and distribute diapers. I would look into creating garden plots around the township building in order to provide fresh fruits and vegetables to those who visit the food pantry. I would work with local high school programs to find appropriate volunteer opportunities for students with special needs.
Township government needs to meet its constituents where they are. I would make extensive use of social media to keep the public informed of the business of the township while maintaining more traditional communication methods such as newsletters with timely information and press releases to local news outlets. I would launch a public education effort to increase awareness of the duties and responsibilities of the township because an informed public would be better equipped to hold the Board accountable for meeting the needs of the residents. The township website, though recently updated, needs to be improved so that even a first-time visitor can find necessary information with ease. I would institute more user-friendly reporting metrics, such as breaking down costs per household or mile rather than only looking at gross figures which don't always seem accessible.
The COVID-19 pandemic has left many in our area without jobs or forgoing paychecks in order to quarantine in accordance with Illinois Department of Public Health guidelines. Wheatland Township should be coordinating with the Will County Health Department to ensure that Wheatland residents who are losing income in order to help stop the transmission of the virus which causes COVID-19 are applying for assistance from the township.
Wheatland Township needs to be an information outlet for timely, accurate information to increase public awareness of best practices to curb the spread of the virus, testing facilities available to diagnose the disease, and vaccination rollout updates with site information. Our seniors are particularly vulnerable to this disease and yet some aren't comfortable using technology to schedule vaccine appointments or testing. The Township should be instituting a volunteer program to help seniors who need assistance with these tasks.
Wheatland Township Board needs to suspend in-person board meetings and consistently utilize audio-visual technology to ensure the safety of all who are interested in the business of the Board. Going forward, livestreaming of Board meetings should be a routine practice. I would require stringent adherence to public health policies in township buildings and from township employees.
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My background as an automotive technician, quality assurance technician, service manager, salesman, insurance specialist, as well as gig worker gives me a background similar to many Americans. In all my roles I have been in a position of working directly with consumers trying to provide service. Additionally, I have been engaged with several organizations throughout my life in Will County most of which has been to get folks engaged in civics. I also love to volunteer whether it is river clean ups, highway cleanups, fundraisers, or other candidates running for office. It's a lifelong pursuit which has given me a unique perspective on how to help. I am looking forward to using the skills and passion I have for helping to put to good use as a Trustee of Wheatland Township.
The biggest issues facing the township now is transparency (what one might describe as cronyism politics or backdoor dealing) and services for the township. Concerning the latter I think we should have a partnership with recycling agencies and food pantries. We should also consider what services might be benefitted by collaborating with other townships.
The best way I've seen in my career to reduce costs is by leveraging costs thru reducing vendors or pooling resources. I think the way this would work with Townships is by working with other nearby Townships to leverage our buying power we have. Other examples or ways this can be achieved is through bidding our contracts. That way the most cost efficient vendors with the best services are received for the every cent we spend of the tax payers dollar.
Creating a well made website that allows for finding information easily would be a big help. Creating a better connection with the Wheatland community is another great way to create the transparency. Reaching out to ALL community members will be a huge goal for me during my first term.
Covid has affected everyone but has more strenuously hurt low income families. This particular group of people is the Townships main benefactors should they be doing their job well. We currently do not have a food pantry, we do not have a recycling center, and we don't partner with enough local organizations like United Way to get the help where it's needed.
I am a father with three children ages 8, 9 and 16. I currently work as a consultant in aviation construction. A large part of my job is communicating with multiple stakeholders to ensure a successful project. Additionally, i have significant experience in private procurement aiding in the selection contractors and vendors to ensure projects are completed successfully. I will utilize my professional experience to ensure an open and transparent procurement processes for Wheatland Township. In my personal life i have served as a member of School Board and a Session board member of our previous church.
The most important issue facing the Trustee's office right now is reaching out to the citizens of Wheatland Township. Due to COVID everyone is hurting, and the Trustee's office and Township government are there to help their citizens. I would propose to increase our social media presence, and put together programs to provide assistance to those impacted by COVID. Additionally, Township governments should provide resources for all of its citizens. I would propose a "resources" section of the township website to easily provide contact information for resources for all citizens.
There are many opportunities to partner with other governmental agencies and non-profit organizations to provide assistance to the citizens of Wheatland Township. all of these avenues should be leveraged to provide resources to all citizens.
I would propose that all contracts over a pre-determined and negotiated value be publicly procured with a best value selection criteria. Additionally, all public meetings should be announced on social media, and access to public meetings should be easy to locate on the township website. Furthermore, the township should be a place that all citizens feel comfortable reaching out for help. I would address this by providing an anonymous email account to address any citizens concern.
COVID-19 has presented the opportunity for the township to step up and help the citizens of Wheatland Township. I would propose that Wheatland Township work with the Will County Health Department to provide up to date information to the citizens. Additionally Wheatland Township should be working with all adjacent government authorities to help address issues received by the citizens.