120 Edgewater Drive, Crystal Lake, IL
Banking, FirstMerit N. A.
Divorced, Kathleen Bernett
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On The Record
Why are you running for county treasurer?
I am a candidate for McHenry County Treasurer for several reasons. I will be a full time Treasurer who will be fiscally responsible in managing the operations of the Treasurer's Office to realize cost savings and improve its efficiency. I will ensure that the County's investments are safely invested with maximized returns. I will improve the transparency of where our tax dollars go and provide easier access to financial information.
You are seeking to replace a long-time incumbent who held the office for decades. What do you plan to do to ensure continuity of services? What will you do the same or differently?
As I stated earlier, I intend to manage the operations of the Treasurer's Office to realize cost savings and improve its efficiency. I intend to work directly with the other McHenry County offices including the Assessor’s and Recorder’s offices to improve customer service for all stakeholders. I do not intend to reinvent the operations of the office nor do I intend to shake up staff. The changes I propose are subtle yet they will greatly enhance the customer service experience coming out of the office. I have much experience in managing staff through change and have done it successfully throughout my career. Continuity of service is certain. Customer service will be enhanced.
What can be done to make the treasurer's office run more efficiently?
The Treasurer’s office has 15 full time equivalent positions. This number of positions has remained relatively stable over the past 5 or so years. I intend to reduce, through attrition, the number of full time positions to 14. I intend to be a full time treasurer. As such, the office shall remain fully staffed at that level. I will monitor procedures and practices on an ongoing basis to hash out redundancies and find solutions to problems that slow process and workflow. I will use changing technologies to improve efficiency where it is prudent and appropriate.
What are your plans to modernize the office?
The County Treasurer’s website was a step in the right direction when it was introduced over a decade ago. It provided superior access to tax bill information when compared to many surrounding counties at the time. I have used it over the years in my role as a professional banker. However, the website has undergone little or no substantial change and provides limited information. It also has minor glitches in it that could have been corrected years ago. I have a long term goal to not only improve the operation of the web site, but to greatly expand information provided on it to include financial and levy increase information from each of the taxing units of government that impact our tax bill.
What can the treasurer's office do to be more accessible to residents?
I intend to be in the office every day in order to meet the needs of residents and all other stakeholders in a timely manner. When a resident brings an issue to my attention that involves another office, such as the Recorder’s or the Clerk’s, I will arrange to meet with that resident and a representative of the office in question to resolve the issue together. I also want to ensure that taxpayer’s receive their tax bill no matter what date they have purchased their property. I intend to eliminate the instances where taxpayers discover they owe taxes only after their taxes have been sold. We need to cover the real estate transfer timing gap.
What is the most-pressing issue the treasurer's office faces?
The County Treasurer’s goals for fiscal year 2011 included few action items and one of them stands out, “To find a solution to the water leak problem in the Garden Level of our new location”. In Fiscal 2012, the main action goal was again “To find a solution to the water leak problem in the Garden Level of our new location.” Fiscal Year’s goals for 2013 include two action items (the water problem solution achieved). The first is “Video record delinquent tax sale to provide a more transparent operation”. The second is “Paint interior of vault”. Apparently, there are no other pressing issues facing the office in fiscal 2012/2013. Leadership includes strategic planning, methods of identifying, strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats and using that understanding to formulate short and long term goals. The most pressing issue in the office is a vacuum of leadership.
How would you differentiate yourself from your opponent?
I have a record of leadership on many levels. I have worked in the private sector banking industry in McHenry County for 26 years. I currently manage a bank branch that consistently ranks in the highest percentile in third party customer survey results. In my career, I have managed a 70 million dollar commercial loan portfolio and a 42 million dollar branch. Since 1999, I have been an elected Councilman of the City of Crystal Lake and take great pride in my record of fiscally conservative action. I hold long term leadership roles in organizations including Horizons for the Blind, McHenry County Salvation Army and the Crystal Lake Lions Club. I am a qualified candidate with a proven track record. Thank you, and I look forward to your vote on March 18th.