Joe Chiarelli on the Issues
Respect and Collaboration
One of the biggest issues in Winnebago County Government is the lack of respect and collaboration between the county board and the county administration. Rather than cast blame I am promising that if I am elected this will be one of the first issues that I will tackle. Without respect and collaboration we cannot solve the problems here in Winnebago County.
A prime example of the breakdown in a county government has been the county board’s efforts to restrict the power of the Chairman’s office. Subsequently the current Chairman has filed lawsuits in state and federal court. My approach will be to earn the trust of the county board once more. The purpose of the administration is to work with the county board and provide untainted and unfiltered information on the state of the county as well as the issues before us. Trust brings respect.
Reform of the Budget Process
Year over year the county budget has come down to the wire with the conclusion arrived at just before the October 1st Fiscal Year anniversary. Subsequent budget amendments and corrections further illustrate a flawed process. As Chairman I will provide the county board with a more organized and thoughtful approach to putting together a long term budget plan.
One of my first acts as Chairman will be to pull together a group of businessmen and women along with financial experts to do a full review of the county budget. Hopefully this will be presented and done before I am sworn in on the first week of December but if not I will make sure this gets done. Understanding the budget and having an outside look at the budget and the process will provide the county board with the type of information they need to make informed decisions.
The budget process for the subsequent fiscal year should start October 1st of every year. We should also have a series of longer term projections for the budget so that as a county we can plan and prepare. It is not fair to ask the county board to slap together a budget in a few short months and it is particularly difficult when the information necessary to make decisions is not available.
As County Board Chairman I will convene a countywide conference of elected officials from every level of government in order to discuss our mutual concerns and initiatives. I think that such cooperation, particularly public safety and roads, could lead to cost savings and the lessening of any misunderstandings.
Winnebago County needs to have economic development and growth in order to help make our county a destination for people to live, for businesses to locate to, and for existing businesses to expand here. Public Safety and Infrastructure are key issues in those decisions and our county needs to address those issues in a collaborative manner.