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Kendall County Election 2016: Jerry Bannister, Candidate for Kendall County Board District 1

Mar 06, 2016 02:35PM ● By Steven Jack

Jerry Bannister

Name:  Jerry Bannister

Website:  https://www.facebook.com/jerryforkendallcountyboard/

Employment: I am self-employed. I have a photography/videography business and recently opened “Fox River Studios” in downtown Oswego. My other business is real estate title searching, which I have been doing since 1991.

Family:  I have been married to my wife Jessica for 27 years, I have one son and one grandson. 

Education:  Oswego High School, Waubonsee Community College

Previously elected office:  No elected office, but I was on the Oswego Plan Commission and Zoning Board of Appeals

Relevant community service:  CASA Kendall County volunteer, financial support to the Kendall County Fair (4H/FFA), Kendall County Food Pantry.

What are the county’s three most important capital needs (i.e. roads, buildings) at this moment? How should they be paid for?

Capital needs must be balanced with the budget and the budget is my top priority.  By law, capital needs are paid for with taxes and fees of various sorts and it’s not really possible to change that. The county must make do with what it has and we cannot ask our homeowners and families to pay more.  I will not vote for an unbalanced budget, nor will I vote to raise taxes to balance the budget.    

For capital needs:

  1. New and improved roads are always important.  Safe roads and solid transportation infrastructure will provide a better environment for businesses to locate and thrive in Kendall County.  The “Collins Road Project” is a good idea and I will support it.  The WIKADUKE Trail is progressing but I have concerns on routing and design details, and there are inconsistencies that need to be hammered out.  The Fox River Bridge at Eldemain Road may be a bit ahead of its time right now, but construction costs will not be cheaper in the future so the project needs to keep moving forward.
  2. I think we will need additional courtrooms sooner rather than later.  The county continues to grow and we need to make sure the court system isn’t bogged down due to inadequate capacity.
  3. I am a big fan of open space for the Forest Preserve, which poses two problems - acquisition costs and maintenance costs.  I would be open to obtaining additional open space if a good opportunity presents itself.  (All County Board members are also Forest Preserve Commissioners)

Do you think the County Board’s meeting times are convenient for residents to attend? Why or why not? What changes, if any, would you propose to the meetings schedule?

Daytime meetings can be difficult for working residents to attend. I am in favor of combining committees to save on per diem costs and I am in favor of night meetings when possible. 

Should the County Board continue its policy of paying its members per diems (or per meeting), or should they change to a straight annual salary for board members? Why or why not? Is the pay for County Board members adequate or should they be paid more, or less?

Honestly I don’t understand why this issue is still being discussed.  What is so difficult about taking attendance at a meeting?  It’s simple. The board meetings are set with proper public notice. The County takes attendance at each meeting.  Board members get paid if they show up at the meeting. If you miss the meeting you don’t get paid. Meeting attendance should also be published on the county website. As for salaries, especially “higher monthly salaries”, I am opposed to the salary methodology. I think the salary system is just as open to abuse as the per diem method. There is no accountability in the salary method. There is nothing in the law that requires a board member to show up at meetings, so under the salary system, someone who misses a meeting would still get paid. I think the current per diem rate is fair. Being a County Board member does take a lot of time and effort if done properly.

Lastly, Oswego area residents should know that I am running for County Board in District 1.  You can find the district maps here:  http://gis.co.kendall.il.us/map_gallery.aspx 

If I am elected, I will be voting on issues in both District 1 and District 2, but as you can see on the map, District 1 mainly covers the western areas of Kendall County.   So if you live in District 2, please tell your friends in District 1 to vote for me!