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Kendall County Election 2016: Diane Selmer, Candidate for Kendall County Board District 2

Mar 06, 2016 03:58PM ● By Steven Jack

Diane Selmer

Name: Diane Selmer
Employment: Retired senior citizen, formerly Executive Secretary/Benefits Analyst, reported to Vice President,Human Resources/Labor Relations, Pechiney Services America (formerly National Can Company)
Family: sister, brother, 2 nieces and 3 nephews
Education: Roosevelt University, 2 yr. equivalent, employee benefits/legal research
Previously elected office: none
Relevant community service:  was appointed to the Oswego Legislative, Policy, Human Resources committee,  election judge, volunteered at the senior center, PrairieFest, Brew at the Bridge, Wine on the Fox, appointed Republican precinct committeeman, currently running for that position
What are the county's three most capital needs (i.e. roads, buildings) at this moment?  How should they be paid for?
The Kendall County Highway Department has published on their website a comprehensive 5 year transportation program covering the roads, total estimated expenditures, funding source as well as the year estimated for completion.  There is also a notation for the cost of $50 million for the Eldamain Road extension from Highpoint to US 34, whereby 80% or $40 million is assumed, but not guaranteed, out of the next federal transportation bill, although the $50 million is not included in the total amount.  

Unless the funding for all of these road projects comes from the 1/4 cent county sales tax, during the planned timeline, they should be placed on hold,  until the funding from the sales tax is there.  It is my understanding that with the addition of another judge to the court, there may be a need to build out another courtroom on the 2nd floor, but this should only happen if the current budget can address the issue, utilizing the current revenues.   Our citizens already are suffering with all the taxes, and should not have any more tax increases, in fact, I would like to see some tax relief.  Citizens continually cut back, elected officials should be treating our tax dollars as they would their own household budget.
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?
Having attended both 9 AM and 6 PM county board meetings, I found they both are attended by concerned residents.  In view of the fact that the agenda is posted online for all county residents, those who are concerned about a particular issue will make it a point to attend the meeting no matter the time. Meetings also can be viewed online at citizens' convenience.  Keeping in mind that many citizens are employed full time, and those who are leaving their employer at 5 PM, may have difficulty in attending 6 PM meetings.  

It may be a better idea to have both meetings perhaps begin at 6:30 PM, meetings can't be too late as one meeting began with the Forest Preserve District, and there may be occasions when a committee meeting would occur after the board meeting. If the meetings began much later I'm sure citizens, nor county employees required to attend,would want to be sitting at a meeting at 10 or 11 PM.  I would like to hear feedback from the citizens regarding their ability to attend meetings.  

Committee meetings have various daily times scheduled, for staff attendance and elected officials' convenience, and given that there are 11 committees, if distributed proportionately, board members could possibly be on 5 of those committees.  Given the fact that I am a retired senior citizen, and able to fully represent the citizens, I intend to attend every committee which I would be assigned, committee of the whole, and board meetings, and would also like to attend meetings which I would not be assigned. 
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?
That's a double edge sword given board members' history.  Since current and former board members were guilty of per diems violations, and paid back only a small portion, while taxpayers eventually wound up footing the investigation bill as well, something needed to be done to ensure elected officials' honesty.  It is my understanding that the States Attorney has recommended implementation of a 23 point plan, one is that there is now a sign in sheet for attendance at a meeting, but I believe that if you are 15 minutes late, or leave a meeting before adjournment-- per diem should not be paid.  All 23 points should be immediately implemented as recommended by the States Attorney, or as he stated, the same problem will occur.  I do not want more taxpayer dollars spent for more investigations, with another black eye for Kendall County.  It seems to me that it is the obligation of an elected official to represent the citizens by their meeting attendance, otherwise why run for the county board?
If the county board members went to straight higher salaries, which I was informed is currently $200/mo. and $85 per diem for attending each meeting----it could be worse for the taxpayers if elected officials would abuse the system by collecting a straight salary whether attending meetings or not.  Unfortunately, due to past  history, a caveat would need to be in place whereby if you miss 2 meetings, you are docked for that month's salary.  Per diems or straight salary---whichever method, the least expensive, most cost effective is what I would agree with.  If it is per diem you can be assured I will accurately comply with all required conditions, and that proper checks and balances of payments are implemented.
I also want to address something very troubling to me and many other citizens.  Being elected a county board member, a part-time position, taxpayers absolutely should NOT be picking up the very costly tab for medical insurance. This is a substantial cost to taxpayers, and I believe this cost must be eliminated from the budget as this is the personal responsibility of each county board member, not your taxpayer neighbor. IMRF (pension plan) participation by county board members should also be eliminated giving tax relief for the citizens.  If elected, I will not participate in the pension plan nor the medical plan.
Also, I  only recently learned that county board members are reimbursed for mileage to attend meetings----employers do not reimburse employees for driving to/from work.  Mileage reimbursement should ONLY occur when "required"  authorized county business takes board members outside of the county perimeter.