Unlike Republican Mike Walkup, whose opponent Jack Franks was a no-show at the League of Women Voters candidates’ night, Republican Joe Tirio’s opponent Democrat Lynn Gray was on the stage.
Tirio got to speak first.
The Woodstock Republican said he would end nepotism, patronage, waste and “likely my job,” if elected.
Gray, from Marengo, told of talking with County Clerk Mary McClellan and being told that she would hire an administrator to run the Recorder’s Office, if the elected Recorder were eliminated.
“The tax savings for eliminating one job would be minimal,” the title company employee asserted.
Gray spoke of the importance of maintaining property records.
“Everything is based on property ownership,” she said.
“I wouldn’t put those records at risk.”
Tirio explained how he had maintained the integrity of Ameritech’s 100 tons of microfiche, transferring them to electronic media.
One question asked about qualifications.
Tirio told of twenty years employment with Ameritech and its predecessor companies Illinois Bell and SBC.
He guided six hundred people through the merger, he said.
Then, he moved to AON-Hewitt where his “innovations saved over $1 million the first year.”
As far as direct management went, he said he pegged the number “as large as 400.)
Gray explained her twenty-three years experience in title companies.
“I have done everything there is to do in the title industry,” the employee of Fidelity National Title said.
She added that she was part of a seventh generation McHenry County family.
While Tirio favored combining the Recorder’s Office with the County Clerk’s Office, Gray did not.
She pointed to LaSalle County’s having backed away from the idea.
Tirio countered that Cook County had the proposal on the ballot this year.
A questioner asked about aspirations five years from now.
“Hopefully, I would have just won my re-election,” she said.
Tirio answered second: “I would hope I would not be there anymore and that it would be a department in the Clerk’s Office.”
Management experience came up in another question.
“Tirio repeated that he had managed people for decades–up to 400–across the globe in three different time zonezs.
“I have managed managers. I have trained managers.
He pointed out that Monach Senior Care, which he and his wife Karen run, is the “best rated in this county.”
Tirio said current employees in the Recorder’s Office will be asked to help point to possible improvements.
Gray told of managing Fox Title in Crystal Lake in the mid-1990’s.
“I’ve managed small staffs,” she continued. “The Recorder currently has 24 employees.”
She added, “I often times get in trouble for…saying what’s on my mind.”
Asked how the Recorder’s salary compares with what they take home now and whether they would take a pension, Gray said it was more than she currently made and
“If I served ten years, I would hope I’d get a pension.”
Tirio said the salary was comparable.
“I absolutely will not take a pension…It’s simply not fair.”
He said he would contribute to a 401(k) plan.
“Will you term limit yourself?” was the next question.
“Absolutely,” Tirio answered
“It’s part of the platform.
“If unsuccessful [in eliminated the Recorder as an elected position], I would serve no more than two terms.”
Gray’s answer: “I won’t limit myself to a certain number of term.”
In her closing statement, Gray said,
“I feel I’m the most qualified candidate for the office.
“I can’t believe that someone would [suggest merging] the two offices [in the] fifth largest county in the state.
“I’m not a politician promising things I can’t deliver.”
Tirio’s final statement pointed out that Cook County had the merger question on the November ballot.
“We are living in a time of crisis in this state.
“We need to do more [to bring] financial accountability, transparency and resourcefulness to government.
He pointed out that the tax burden in Woodstock was 4.62%, while in Illinois it averaged 2.25% and nationally it is 1.21%.
Eliminating the Recorder as a elected official would save
- the $105,000 salary
- $12-20,000 in fringe benefits
- the pension
“That’s almost twenty homes worth of tax payments.
“I think we need more people to try to find ways to [save money].
“Customers expect more for less.
“I want to do the same for this county.”