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2017 Oswego Candidate Questionnaire: Jan Alexander, Oswego Township Trustee

Mar 19, 2017 03:47PM ● Published by Steven Jack

Name: Jan Alexander   
Employment: I am fully retired and can dedicate most of my time as Township Trustee. I was employed over 26 years in the Rail Transportation Industry.  During my career I worked various positions including preparing payroll and billing and assessing freight rates. Also, I was a ticket agent at one of Metra’s busiest stations.  I helped my husband own and operate a  successful restaurant in Norridge Illinois.  I owned and ran a decorating service in Tennessee.
Family: I have 2 grown children and 6 grand children.
Education: I studied labor law at the University of Illinois and attended Grand Rapids Business School in Michigan. I continue to take classes when time permits, as I believe you should never stop learning new skills and gaining more knowledge.
Previously elected office: I was elected and re-elected as Chairman and Financial Secretary Treasurer for B.R.A.C. in Chicago ( now known as T.C.I.U.).  My responsibilities were to interpret and police the agreements for the employees of the Milwaukee Road, Chicago Candy House and Montgomery Ward Freight Operations.  This included representing members at investigations and hearings and negotiating employee benefits.  I have also worked in retail and manufacturing and my success in real estate helped provide for my early retirement. I have never ran for an elected government position before. I was once appointed to the planning commission for the Village of Itasca.
Relevant community service: I have served the community as a C.A.S.A.volunteer for Kendall County and I have been a Senior Health Insurance Representative in DuPage County. I worked for the residents to get the 20% Tax Reduction advisory referendum on the 2012 ballot. Please see my website for list of other volunteer accomplishments:

What makes you qualified to serve as an elected Oswego Township official? 

I am qualified because I have attended most the Township meeting for the last 2 years and have examined the past 3 Township general leaders and found areas of wasteful spending. One significant finding was major work projects are not bid out as required. Contracts are not negotiated to receive the best financial benefit for the tax payer, such as the recent cell tower contract renewal agreement.  With my business skills and past experience representing others, I can serve the residents by getting better and more service for their tax dollar.

What are your specific plans to restore transparency and public trust in the township?  

I would work to restore transparency by improving the Township website to include as much information as possible and to conduct open and welcoming meetings each month.  We need to listen to our residents and answer questions without them needing to make FOIA requests all the time.

I have already drafted and presented to the Township Clerk 2 agenda items for the Township’s annual meeting( April 11, 2017) that would help to restore public trust:

1.     One requires all job vacancies be publicly posted and advertised so all residents may have the opportunity to apply. It also prohibits the hiring of relatives.

2.     The other agenda item provides the Tax Payers with a means to remove an elected official from office when he/she fails to reside in our Township.

If any, what are your specific ideas for expanded Township services?   

I would expand Township services to include solar powered street lights in the Boulder Hill Subdivision. We could start to fund this by using the savings in elected official salaries over the next 4 years. I believe the residents have a right to feel safe in their neighborhoods and this also should help lower law enforcement costs.

Would you support an effort to consolidate township services with other local taxing bodies to eventually remove this layer of government? 

Yes, I would support consolidation of township services with other local taxing bodies if absolutely necessary. But with careful spending, I think the Township could remain the most cost effective operation.

If you are elected, what do you believe should be the Township’s top 3 immediate priorities?

The Township’s top 3 priorities would be:

1. Ensure that we are getting the most beneficial contracts and perform more work in house (not contracted out) by using our road district employees. Guard against bid stringing.

2. Engage new Trustees in reviewing all financial transactions on a regular monthly basis as recommended in the last 4 annual audits.  Make sure bills are tendered well in advance of the monthly meeting for complete review before payment is to be voted on by the trustees. Currently there is no review of bank statements/reconciliations by someone other than the administrative assistant.  This needs urgent attention and correction.

3. Definitely upgrade the website to todays standards and legal requirements.

We also need to sell our old empty building on Rte 71 and aggressively work to rent out the 2 vacant units at our new 84 Templeton location. This would supplement our tax dollars and help to keep the levy down.

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