2017 Oswego Candidate Questionnaire: Michael Becker, Oswego Township Supervisor
Mar 22, 2017 07:22AM ● Published by Steven Jack
Employment: Retired after 36 years in financial services (including 25 years with Metropolitan Life). Currently Adjunct Instructor in Economics at College of DuPage.
Family: Married to Donna for 41 years. Two Sons: Ronald (OHS ’02, NIU ‘07), Andrew (OHS ’05, Bradley ’09)
Education: Rutgers University, BA Political Science; Fairleigh Dickinson University, MBA Finance & Economics.
Previous Elected Office: Oswego Board of Education, Precinct Committeeman, Oswego Township Treasurer, Kendall County Republican Central Committee, Oswego Township Republican Organization, Chairman and founding member, Candidate for Kendall County Board, 2012
Relevant Community Service: Boulder Hill Gardens Homeowners’ Association, Board Member and Maintenance Director, Parents and Community for Excellence, Boulder Hill Civic Association, Board Member and Treasurer
What makes you qualified to serve as an elected Oswego Township Official?
1. 38-year resident of Oswego Township
2. My career experience and credentials as an economist allow me to bring a fresh perspective to Township government.
3. I have a long and consistent commitment to the issue of government transparency. I have walked the walk on this issue, not just talked the talk.
4. Thirty-plus years’ community involvement have given me a strong understanding of our community, its people and their values.
5. We cannot expect different results if we continue to do township government the way we have done it in the past.
What are your specific plans to restore transparency and public trust in the township?
First, it is important to understand that we have never had transparency in township government. Improved public trust will flow from implementing the policies below:
1. Put all township expenditures on line in real time on the township website
2. End bid-stringing and bring the township into full compliance with competitive bidding laws.
3. Institute OSHA-compliant safety training for all township employees. This will reduce accidents and injuries, cut our insurance costs reduce our liability exposure.
4. Adopt a policy to prevent nepotism and curb cronyism.
If any, what are your specific ideas for expanded township services?
Given the fact that we are losing the largest single taxpayer in the township as Caterpillar winds down their operations, given the State’s worsening financial condition and given that our property taxes are 41st out of 3,141 counties—in the top 2%, I believe that taking on new spending commitments would be extraordinarily unwise.
Would you support an effort to consolidate township services with other taxing bodies to eventually remove this layer of government?
To focus on township government is to miss the larger issue. Illinois has more taxing districts than every state, except Texas and California. Both of these have much larger populations and land area. Many of these taxing districts overlap and were created to get around property tax restrictions. The whole system needs to be restructured and rationalized. Illinois’ deteriorating financial condition may force Springfield’s hand on this issue.