Franklin F. Ramirez: 2022 candidate for Kane County Board District 17
Occupation: Associate Director, Senior Services Associates
Previous offices held: Elgin Township Supervisor
Q. Why are you running for this office, whether for reelection or election for the first time? Is there a particular issue that motivates you?
A. The lack of concern and decorum motivates me as a community leader. I want our elected officials to care about our lives, neighborhoods, and wallets, and try to understand what makes us different and what makes us residents of Kane County. I am running for County Board because we are one of the fastest-growing counties in the state and it feels as though we do not have a road map for the future. We have elected officials more concerned with the status quo than dreaming of a better Kane County.
Q. If you are an incumbent, describe your main contributions. Tell us of any important initiatives you've led. If you are a challenger, what would you bring to the board and what would your priority be?
A. Passion, commitment, knowledge, a desire to get things done, but most importantly an open mind. For twenty-five years I have been researching things that I don't understand, talking with my neighbors about how they feel about certain subjects, and teaching them the differences between X and Y. I have been working at growing my community for the benefit of everyone.
Q. Describe your position regarding the balance between county spending and revenues as it exists today, then describe the chief threats you see looming and how the county should deal with them.
A. The county loves to spend money but at the same time cries out that we don't have enough of it. We need to have a real discussion on the county tax levy and user fees and prioritize what we need to spend money on to make sure that government works for the people in the future not just for today. To spend hundreds of thousands of dollars fixing HVAC systems that don't do the job only to spend hundreds of thousands more makes no sense to me or anyone else. The chief threat to the county is the elected officials that continue to kick the can down the road.
Q. How do you rate the county government on transparency and the public's access to records? If it's adequate, explain why. If you think improvements are needed, delineate them.
A. The county does a great job at updating its website -- a place that most people turn to first for county information. Especially with detailed minutes in a place that is front and center on their website. Their YouTube channel has been up for ten years, but it's only been just over a year that they have used it to stream meetings. I am always advocating to educate the people on how their government works and the FOIA process is no exception; we need to make sure that the public understands FOIA and how to use it. What we need more of is our elected officials communicating with their districts more (i.e. print and/or electronic newsletters).
Q. What, if anything, should be done to improve automation and customer service in county offices? What steps should be taken to make that happen?
A. I understand that the county is not a business per se and that the typical interactions with the county are not always pleasant (i.e. paying property taxes, going to court [defendant, plaintiff, witness, etc.], or dealing with the Sheriff's office [victim, perpetrator, visitor, etc.]); however, it all starts with Human Resources. We need a robust HR department that understands employee morale, retention, and what customer service looks like within the government. When you have happy employees, you make way for a happy customer experience.