Stephen D. Brown: 2022 candidate for Kane County Board District 13
City: St. Charles
Occupation: Attorney, Law Offices of Stephen D. Brown
Previous offices held:
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. Fiscal responsibility
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. I've been a practicing attorney for 22 years and previously worked for the Kane County state's attorney's office for approximately fifteen years. If elected, I would bring the same attention to detail I bring to each of my cases and the experience of knowing how things work inside Kane County government.
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. Kane County finances have substantially worsened over the past two years. When Chris Lauzen stepped down in 2020, it was after the County had cut public debt substantially and largely funded it's pension obligations. The last two years have not seen the same commitment to spending restraint. Kane County has always been fiscally responsible and it is one of the major reasons why people want to move here rather than to move away from here.
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 public has a compelling interest in seeing how its government functions and I don't believe Kane County has been substantially transparent over the past two years. The extent to which the prior State's Attorney administration refused to substantially honor FOIA requests related allegations of sexual harassment in the workplace were disappointing. If there is any issue that may lead to county financial liability or may cause voters to reconsider their support of an elected official, this is exactly the sort of information the public needs to know.
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. Over the past twenty years, we've had a revolution in terms of what technology allows us to automate. There are substantial numbers of jobs that used to require a person that now only requires a computer program. However, unlike the private sector, our government has not become any smaller. We are failing here and we need to review each and every county job to see whether it is necessary, whether additional automation can increase the efficiency of county workers, and what investments in technology are necessary.