Paul Barthel: 2022 candidate for McHenry County Board District 4
Occupation: Business owner
Previous offices held: Private board member
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 current partisan landscape has increasingly become belligerent and toxic. Motivated by the failure for adequate representation for our children in public schools, misappropriation of tax dollars on a State level, reckless spending, acute government, overt crime, and a host of administration oversight failures. To be clear, it's not monetary, nor stature, my reasoning running for office, rather, is frustration to the gradation that constituency representation must be validated once again in Illinois. If anything worthy has come out of COVID is the revelation and lack of transparency of our representation of public officials. Our schools, governor, general assembly, and school boards have all come under question the efficacy for which they are responsible. I would like to remind Illinois voters that they ask themselves, when is it time that you stand for what you say you believe and how much longer are you will willing to tolerate non-transparency and government oversight?
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. Born and raised In Illinois, a business owner and entrepreneur with budget and labor negotiation experience, I strongly believe in stewardship of those existing and prospective business relationships a county can nurture. This not only drives and increases tax revenues, at the same time will reduce the burden to those county constituents. In addition, I am proud of my non for profit organization, Animal Humane Advocacy, where we have led several grassroot initiatives for the fair and ethical treatment of animals within the Illinois General Assembly and nonpartisan bill efforts that exist today. I believe a strong business aptitude, ability to negotiate, and passion for community are essential. Are the citizens getting the representation or have the existing and stale incumbents become complacent in going along to get along while ignoring the electors who placed them in office? Certainly, many of those in office are guilty of this.
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. While emergency COVID monies have provided a windfall for both the county and Illinois in excess of billions of dollars, I question the use of those funds which we have seen used for pet projects and pork with little having to do with actual COVID relief. I would like to remind the voters, that those funds are not free, and the programs they provide funding are ultimately off the backs of the voters only adding more to our deficit. Both Illinois representatives and the county are guilty of overburdening the constituents with overt taxation thus creating a mass exodus from this state while the solution has been increased borrowing and thus creation of a junk bond status rating for our once proud state. Time and again, the solution has been to kick the can. Pension relief, aggressive auditing of school spending, and unnecessary program evaluation and government overreach is necessary. Continued spending without a balanced budget is drowning Illinois.
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. This is a huge topic and increasingly violated. Transparency and government efficacy cannot be expressed enough. Perhaps not happening so much on a local level, however, it does have a trickle-down effect on each county within the state of Illinois. We have repeatedly seen stalled efforts even after submitting proper FOIA requests for public school records, it now takes months for proper review of FOID card applications and concealed carry documentation, a government that is run by autocracy rather than by the will of the voter. A governor that has issued well over 100 emergency orders superseding General Assembly oversight and the will of the voter solely based on his own personal hypothesizes. Layer upon layer of government bureaucrats is not job creation, rather, is an effort to create straight line voting and false patronage at the expense of the taxpayer.
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. Automation on a government level that assists the entity while making the experience cumbersome for the user should be evaluated. Live engagement with customer service is critical while at the same time prevents unnecessary mistakes. It does not take more government to achieve these measures, rather, effective government. I cannot express the warranted measures, how this state government is in need of severe job auditing measures. Not only for the ease and expediency of the voter or end user, yet for the preventative waste of taxpayer monies. It should be questioned what the role of each employee is, their responsibility, and comparative wage scale compared to that of the private sector.