Winfield Township trustee candidate: Mike Guglielmi
All six Republican candidates running to fill the four open trustee positions on the Winfield Township Board this election cycle attended a forum last week to answer questions on why voters should vote for them. Here are Mike Guglielmi's responses.
I’ve been a resident of Winfield Township for about seven years now. I married my beautiful wife, who was born and raised in Winfield Township. I have four amazing young kids, but I’m a little biased in that remark. As far as experience goes, my education: I have a bachelor of science in management from Florida Gulf Coast University, as well as an advanced accounting certificate from the College of DuPage here in 2015. I’m currently sitting for the CPA exam. A little bit about my work history: I’ve worked as a district manager managing about 150 employees over two states in 20 locations. I also currently am a business analyst and now responsible for about a $15 million revenue cycle.
I really wanted to get involved in my community here now that I have some children. I’m currently on the board for Agape Preschool in Warrenville, as well as on the board at St. Irene Catholic School. I’m also an elected committeeman for Precinct 33, which is where I live in Warrenville – just off of Curtis in Warrenville. Why I’m looking to get into Winfield Township government (is) I’m looking to bring some fresh eyes to look it over and see exactly what’s going on, and see how I can help make the township government work more efficiently and effectively. That’s something in my years of experience in business, I’ve been very successful turning poor districts around and helping increase revenue recovery with my current company. I’m looking to get it … and see where we can improve and see how we can make things better for all the residents of Winfield Township.
Q: Have you been attending township board meetings, and what do you think the current issues are?
I have not attended any meetings. I was not aware that the public could go to these meetings. There’s not a whole lot of transparency on the website and from what I’ve heard, and so I have not attended any. Now that I am aware that I can I will be there Monday night to see exactly what’s going on. As far as the issues, I’m not fully aware of anything that’s pressing as of right now. There were certain things that were brought up prior… like Ride DuPage, and things that we can look at to see if we can save some money for taxpayers and make it run more efficiently.
Q: Do you support township government in its current form? If not, how should it change?
Yes, I support township government. I think there is a segment – the unincorporated segment – that is not fully represented by the cities in their board meetings. So I believe that it is definitely necessary, but I believe there’s an opportunity to look at it and work at seeing how we can make it better. Being pretty much an outsider, I want to get in there and look at it and see how we can make it better because, hey, you’re taking about taxpayer dollars here, and I want to be the voice of the people, and I want to be very accessible to the people so that people can have a say in township government. I wasn’t aware that I had that say and a lot of my friends are not aware of that. So I’m looking forward to getting in there and checking it out.
Q: Do you or will you always vote the party line or would you break from the majority and vote against something?
I would absolutely vote against something and not stick with the party line. I have my values that I base most of my decisions on, but if there was something I couldn’t stand for I would definitely look at the other options and possibly go that route. I don’t think anybody should be 100 percent firm on, "This is the way it is, even if I disagree with it," and it also brings up something that I have been kind of thinking about … when you’re out there representing a group of people, especially in the meetings, like a township trustee meeting, you’re representing the people. It’s not necessarily what you or me would want for myself. It’s what the people I represent are looking for, and if I have people come to me to talk to me about it, I think that I should represent them regardless of which way that goes.
Q: Would you reduce or eliminate any services that the township currently provides?
There is nothing I would say that I would absolutely eliminate right off the bat because I don’t have all the facts. There’s an opportunity to be looked at. We’ve been running this as a caucus and behind closed doors for a while and it hasn’t been open as a primary and this is the first one, and there’s an opportunity. You know some people can get lazy and … not put their everything into it. It happens in business all the time; I’m not saying it happens now because, again, I do not know all the details. But I think that there is an opportunity to get in and see if there is a way to reduce the spending or make thing better. And we’re not talking about a huge budget here … our taxes are very competitive … but if there’s an opportunity to, we’ll do that.
Q: The Daily Herald newspaper stated that many townships are spending more on salaries for staff to administrate programs for the poor than they are giving out to the poor. How much does this township spend on the staff and how much money is given to the poor annually?
I’ve been there; I’ve had to use some in the past. Sometimes bad times happen to all of us. If that’s true in some townships I really hope it’s not true in our township, because if you are spending more on the administrative services and trying to get the money out there than actually the money that’s going out there, then you’ve got a problem. You’re running bad business. So I definitely hope that’s not the case.
Q: The DuPage County Election Commission estimated the cost of the primary to be $50,000 and would be borne by taxpayers. Did you vote to have a primary vs. a caucus?
I voted for the primary. I’ve spoken to multiple people about township government and getting in, and nobody has a clue about it. They don’t know anything about it; they don’t know who’s in it. But now with the primary system, you’ve got six people here running for four spots and we’re all getting active in the community. We’re here today, we’re putting out signs (and) learning more about what’s going on. And yes, it might not be the most cost-effective answer – a caucus would have definitely been cheaper, but the estimates I’ve heard are anywhere from $10,000 to $15,000. I think that is a fair price to pay for the people to have a say. Unless you were very aware of this, you weren’t going to the caucus to vote. So now that my neighbor and my other neighbor know about it, they’re going to go out there and have their say, and I think that’s very important.
Q: Why is the township road district separate?
I’m not sure, but I gather just from looking at it, the road portion is a large portion of what the township does, so (with the large numbers) I can see why that would be done, but I’m not 100 percent sure why it is separate.
Q: Do you believe in term limits for township elected officials?
Absolutely, I believe in term limits for township elected officials. Sometimes when you get into something, as I said earlier it happens in business all the time, you can get lazy with what you’re doing, and not just that. It opens the door to more people and gets more people involved, and I’ve kind of echoed that in a few of my answers. I think it’s important to not just have someone sit there and be in charge for a long, long time and not open it up to other people. I’m fully for term limits.
Q: How long have you been active, specifically with the Winfield Township Board? Why run now?
I’ve been a precinct committeeman with the Winfield Township Republicans for just under two years now. This is the first opportunity, and so that’s why I’m running now. I learned about it and saw that was an opportunity to get involved, and so you’ve got to start somewhere. And I think this is a great opportunity to take my expertise in business and really get in there and take a look at things. So that’s pretty much why now. I think it’s important to get some new people in there and again. I would appreciate your vote on the 28th.