Winfield Township trustee candidate: Barbara Alekna
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.
I’ve been a resident for over 20 years, and my husband and I raised two beautiful and successful girls here in Winfield Township. I’m an elected precinct committeeman in Aurora’s Precinct 34, so I’m one of those people who lives in that tiny little sliver in the furthest northeast corner of Aurora. But we are part of Winfield Township.
I currently have a successful career in international logistics, and I’ve travelled around the word negotiating with major steamship lines, agents, importers and exporters. I currently run a local branch office for a major company. I opened the branch 15 years ago, and we are a little powerhouse.
I aim to bring more accountability and oversight to Winfield Township government, and I aim to make our township run more efficiently, thus removing the footprint of government on the taxpayers. I’d like to bring transparency to the meetings by recording them so everyone can watch them. Not everyone can attend the meetings -- it’s a small room. Even if you all wanted to attend, there wouldn’t be any room for you. So if we recorded them, everyone could watch them at their convenience. And if elected, it will be the first time in 30 years that Aurora has a voice on the Winfield Township board.
Q: Have you been attending township board meetings, and what do you think the current issues are?
Yes, I’ve attended three meetings since I decided to run for trustee. I feel the main issues are accountability and transparency, as I mentioned earlier about recording the meetings. Also, accountability to make sure people really are working the required hours that they need to for that position.
Q: Do you support township government in its current form? If not, how should it change?
I do support township government as it stands today from where I sit today. If elected, I may be able to form different opinions based on what I see happening in the meetings and the money we spend and what we’re spending it on. I live in an area, I always say we have an identity crisis. We live in Aurora and I can knock on my next door neighbor’s house and say I’m running for Winfield Township, and they say to me, ‘We don’t live in Winfield Township; we live in Aurora.’ Yeah, we do. So there is some confusion about township and if there is any way to save some money while keeping the standard of living high as it is … (I) will certainly try to look at that.
Q: Do you or will you always vote the party line, or would you break from the majority and vote against something?
I agree (with voting for what’s best instead of sticking to the party line). The reason that I want to be trustee is to work for Winfield Township, and my neighbors and everyone who lies in Winfield Township. So, yeah, that’s a no-brainer. I would vote for whatever is best for the people of the township
Q: Would you reduce or eliminate any services that the township currently provides?
Again, from where I sit now, I couldn’t say that I would because I don’t have all the facts. If elected, I do want to look at things like the bus (Ride DuPage) that we talked about earlier. It seems like a big expense. I'd like to know how many people per month use it. I’d like to know if they are repeat customers. If they are the same handful of people, maybe we could offer them a different alternative. Maybe we could offer them vouchers for cad rides or somehow cover their needs without stopping the service to them. So, sure, I want to look at everything. But to sit here and say that I’m just going to just go in there and change everything and cut … no, absolutely not.
Q: The Daily Herald newspaper stated 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 have a very short answer: I don’t know. But, if elected, I’ll find out.
Q: The DuPage County Election Commission estimated the cost of the primary to be $50,000, which would be borne by taxpayers. Did you vote to have a primary vs. a caucus?
I voted for the primary. The caucus, yes it is a form of voting, but it’s quite a closed form. And I think, same as my neighbors, there are signs all up and down Quail Court, people are involved, people are talking about it, people are asking questions. And I think sometimes you have to spend money to do the right thing, and I think this was the right thing for our township.
Q: Why is the township road district separate?
I’m not sure I understand the question … separate in what way? They are at the meetings. We have to vote on the expenditures. I really don’t understand the question. I feel that it is a part, but … sorry.
Q: Do you believe in term limits for township elected officials?
I definitely support term limits. I agree that if you’re there too long, it’s just the same old same old. So I definitely support term limits. Maybe two terms, maybe three. And I think that’s quite enough.
Q: How long have you been active, specifically with the Winfield Township board? Why run now?
We’ve talked a lot about the township government being the closest form of government to us -- the local government. And I chose to get involved for that very reason -- because I feel I can make a difference. I’ve been an elected precinct committeeman for three years, and I kind of got involved in it … you know, my daughters, my two best friends in the whole world, had the nerve to get married and move to Chicago, and I just had time on my hands, and why not do something that’s volunteer work, that helps the community … meet new people and make new friends.