Winfield Township trustee candidate: Zachary Halley
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 went to Arizona State University. I have a B.S. degree in criminal justice and criminology. A little bit about my career background: after I got out of school I worked for a company called Automatic Data Processing dealing with small businesses, dealing with payroll taxes and thing of that nature. Now I’m a part-owner in a small business, so I understand budgeting, meeting the needs of the business itself to make sure that we keep costs down.
I want to bring that to the township level with my experience and my understanding of budgeting making sure that the township is spending the money where it needs to be spent. Like some of the previous candidates stated, there isn’t too much oversight on the committee itself, on the township itself. I think people need to know exactly what they are getting out of a candidate, so I am very thankful that we have this forum because, like they said, not everyone knows who exactly they are voting for. I hope I can earn you vote on Feb. 28.
Q: Have you been attending township board meetings, and what do you think the current issues are?
I have not attended meetings. I just recently became interested in township government, specifically when I realized what salaries were being made by certain officials, especially dealing with pensions for part-time employees. And I think that that’s something that needs to be looked into, especially when the taxpayers are the ones paying for it. Obviously if I am elected, I will be attending every single meeting, and I think we need to look at things … with a level of transparency -- making it easier for the citizens to view these meetings, whether it’s recorded and put online or things of that nature because not everyone can attend the meetings. It should be accessible to every single taxpayer and person voting.
Q: Do you support township government in its current form? If not, how should it change?
I absolutely support township government. I am a firm believer in smaller government. I do believe that Winfield Township does have some things that we should be able to look into … whether its accountability, transparency. I think we can make things a little bit easier and a little bit better for the public itself. Just knowing what is being spent … and making sure they’re getting what they pay for. I think township government is important, especially when it come to the unincorporated areas, especially with the highway commissioner, roads and things of that nature that the towns themselves may not take care of. So yes, I do support township government.
Q: Do you or will you always vote the party line, or would you break from the majority and vote against something?
I don’t agree with the fact that you need to be 100 percent this way or 100 percent that way. If there is an issue that the taxpayers or the township feels needs to go a certain way, we’re representing them, we’re not representing ourselves. And if there’s an issue and the vast majority thinks it should go one way and the others disagree with it, you need to make sure you have that balancing act to make sure you are representing the whole of the people and not just a small group.
Q: Would you reduce or eliminate any services that the township currently provides?
I think that there are some issues that need to be looks at … like the bus. If you file a Freedom of Information Act request you can get the numbers on what exactly if costs for this bus. For instance, there (were) 1,824 riders in 2016. It comes out to about 152 riders per month. There are certain instances where there are big costs and if there are ways to ease the burden of the taxpayer then yes, we should look at it … but sitting in this position, I need to get all the numbers get all the facts and see what areas we can ease the burden of taxes on taxpayers.
Q: The Daily Herald newspaper stating many townships 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?
When it comes to staff, those are numbers I do have. I do not have numbers on the “poor.” This staff themselves, for instance at the township level, the general assistance program, the salary and benefits for the administrator of that comes out to close to $69,000, if I’m not mistaken. But then again I am an outsider and I need to get on the inside and see all of those numbers to see where all of that’s actually going.
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 also voted for the primary. I think that $50,000 number is very inflated from what we’ve seen. From a primary aspect, primary and caucus … with a caucus it’s a pretty closed group. For a township level government where we are supposed to be representing the people and doing what’s best for the people of the township, the caucus is a very closed way for them to have a say. I think a primary is a necessary thing. I welcome the primary, it’s the first primary ever … and you’ve got six people running for four spots, and the people will have their say with the primary, whereas with the caucus it sort of keeps the old guard in power and doesn’t allow you to bring new eyes in, new ideas to the table.
Q: Why is the township road district separate?
It’s two separate budgets. I’m not exactly sure why it is that way. I do know that (the highway commissioner) is doing a fantastic job … and the way it’s set up is working.
Q: Do you believe in term limits for township elected officials?
I absolutely agree with term limits. What that number is … I don’t know. I would leave that up to the people voting. But I think that at any level or on any job that someone is continuously elected to … they get complacent. They don’t feel like the need to continuously serve the people because they’re always getting elected, what do they have to lose? From that aspect, I think term limits allow you to get into the job, get the job done in an effective way and let’s get some new blood into those areas.
Q: How long have you been active, specifically with the Winfield Township board? Why run now?
Part of the reason why now is, like I said, we have a primary. People can get involved and there is a chance for new people to get elected. I think, from a township level, I’ve been a precinct committeeman for … I’m in my third year, I believe. I’ve always been interested in politics itself … and the township level is a great level to be at especially when it comes to the citizens of the township … it’s the closest form of government. If somebody needs something on a township level, you should be able to be accessible. And I want to be that person.