Before we all settle in to celebrate the holidays and the end of 2018, I wanted to cover last week's board meetings.
Last Tuesday (12/11), I attended the finance committee and the county board meeting -- both meetings are represented by all 18 members. The full board meeting was the longest and most eventful. This meeting had a few DuPage County residents speak during public comment -- I want to thank all the residents who attended to draw our attention to issues affecting them and their neighbors.
We also had an opportunity to welcome and thank students from District 1! Students and teachers from Fisher Elementary and Emerson Elementary attended and we thanked them for participating in a program called Cool Yule which utilizes recycled materials to decorate the county buildings. If you're in the county building before the end of the year, stop by and see their handy work!
The first vote of the full county board meeting I want to discuss is the vote on the committee assignments. I had a very open minded approach to the committee assignments. We received a copy on paper at orientation of the proposed committees and another in our emails with updates to that draft. I was pleasantly surprised to see that Democrats, including myself, were assigned chairs. I also noticed that the assignments were pretty significantly different than the original drafts but I found the committees I was on interesting and well-suited for me to represent the concerns residents raised to me during the campaign. I further noticed that some of the committees which move significant amounts of the budget through them were not chaired by Democrats and the representation was more skewed in comparison to many of the other committees.My colleagues raised these concerns as well as a concern that if the goal in assignments was to match experience, strengths, and passion, it would follow that Member DeSart, who had prior elected experience, would have been selected for a chair. I think all of these issues were important to raise and to discuss publicly so that residents could understand our votes. For the reasons outlines by my colleagues Member Chaplin and Member DeSart, I voted no on the committee assignments.
The second vote I want to discuss is my vote on the nominee for the Ethics Commission. As I spoke about during the meeting, I did not find the information included in the packet materials sufficient enough to evaluate this candidate. This is especially true when evaluating someone who will be overseeing our conduct -- they should be someone who is not connected to any of us. I found that the nominee had donated to various local campaigns -- Republicans and Democrats -- so this is not a partisan issue. This is an issue of transparency and making sure we are choosing the absolute best candidates, without any conflicts, to serve our County. I appreciated that Chairman Cronin and Vice Chairman Zay agreed to explore what further information about political activities could be included in these applications. I then voted no for the nominee.
One thing I am most proud of following our first meeting, is that despite the discussion becoming fiery at times, each Democratic member voted their conscience. We all discussed the need to end one party rule and return thoughtful debate to the County Board during our campaigns. We all promised our voters that we would be an independent voice and be educated about the issues and transparent about our reasons. We did that in our first meeting. I can't think of a better way to end 2018.
I hope you all enjoy some relaxation and pleasant company over this holiday season. I will be spending lots of quality time with my friends and family. Board committee meetings are cancelled for 12/17 and will resume in January.
See you in 2019!