Kerri's Core Goals:
1. FISCAL RESPONSIBILITY: Reduce the size of the board and related expenses. We do not need one of the largest county boards in the country.
2. WORKING FAMILIES: Protect the rights of our working families and end the threat of “Right to Work” laws that seek to drive down wages in our community.
3. LOCAL BUSINESSES: Grow local businesses to improve our tax mix for long term prosperity and relieve the tax burden on home owners.
4. CONSERVATION: Preserve our natural resources for a vibrant community, grow educational and tourism programs for sustainability.
As a business owner and professional with Fortune 500 companies, Kerri understands business growth opportunities and works with regional growth incubators to help small businesses succeed.
Business Growth & Development
Health Insurance Licensed Consultant
Remember when civil service was about service? Kerri is a dedicated champion of the "Servant Leader" principals of Robert Greenleaf. This is a commitment to service as a hallmark of leadership, exemplified through honesty, integrity, accountability while providing support to others by removing barriers.
Kerri is committed to returning our local government to a service-first model that works for the people, allowing all to participate in their civic process with confidence they will be heard and respected.
Our current board has proven they do not put our needs above their own. We are in a pivotal moment and can face our challenges now or do as they propose - become purely reactionary to our detriment.
FRAUD, WASTE & ABUSE - a running tally you need to know about.
There is still a lot of data to pour through, but this is what has been found so far.
Pending... Many of our board members are still under investigation to determine if they worked the required 1,000 hours to qualify for their pensions all while receiving salaries and full-time health insurance benefits for part-time service. Some are having trouble proving they worked 100 hours while others take a 3 -month holiday despite rules to the contrary.
Yvonne Barnes served on the Finance Committee and watched while the Valley Hi surplus grew and did nothing. At the same time, she voted for a $5,000 raise for herself and even fought against legal advice from our own State's Attorney to keep it. http://www.potterforthepeople.com/the-case-against-yvonne-m-barnes-part-1/
$130,000 for a single meeting
Board members were not convinced after nearly 10 years of data, independent studies and countless hours of research so they commissioned a company to bring in drones. That's right - done cameras were somehow the missing piece they needed to finally make a determination on the Randall Road project. The results? Many of the same board members who had voted "no" before voted "no" after and the entire project was kicked back to committee - again. (FOIA 2016)
Open Meetings Violation Settlement
$25,000 settlement for violation of the Open Meetings Act ...and counting as they continue to violate the terms of their settlement and risk costing us more in repeated fines and court costs. (April 2016) Each of them have received extensive training on how to avoid this issue, but when a wealthy donor came calling, our laws just didn't seem to matter. It cost of $25,000 to pay for their error.
$3 Million Bait & Switch
The county board voted in November to strip $3,000,000 from the Valley Hi nursing home budget. From 2013 - 2015, this money was collected under the levy and then applied to the pension fund for board members. Then they got nervous- an election year was coming so they moved to stop collecting the levy altogether. One board member lauded this move as "...a tax cut for the community". Hardly.
Note that Valley Hi, our only nursing home serving disabled vets and indigent seniors, was cited by Moody's as a key factor in granting McHenry County a coveted 'AAA' bond rating. This is the highest bond rating a municipality can earn and helps save us money and attract investors. (Nov 2015)
$75K legal settlement
$75,000 wrongful termination settlement for the State's Attorney's Office for terminating an assistant attorney who was called as a witness to testify in a case against Mr. Bianchi, our elected State's Attorney. (Aug 2016)
5-Hour+ Committee Meetings?
A meeting that lasts five hours is unacceptable when it is meant to include public participation. Besides being inefficient, it excludes those in our community who try to commit to a weekday meeting. No one should be expected to wait for hours just to be heard by their elected representatives. Local villages can live stream and webcast their meetings for pennies per minute, yet we can't even get more than an audio recording from our county board. Technology allows for live streaming from across the globe, but our board is worried about too much detail being added to meeting minutes. Is this transparency and inclusive intent to you?
IMRF Pension Fund Lawsuit
Anyone who works in the private sector knows - billable hours must be tracked and verified. I can't imagine sending my client a bill with no evidence of hours worked and a summary of tasks. This is exactly what our board members have done, insisting that no one told them otherwise. This is fraud and a demonstrated lack of transparency at our expense.
The lawsuit has since been dismissed, but the fact remains - if they mean to serve the public in a part-time role, why are they intent on lining their own pockets rather than doing the right thing?
Many of our board members are into grandiose, hollow gestures at our expense. Take, for example, their non-binding resolution to end pension benefits for board members. First, it was a non-binding ceremonial resolution. Second, it ended the benefit for NEW board members only. Third, they missed the deadline to even file such a motion because they don't research state law. All of this was done to create sensational headlines and give the appearance that now - NOW - they hear you and will do something productive.
Raising Property Taxes through TIFs
For people who say they will lower your taxes, they sure are going in the wrong direction. Our board members laud the TIF programs as a way to, "Attract new business to the area". Did you know YOU are footing the bill for this? For example, my property tax on a 2,500 sq ft home is about $7,000k annually while Sage Products pays a fraction of that for their facility because of a property tax break. This means employees who work there are actually making less as part of their earnings are paying for the property taxes this company isn't paying. There are TIF districts everywhere across the county - handouts- that ensure your property taxes will remain higher than they really should be.
Lack of Transparency
The board is notorious for taking longer than 60, 90, 120 days to approve meeting minutes. In some cases, it can be more than 6 months for minutes to be posted. They have also openly admonished the transcriptionist to eliminate some of the discussion detail from her notes. Add to that the county's own site is hard to navigate and topic searches are flawed at best. This is not at all how government is supposed to operate.
- Hear Kerri on Ray Flavin’s podcast, “So There’s That” talking about Valley Hi and other issues that matter.
Download the official campaign flyer here: Campaign flyer Kerri Barber