Submitted by Janice Schnobrich
A full slate of eight candidates of the “Shields Township Active Reform Team” (“START”) party filed Wed., Dec. 19 to run for the Shields Township offices in the April 9th election. These offices include supervisor, assessor, highway commissioner, clerk, and four trustee positions.
The slate includes two incumbents – Trustee Laura Carney running for re-election and Trustee Scott Anderson for Highway Commissioner – and six first-time candidates for Shields Township office.
“We are a mostly new group of candidates, but we want to carry on the work of reforming Shields Township government accomplished by the current trustees and protect the gains they have made in reducing the Township’s property tax and sharply cutting salaries and benefits of the elected officials,” said supervisor candidate Cynthia Maloney.
“Knowledgeable observers rightly question whether township government needs to exist and suggest that its few mandated responsibilities could be more efficiently handled by other units of government,” she added. “Rather than looking for new ways to justify township government’s existence, we will be offering ideas as to how the services that state law does require townships to provide can be handled more efficiently for those who need them.”
The current Shields Township Board has reduced the Township’s general fund property tax by about 40 percent. In addition, the Board majority, including Trustees Anderson and Carney, recently cut the salaries of the supervisor’s and assessor’s positions by $40,000 and $33,000, respectively, from $70,000 to $30,000 for the supervisor and from $83,000 to $50,000 for the assessor. They also eliminated the health insurance coverage for these positions and made it clear that they should be part-time, below the hourly threshold to qualify for pensions. The highway commissioner’s salary was reduced from $52,000 to $30,000, the clerk’s from $14,000 to $6,000, and the $2,400 salary for trustees was eliminated.
“These are substantial reforms that would not have been achieved without the success of the START reform candidates in the election four years ago,” said current trustee Scott Anderson, candidate for highway commissioner. “No other unit of local government has taken these steps. Reducing unnecessary spending and cutting salaries of the top elected officials of even one of the smallest units of government has not been easy, given the strong objections from the supervisor and assessor,” he observed. “We will be asking the voters to make sure these reforms are permanent and to allow us to build on them.”
The full Shields Township Active Reform Team (START) party slate includes the following eight candidates:
•Cynthia Maloney, Supervisor: Cynthia has lived in Lake Forest over 15 years with her family. She is a realtor and long-time advocate of commonsense government reforms as a former president of the Lake Forest-Lake Bluff League of Women Voters and board member of the Illinois League of Women Voters.
•Kathy Blahunka, Assessor: Kathy lives with her family in Lake Bluff where she was raised. A Certified Illinois Assessing Officer, Kathy is the Director of drug development computer systems with Takeda Pharmaceutical, holds a doctorate in clinical pharmacy, and is the current president of the Lake Bluff School Caucus.
•Scott Anderson, Highway Commissioner: Scott lives in Lake Forest and is a current Shields Township Trustee. He is a Lake Forest native and a civil engineer with deep experience working on highway maintenance and related drainage issues. He is a member of a fifth generation Lake Forest family and family civil engineering firm, James Anderson Company, which constructed some of the first buildings in downtown Lake Forest.
•Lanelle Collins, Clerk: Lanelle resides with her family in North Chicago where she was raised and where she has been deeply involved in community affairs. She is an assistant principal of the Round Lake Middle School and a former member of the North Chicago School Board.
•Bill Brown, Trustee: Bill resides with his wife in Lake Forest where he was raised. Working in the government affairs field, Bill has a long history of governmental and civic involvement and currently serves on the Lake Forest Caucus.
•Laura Carney, Trustee: Laura, a current Shields Township trustee, has lived in Lake Bluff for 20 years with her husband, a Lake Forest native, and family. She is an attorney now fully engaged in volunteer community work, including as a leader of the “I Have A Dream” college-bound opportunity project for North Chicago students, and with assisting with her children’s activities.
•Patrick Corsiglia, Trustee: Patrick and his wife have lived in Lake Forest for 25 years. His investment firm of Farragut Investments focuses on real estate. He otherwise has a busy time keeping up with the hockey playing schedules of their three children, ages 10-15.
•Gerry Phillips, Trustee: A financial advisor, Vietnam veteran, and long-time community volunteer, Gerry lives with his family in Knollwood and previously in Lake Bluff where he has served on both volunteer fire departments. His other great extracurricular love for many years has been the Lake Bluff Baseball Association, which he currently heads as the “commissioner.”
“We are very fortunate to have such experienced and committed candidates willing to run together for these offices with a common purpose,” said supervisor candidate, Cynthia Maloney. “I am also pleased that we are able to offer representation from all parts of our diverse township – Lake Forest, Lake Bluff, North Chicago, and Knollwood. Our Shields Township Reform Team candidates look forward to campaigning together as we seek both to protect and further the gains that the current majority of trustees has made,” Maloney concluded.