BACKGROUND

Candidate’s name:  R. Cary Capparelli

Candidate for:  Metropolitan Water Reclamation District

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/groups/247782418714303/?pnref=lhc

Website: rcarycapparelli.com

What do you consider to be the major issue(s) as it pertains to the office you are seeking facing Cook County?

Safe water management is the single most important responsibility of the MWRDGC Commissioners. Safeguarding our entire water supply is imperative because water is the lifeline of our society. This means both the fresh ‘new’ water, we use and the sludge, the ‘old’ water, we discard by regular citizens, industry and agriculture. And safe water management must be compatible and work in tandem with lakefront, riverfront and canal development to achieve environmental and economic harmony. However, there are a multitude of components to protecting our water. Three important initiatives I would focus on as Commissioner would be: 1) to maintain a high quality of water supply to the public by constant research and development of new and better standards, 2) to bring about greater fiscal accountability to curb overspending and watchdog the procurement process, without hindering its environmental responsibilities to create a more cost-effective governmental agency, and 3) to finally solve the flooding issues that have burden much of our suburban areas.

What will your number one priority be, if you are elected?

The MWRDGC Board of Commissioners has been controlled by ‘insider’ single party domination for over forty years. This kind of 'monopoly' has created an atmosphere not conducive to good government. This comfortableness has caused mismanagement of tax money expenditures; particularly budget overruns, the under-reported Spire fiasco, and major bidding processes favoring politically connected. There is an immediate need and opportunity in this election to elect qualified candidates that can create a better balance of government and be fiscally responsible.  


What avenues do you see to reduce government spending and waste?

There needs to be a thorough examination into where waste exists and how any MWRDGC operation became waste. Waste is often complicated by different levels of corruption so that needs to be addressed. As I am not privy to the exact financial condition of the MWRDGC, I am not in the position to give a complete authoritative answer. The general consensus, based largely on the face of its present Board, is the District is in relatively good financial condition.  However, there are enough ‘holes’ to challenge that opinion. Two examples are the Deep Tunnel over-runs and the Spire affair.

Please, briefly describe your background and qualifications for the office you are seeking.

It is noted that the Board consists of lawyers, engineers, and professional politicians, but no geographers. Geography is the most relevant subject matter to the MWRDGC. Presently, I am completing a PhD in Geography and Environmental Studies at the University of London, and I hold a M.A. in Geography and Environmental Studies from Northeastern Illinois University as well (I also hold a B.A.J. from Drake University and a M.S.J. from Northwestern University).

Years ago, my public relations company was involved in the planning and implementation of the MWRDGC’s successful Household Hazardous Waste Disposal Day programs.

My ten-year tenure as a Board Member at the Illinois International Port also would provide critical civic experience to the MWRDGC because these two agencies share some common goals. At the Illinois International Port I was a member of its Executive Committee and Chairman of its Homeland Security, Legislative and Marketing committees.

Combined, my education and experience would offer new dimensions presently not offered by its present board or candidates.

Background

Candidate’s name: Joseph Daniel Cook

Twitter: Joecook4mwrd

Facebook: facebook.com/joecook2016

Website: joecook2016.com

 

What do you consider to be the major issue(s) as it pertains to the office you are seeking facing Cook County?

The major issue pertaining to the MWRD are ensuring the health of our water and our waterways, providing effective handling of stormwater and being responsible stewards of taxpayer money.

What will your number one priority be, if you are elected?

My number one priority will be to make sure we address and stay ahead of our aging infrastructure.

What avenues can be taken to streamline and improve the District’s procurement process?

We need to ensure that the District’s procurement process continues to conform to the MWRD’s enable statue.  Adherence to the enabling statute is imperative, especially regarding the procurement process.

What avenues do you see to reduce government spending and waste?

We can reduce spending by continuing and expanding our resource recovery initiatives.  The expansion of these initiatives combined with our goal of becoming energy neutral will help to reduce spending and waste.

Please, briefly describe your background and qualifications for the office you are seeking.

I was born and raised on the Northwest Side of Chicago, and that is where I reside currently with my wife and three young daughters.  Currently, I serve as a Senior Attorney at the MWRD where I have been working for the past 3+ years.  Prior to this, I served as a Cook County Assistant State’s Attorney for almost 7 years.  I also serve as a Captain in the Illinois Air National Guard, I am currently assigned as the Deputy Staff Judge Advocate for the 183d Fighter Wing in Springfield, IL.  I believe I am qualified for the office of Commissioner at the MWRD because I have the knowledge of, and passion for, MWRD going forward.  A lot of candidates speak of service, but my record of services speaks for itself.  My service at the County level, in our United States Military and here at the MWRD is proof that I am dedicated to service of my community and will continue to be as a Commissioner.

BACKGROUND

Candidate’s name: Kevin McDevitt

Candidate for:  Metropolitan Water Reclamation District

Facebook: Friends of Kevin McDevitt

Website:  www.kevinmcdevitt.net

 

What do you consider to be the major issue(s) as it pertains to the office you are seeking facing Cook County?

Keeping Lake Michigan and all of Cook County waterways free from pollution.

Control flooding in the event of major rainstorms.

Prevent invasive species from entering Lake Michigan.

Educate the public of the danger pharmaceuticals cause to our water by flushing them down drains or toilets.

What will your number one priority be, if you are elected?

To be fiscally responsible to the taxpayers of Cook County by treating waste and flood waters in the most efficient and effective ways.

What avenues can be taken to streamline and improve the District’s procurement process?

Although the District has a very good procurement process there is much room for improvement. The process could be streamlined by receiving bids electronically.  This would save time, money and be environmentally friendly. The bid deposit requirements could be reduced or eliminated on smaller contacts.

What avenues do you see to reduce government spending and waste?

Energy neutral wastewater treatment plants can drastically reduce the cost of energy. Water treatment plants have the potential to produce enough energy to not only pay for the cost of operations but to also sale the excess reclaimed energy.

Please, briefly describe your background and qualifications for the office you are seeking.

I was employed by the District for over 25 years. In that time, I gained much knowledge and became very familiar with the processes and policies of the District. I will use my knowledge, and common sense, to bring forth ideas and policies which will benefit the taxpayers of Cook County.

BACKGROUND

Candidate’s name:  Barbara J. McGowan

Candidate for:  Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago

What do you consider to be the major issue(s) as it pertains to the office you are seeking facing Cook County?

The major issue for me as an incumbent Commissioner of the MWRD is to continue our efforts to fund and complete the entire TARP Program which includes the completion of all phases of the McCook Reservoirs to elevate flooding for the citizens of Cook County, and conjunction with these efforts we must continue to fund our Storm Water Management Program where we provide funds to support Cook County municipalities in their efforts to fight flooding in the communities they serve.

We have brought two disinfection facilities in service at our Calumet and O’Brien WRP. The Calumet WRP provides chlorination/de-chlorination and the O’Brien WRP is ready to operate an ultraviolent disinfection process. We will continue with our focus on biological phosphorus removal at our Stickney, Calumet, O’Brien, and Kirie WRPs.

Another major concern for me is to strengthen our Diversity Program to ensure that Minority and Women-Owned businesses have the opportunity to perform work on MWRD construction and professional services contracts, and strengthen our Diversity ordinance to have strong sanctions and penalties against contractors that violate our ordinance.

What will your number one priority be, if you are elected?

Do all that is within our Illinois Statutory and budgetary powers to address and elevate the problem of flooding for the citizens of Cook County.

What avenues can be taken to streamline and improve the District’s procurement process?

We have the best procurement process in government. We are transparent, and our website is open to the public to view the procurement process. We are always looking to improve our procurement process and we have a staff lead committee that is charged to do this in 2016.

What avenues do you see to reduce government spending and waste?

Our goal at the MWRD is to review our annual budgets to identify ways we can reduce our spending and reduce waste. For several years we have reduced our annual budgets through the agency by 10-20%. We the Board of Commissioners are fully aware that the way we lease our land should be reformed to fully benefit the tax payers of Cook County. In 2016 will working closely with the Executive Director to develop this new approach.

Please, briefly describe your background and qualifications for the office you are seeking.

I bring a wealth of experience to the MWRD as an incumbent. I was first elected to a six year in 1998 and was re-elected in 2004 and 2010. I was have served as the Chairman of the Committee on Affirmative Action since I have been a Commissioner and have fought for the opportunity of Minority and Women-owned businesses to work on MWRD construction contracts and will continue this fight when I am re-elected. In January, 2010 I was unanimously voted Vice President of the Board of Commissioners, and I have been elected to this position for each term since. In November, 2012 through January, 2013, and November, 2014 to January 8, 2015, I served as Acting President of the Board of Commissioners. I clearly understand and believe in the mission of the MWRD which is to protect the health and safety of the public in Cook County. I understand the EPA consent decree and have voted to purse its goals and objectives. I have voted on policies to finalize our TARP initiatives to reduce flooding in Cook County; and I understand the importance of funding our Stormwater Management Program so that we can continue to assist local municipalities to alleviate flooding.

 

BACKGROUND

Candidate’s name: Josina Morita

Twitter: josinamorita

Facebook:  josinamorita

Website:  www.friendsofjosina.com

What do you consider to be the major issue(s) as it pertains to the office you are seeking facing Cook County?

Stormwater management is a major issue.  As storms continue to persist, flooding is getting worse and worse across the county and combined sewer backflows are doing damage to our water that cannot be undone.

Invasive species, pharmaceutical disposal and continuing to move in the direction of nutrient recovery are also big issues.

What will your number one priority be, if you are elected?

Stormwater management will be my number one priority.  This issue is important not only for protecting homes and businesses from flooding, but protecting our water sources and environment. 

What avenues can be taken to streamline and improve the District’s procurement process?

MWRDs procurement process should be as transparent and accessible as possible.  Ensuring we have a competitive and responsible bidding process in place.  Working to remove barriers for smaller businesses that want to do business with the district whether through a prime contractor or directly on smaller projects is important.  And continuing to move the process online and ensuring there are measures to help applicants complete the process properly so they are not excluded for technical reasons.

What avenues do you see to reduce government spending and waste?

MWRD is in good financial condition, but it can always be improved.  There was a time when MWRD was spending a lot of money on lawsuits, that has been reduced but can still be improved as they work in partnership with environmental organizations.  MWRD has also moved in the direction of becoming energy neutral as well as its nutrient recovery with its phosphorus removal and bio-gas capture projects.  These will both be revenue sources that can reduce the burden on taxpayers.

Please, briefly describe your background and qualifications for the office you are seeking.

I am an urban planner.  My background is in stormwater management, land use and regional planning.  I also bring a decade of policy experience as the former director of a non-profit organization.  And as a community organizer, I bring a passion for engaging communities, especially the next generation, around water issues.

I would be the first urban planner to serve on this board, and the first Asian American to be elected to a countywide board.


BACKGROUND

Candidate’s name:  Mariyana Spyropoulos

Candidate for: Metropolitan Water Reclamation District

Twitter: @M_Spyropoulos

Facebook: Mariyana Spyropoulos

Website: Mariyana4cleanwater.com

 

What do you consider to be the major issue(s) as it pertains to the office you are seeking facing Cook County?

The major issue facing the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District is the issues of stormwater management.  As weather patterns indicate we will face more intense rain events and 40% of Cook County has a non-permeable surface, the area faces challenges to prevent flooding.  The Deep Tunnel project has helped lessen flooding, but investing in our infrastructure and the use of green infrastructure are necessary to reduce those events.

What will your number one priority be, if you are elected?

My number one priority will be to continue to have the MWRD meet its mission.  Our mission is to protect our water environment.  We are doing that by reducing nutrients that flow into the waterways.  Investing in our infrastructure will also create jobs that help the economy.  Water is an essential resource that we cannot live without.  Although we live next to 20% of the world’s fresh water, we cannot take it for granted.

What avenues can be taken to streamline and improve the District’s procurement process?

The Illinois Purchasing Act covers much of the process by which the District buys goods and services.  However, the Board of Commissioners is an important piece in the process.  The Board reviews all contracts to make sure tax dollars are being used wisely after recommendation by staff.  MWRD is always open to suggestions to improve any of the District’s procedures.

What avenues do you see to reduce government spending and waste?

The Board of Commissioners plays an important role in reviewing all contracts and spending at the MWRD.  Also the District is working on resource recovery to create revenue streams and working towards energy neutrality by 2023 to reduce the District’s costs.  Energy is the highest cost for any treatment facility.

Please, briefly describe your background and qualifications for the office you are seeking.

I won election to the Board in 2010 and have served as Chairman of Finance on the Board for two years and President of the Board since last January.  I am an attorney with a MBA.  I have worked as an Assistant State’s Attorney and Hearing Officer.  I opened my own law office in 2005.  I bring a concern for the environment as well as a business and law background to my service at the District.  I also serve as a trustee on the pension board.  MWRD is one of the few agencies with a AAA bond rating in Illinois as well as having our pension on the right track.