Name: Mike O’Connell
Home address: 19756 Tanglewood Drive
Elwood, IL 60421
Phone: 815 263-5480
Web site: www.friendsformikeoc.com
Age: 61 years old. Born on July 13, 1951
Family: Married for over 41 years to Justine (Tina) Jothen
Four children and nine grandchildren (all living in the area)
I also have two brothers and a sister living in Will County
Joliet East High School 1969
Joliet Junior College 1971
BA Augustana College 1973
MA Indiana State University 1978
Vocational endorsement Southern Illinois University
Type 75 Administrative degree Governors State University
Occupation: Retired after 34 years of teaching
Painter’s Local #33 (summers of 1971-76)
Joliet West & Joliet East High School (1974-2006)
Physical Ed., vocational ed. and dean of students
Head boys basketball coach Joliet East, West and JTHS
Political Party: Democrats
Previous elected/appointed offices
- Joliet Junior College Trustee (2009-present)
- Jackson Township Trustee (appointed 2012)
- Former Head of the Jackson Township Planning Commission
- Former Jackson Township Collector
Additional experience that qualifies me for the position
- I served on the Forest Park Community Center Board from 1998-2010. Serving at-risk low income children. This position allowed me make many contacts with local officials
- Serving on the JJC Board has enabled me to work with a multi-million dollar budget, large building projects, tax levies, staff decisions, budget cuts, national search for a president and much more
- Serving for many years as the head of the Jackson Township Planning Commission allowed me to work closely with the Will County Land Use Department on zoning issues
What would my priorities be if elected to office?
- Make sure the tax payers money is spent wisely
- Make common sense decision
- Introduce the idea of forming Energy/Cost Reduction Committee as I did at JJC (might be subcommittee of the finance committee).
What sets me apart from the other candidates?
- I have a proven record at JJC of doing what I say I am going to do (regarding looking out for taxpayers money)
- Voted against the $272,000 parking lot purchase
- Voted against the $51Million building in downtown Joliet
- Voted against the 2010 tax levy
- Voted against the 2011 tuition increase
- Formed a committee that has saved the college over $1.2 Million in yearly expenses
- Being the only candidate that is retired allows me time to reach out to district 6 residents more readily
- With all my life experiences in the area (teacher, coach, various offices held, etc.), plus my family ties has allowed me to have a wide base of people I am familiar with
What can the county do to promote job growth & draw business to Will County?
- With Centerpoint we have a lot of job growth, but we need growth of jobs that a family can live on. Need to pressure these warehouses to offer meaningful jobs.
- Need to work with John Grueling group as well as all the mayors to bring big businesses to Will County with meaningful jobs
Do I believe Cook County is encroaching on Will, and how would you make sure there isn’t a negative influence?
Encroaching? It’s quite obvious that Jesse Jackson, Jr. wants control of the 3rd airport. Bobby Rush being our rep in Elwood is a joke. He doesn’t even know where Elwood is.
What can we do? The legislature boundaries are set for the next ten years (all appeals have been denied). At this point you have to work with all parties involved to make sure our views are heard and addressed. If we are ignored, then an all-out movement has to be made by the voters in Will County to change who is in office (very hard to do with the district set up).
Should it be Will County or a special commission in charge of the proposed airport? Why and how would it work?
Definitely Will County should be in charge of a project this big within its boundaries. I would need more input as to how it would work, but it needs to be in the hands of our county not Chicago politicians
All candidates have lauded the current board…
I would continue to push for with what I generated at JJC with the Energy/Cost Reduction Committee. I truly believe that more fat can be cut from the budget without losing quality or cutting staff. Everything needs to be looked at: Energy savings, procedures, policies, staff usage, etc. As at JJC input from the entire staff is what makes something like this work.
Besides Renewing Will County…
Having been involved with sustainability, “going green” and making sure our buildings are LEED certified at JJC I feel I could look at the Renewing Will County and have some positive input
What ideas do you have for improving the county’s infrastructure and transportation?
Not being on the board and having information of what’s going on at this time, I would have to see what plans in place.
- I will say that living in Jackson Township I have to live with approximately 11,000 trucks a day in and out of here. Plans by the county and neighboring cities must be made to get the majority of these trucks to the highways as efficiently as possible.
In what ways can the county operate more efficiently and improve technology?
As mentioned before (with the Energy/Cost Reduction Comm. At JJC) any agency can make all kinds of moves that can reduce cost. The suggestions usually come from within. At JJC a few of the changes include:
- Four day work week in the summer (shutting down air for three days)
- Motion lights in all offices
- Shutting down all computers at night
- Print solutions-centralized printers, back to back printing, etc.
- All electronic billing
- Reduce travel
- Search for better deal on insurance coverage
- Paperless board packets
*I’m sure Will County has done many of these things, but more can be done.