In this article, we will discuss the debate that took place on August 14, 2014, between the candidates running for Tazewell County Clerk. The debate aimed to shed light on the strengths and weaknesses of each candidate, and their plans for improving the county clerk’s office. This article will provide an overview of the key points discussed during the debate, including the importance of transparency, the need for strategic planning, and the issues surrounding the tax extension process.
1. Importance of Transparency
One of the main themes of the debate was the importance of transparency in government. The candidates discussed the need for the Tazewell County Clerk’s office to be more transparent and accountable to the public. The current clerk, John Ackerman, highlighted the fact that the county had received a low score of 46 out of 100 for transparency, ranking 23rd in the state of Illinois. He emphasized the need to improve this score and outlined his strategic plan for achieving greater transparency.
2. Strategic Planning for Growth and Improvement
Another significant topic discussed during the debate was the need for strategic planning in the county clerk’s office. Ackerman stressed that while private businesses constantly develop strategic plans to grow and improve their operations, government agencies often lag behind. He shared his experience of implementing a strategic plan for the county board and encouraged other department heads to do the same. He pointed out that his opponent’s strategic plan was lacking in several crucial areas, such as improving transparency and the tax extension process.
3. Issues with the Tax Extension Process
The candidates also addressed the issues surrounding the tax extension process in Tazewell County. Ackerman highlighted the cost and risks associated with the mistakes made by the county clerk’s office in the past. He proposed several solutions to fix these problems and reduce the chances of future errors. He emphasized the need to improve the county’s ranking, which was currently at 46 out of 100, by implementing his strategic plan.
4. Improving the Elections Division
Both candidates agreed that there was room for improvement in the elections division of the county clerk’s office. While the current clerk claimed that the office was accurate in reporting election results, he acknowledged that there were delays in releasing the results in a timely manner. Ackerman pointed out that this issue had been reported by various news outlets and argued that it needed to be addressed in the strategic plans of the office. He promised to bring forth resolutions to fix the problem.
5. Staffing and Budget Considerations
The candidates also discussed staffing and budget considerations for the county clerk’s office. Ackerman claimed that the office had a staff of 16 that managed various responsibilities, such as running elections, maintaining birth and death records, and handling taxes. He argued that the office needed to utilize its staff efficiently and potentially consider increasing the budget to provide better services to the community. On the other hand, his opponent emphasized the importance of being frugal and highlighted the fact that the county had a lower tax rate compared to other counties in Illinois.
In conclusion, the debate between the candidates running for Tazewell County Clerk shed light on several critical issues surrounding the office. Both candidates, John Ackerman and his opponent, expressed the need for greater transparency, strategic planning, and improvements in the tax extension process and elections division. Ackerman, the incumbent clerk, presented his strategic plan and emphasized the importance of accountability and transparency in government. His opponent highlighted the efficiency of the current staff and the importance of being frugal. In the end, it will be up to the voters of Tazewell County to decide which candidate has the best plan for improving the county clerk’s office.