City Council Candidate
Campaign Website: PurduskiforNaperville.com
Slogan: Working Hard for You!
Circle one: Employed, Unemployed or Retired?
If employed, where? Self-employed – SMP Consulting, Inc.
How long have you lived in Naperville? 34 Years
1. What motivated you to run for Naperville City Council?
Two words – civic duty. I have actively participated in issues affecting my immediate neighbors and other areas of Naperville, including pedestrian safety issues, school issues, and development/zoning issues. By being on the Council, I can provide my expertise and experience to ALL of Naperville.
2. If elected to serve your community, will you accept health care benefits from the City of Naperville?
YES NO My wife is an employed healthcare professional, and we have benefits through her. I will not impose any unnecessary costs on Naperville taxpayers.
3. If elected, how much time per week are you willing to give to prepare for City Council meetings, budget workshops and liaison appointments on boards/commissions?
Working as an independent consultant, I have significant control over my time and plan to offer regular, weekly office hours to Naperville citizens that are convenient for them. I plan on spending a minimum of 8 hours a week on Naperville issues, but will spend as much time as necessary.
4. What quality and/or skill set will you bring to a nonpartisan City Council?
My background is engineering and business, with a BS in Electrical and Computer Engineering, an MSE in Computer Engineering, and an MBA. What I offer are over 30 years of project and program management experience, deep understanding of technology and strategy, and leadership developed through my corporate career as a Fortune 100 officer-level Vice President.
5. What do you consider to be the three biggest issues facing the City today?
First, Infrastructure. Our streets are crowded, older sections have water main and sewer issues, and our investment in technologies that will improve the bottom line has lagged. Second, Youth issues, primarily drugs. We must find ways of engaging our youth in productive ways. Finally, overall development, both residential and commercial. With a land-locked city with little space for expansion, our goals must be set appropriately.
6. Do you favor term limits for City Council and other local/state governing bodies? YES NO
An elected official’s term should be decided by the voters that they work for, and not by an artificial limit. There are many examples of elected officials who have held office for many terms and who have provided great service. Rather than term limits, we need to encourage voters to exercise their voting rights.
7. Name one contribution you have made to our city that you think was most significant of your community service to date.
Several years ago, I organized a neighborhood association and hold the leadership role. Our children, as well as commuters, faced a hazardous situation on the West sidewalk on Washington, under the railroad bridge. The protective fence needed to be extended the entire block. Our committee contacted city staff, the transportation commission, and the City Council, and ultimately were successful in the extended fence that is there today.
8. What boards or commissions have you served previously?
Pilgrim Addition Homeowners’’ Association President, NAHC
9. Realistically and fiscally speaking, if you could change/improve one thing in the city, what would it be?
Having had a business that provided services to homeowners in all parts of Naperville, I came to recognize that Naperville is more like a number of smaller adjacent communities than one cohesive city. I would like to see more unity and cohesion in Naperville as a whole, and that starts with a rethinking of our city plan.
10. How do you hope to be perceived by city staff, city manager, other council members and constituents?
- City staff – a Council member who scrutinizes plans and expenses, but who makes fair decisions.
- City Manager – A knowledgeable board member who questions everything for understanding, but gives credit where credit is due.
- Other Council Members – A valued associate who always adds value to the discussion at hand.
- Constituents – A Council member that is accessible, and who will listen to their points and someone they know will do their best to represent them.
11. What business development needs can you identify?
The most obvious need is that the Naperville is overly dependent upon two businesses – Lucent and BP. The loss of OfficeMax was bitter, and we need to attract other major businesses to our city.
12. What can the City of Naperville do better to retain and attract businesses?
We provide the living amenities for their employees, but Naperville needs to provide the proper incentives for business headquarters to locate here. The tools to do this are many, but I personally favor Public/Private partnerships that achieve both parties’ goals, and not at the sole expense of the city.
13. What can the City Council do to help keep real estate and property values in check?
Very simply do their job – question every expense, demand alternatives, look for ways of sharing costs where appropriate with adjacent and/or overlapping governmental bodies to enhance efficiencies, and trim where appropriate. Also, realize that it is not necessary for Naperville to have every amenity that Chicago has.
14. What do you think the City Council could do to help keep Naperville affordable for homeowners of all ages?
Affordable housing is a significant issue in Naperville. In my own neighborhood, through redevelopment, smaller houses have been lost to large expensive ones, and taxes on older homes have risen dramatically. We must get a handle on development in our planning, and insure there is a mix of housing, and not a major shift to high-end housing.
15. What service provided by the City of Naperville do you deem most important? Least important?
It is very difficult to differentiate the importance of Safety and Infrastructure, but I suppose that without Infrastructure (roads, water, sewer, electric) Safety would be a moot point, or difficult at best. Regarding least important service, again, all services provided are important, but some can have private alternatives, such as brush and leaf collection.
16. Are you a member of a service club or nonprofit board of directors that receives SECA funds or other grants from the City of Naperville? YES NO If yes, which one(s)?
17. What city amenity is most important and how do you think it should be funded/raise revenue?
Again, a tough question, as we have so many wonderful amenities, but if there is one that comes to mind when I think of Naperville, and that I have had more comments on from people outside of Naperville, it is the Riverwalk and associated amenities. I think having a public/private partnership is appropriate, as it is such a draw for Naperville, but it would be good to figure out some way for the Riverwalk to directly generate more of its own funding and more actively seek donations.
18. How would you qualify Special Events and Cultural Amenities (SECA) applicants for funding?
I have studied the SECA manual, minutes from the Advisory Cultural Commission, and reviewed the SECA funding for FY15. I have to say that this is a thorough process. I would continue to use this process as set, but make sure that the City Council is thoroughly briefed on the awards and in particular, event final reports.
19. What is your opinion of the bidding and letting process at the City of Naperville?
The bidding process seems to provide visibility and accountability, and the method of notice seems to be fair. One this I would look at is the cut-off amount for purchases that must be bid, to ensure that it is set at an appropriate level.
20. In addition to employee salaries and public safety, place in order of importance to you 12 assets and public/private partnerships that currently receive funding from the City of Naperville.
1. Information Technology Replacement Fund
3. Ogden Avenue Corridor Plan – A long time in coming.
4. Community Development Block Grant – Helps with affordable housing.
5. Naperville Library
6. Naper Settlement
7. Renewable Energy Grants
8. Naperville-Illinois Clean Energy (NICE)
9. SSA 21/23 – Example of Naperville committed to the downtown area.
10. Burlington Fund – Makes Naperville an attractive home for commuters.
11. Test Track – A great example of a public/private partnership that encourages business development.