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Meet the candidates of District 1

Published: Tuesday, March 4, 2014 9:37 p.m. CST

Editor’s Note – The Morris Daily Herald will feature Q & A’s with all four candidates running in the Grundy County Board District 1 Republican primary election. Today, we look at incumbents Millie Dyer and John Almer. 

MORRIS – Four candidates will face off in this year’s Grundy County Board District 1 Republican primary election. The candidates include two incumbents, Millie Dyer and John Almer, and two newcomers, Don Neushwander Jr. and Elton Monson. The four candidates are competing for three seats on the Grundy County Board.

Millie Dyer

Before joining the board in 2002, Dyer taught kindergarten through second grades for 20 years at Garfield School in Morris. She has has served on a majority of the county committees and recently received her county official certification through the Illinois Association of County Officials.

What made you want to run for county board originally?

“Well, I had retired from teaching in 2001. I felt like I had a lot of spare time and had an interest in getting involved. I figured the county board would be a great stepping off place.”

What are some issues you feel the county board needs to address and how should they be addressed?

“Money. I feel like the finance committee is doing a good job with the limited funds there are available at this point. I really feel like the board is working well and everyone is working together well to make smart decisions. With the committees, everyone has input.”

How do you think your experience on the county board and your other professional experience have prepared you?

“I have leadership experience. I listen. I’m willing to participate and I feel like the opinions I have are worth saying.”

“For several years, up until two years ago, I was also the zone four president which is from Rock Island over to the Indiana line, and up north. All of the counties in that area make up zone four. That way, I saw a whole smattering of what was happening in other counties too.”

In your opinion, what should the county improve upon in the next few years?

“I would like to see all county board people take their positions seriously. I think we could possibly have a little better attendance at the committee meetings, and even at the board meetings.”

You are currently on the Grundy County Personnel Committee. There has a lot of employee turnover in the past few years, especially in administrative positions. What do you think the county should do to ensure stable employment?

“I think people need to have understanding with one another. Issues need to be talked about and tempers need to be watched. I think some of the former administrators and human resource people came in with their own agendas and didn’t understand what the county board needed.”

“But I would say right now, everything is running very smoothly. Finally, it seems like we’ve got a team that gels well together.”

John Almer

John Almer has worked as a public servant for Grundy County for more than 40 years. Before joining the board in 2001, he worked as the the Saratoga Township Supervisor and Auditor/Trustee for more than 20 years. He also worked at ComEd for several years and is involved in several local veteran organizations.

What made you want to run for county board originally?

“I was asked by the [Grundy County] central committee if I would consider running. I was Saratoga Township supervisor at the time and had been for about 20 years. I thought it would be interesting to just try for the county board and was fortunate enough to get elected.”

How do you think your experience on the county board and your other professional experience have prepared you?

“I’ve been part of a township government so I bring those experiences and an understanding of what goes on at that level, to the county. I think since I’ve lived in Grundy County since 1969, I have a good sense of the county and I certainly have an interest in Grundy County. I think it’s a tremendous place to live.”

In your opinion, what should the county improve upon in the next few years?

“I think one thing we need to continue to do is work closely with the [Grundy Economic Development Council]. The GEDC does a tremendous amount of work for the county by bringing in businesses and industry to the area.”

“When you talk about industry though, one thing that puts us behind the eight ball is the machinery and equipment tax. It would be very nice to eliminate that.”

What is your relationship with your constituents in District 1?

“It’s really good. I think we have an excellent relationship. Every once in a while I’ll get a phone call saying, ‘Why did you do that?’ or ‘Why did you vote that way?’ Typically, I just explain things to them and maybe they don’t agree with me or understand why I did what I did, but that’s really rare.”

You currently serve on the finance committee. Currently, the county’s budget is facing uncertainty due to a potential loss of $1.8 million in revenue from certain sales tax strategies. How do you think the county should financially prepare for this loss?

“The county has done a lot right now. I think we are still in the process of determining exactly what all of this means and wrapping our arms around the issue.”

“What we need to do, particularly with the point of sale issue, is have a long-term plan in place. This is something you don’t want to sit around and wait for the hammer to fall.”

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