Saturday, January 10, 2015

John Czerwiec, Candidate for the D181 Board of Education, is "Jay Wick"

Yesterday, "Jay Wick" -- one of our readers who has regularly posted insightful and relevant comments to our blog posts -- submitted two comments.  The first reveals that he is running for the D181 School Board and that his real name is John Czerwiec. The comment explains his blog nickname, reasons why he has chosen to run for the school board and identifies some of the election issues.  His second comment addresses D181 facilities issues. Thank you Mr. Czerwiec for your openness.  We appreciate that you have thrown your hat into the ring, making this a contested election that will allow community members to educate themselves on all issues and all candidates before casting their votes on who should represent the community on the D181 school board.

Below, with Mr. Czerwiec's permission, we have copied as a free standing post the comments he submitted.  

jay_wick said...
I have entered my name for the BOE election.

It pains me a little to oppose any Hinsdale Caucus endorsed candidates as I know what a shoestring budget the Caucus operates on. I have in the past been active in the Hinsdale Caucus (at several levels, including a member of the D181 Nominating Committee, Clarendon Hills Section Head and Executive Board) I cannot abide by their decision to endorse the incumbent. Information has come to light that suggests folks with an agenda that is odds with openness steered the selection toward the incumbent.

The record of the titular head of the BOE has been one of declining performance and increasing costs. Coupled with the lack of transparency this terrible combination does not merit another term.

In the interest of increasing responsiveness, I look forward to seeing as many community members as possible at the candidates night that Dr. White has tentatively scheduled for February 12th. I will soon be setting up my own web site to help people understand the issues. I will continue to post here as well.

I do sympathize with the desire of some folks to remain anonymous on this site. My own "blogger alias" was something I set up long before I started visiting the Parents for Accountability and Transparency site. The nickname is a play on the Anglicization of the my last name, though I can't entirely take credit for it. My grandfather, uncles and father all worked in the family business and in the early days of radio advertising it was decided that Czerwiec was a fine surname but "if you need lumber or building materials just say "Sir-Wick" had more of ring and that has sorta stuck.

With my son and daughter both already at CHMS I running as much for the many neighbors that might not yet have kids in school or those whose kids have moved on, not to mention the many residents that choose to send to their children to private schools -- the financial challenges that the district is facing must be met head on to preserve the the desirability of all towns served by D181 as well as ensure a sound and sustainable future for not just those living with no limits to their largesse but those like my own mother, retired property owners with a very modest fixed retirement income.

I served several terms on the Finance Committee of Notre Dame Parish in Clarendon Hills where we faced many challenges include ongoing leaks with new construction. Only by working with staff and contractors were we able to get these problems addressed in an equitable way. Similarly the "little things" often made the difference between a budget that stayed on track or one that would force cuts. The hard work of dedicated volunteers with expertise in accounting and finance was vital to modernizing our record keeping and managing the unpredictable inflows we faced.

I have similarly seen the value of volunteers when I served on the Home Rule Exploratory Committee. Although we learned much about how Illinois law might afford some flexibility to smaller towns, the ideologues capitalized on baseless fears.

The interesting thing about Home Rule is when I lived in Oak Brook and rose to the Presidency of the Civic Association I was skeptical about the potential benefits of Home Rule for the Village. When voters defeated the initiative I worked with the elected Village Board to persuade Springfield to separate out the setting of local sales tax and that has served Oak Brook well. I think this highlights the value of being results oriented and not being overly driven by ideology.

That said anyone that has no core values other their own desire to remain in office will dance to the tune set by kingmakers or powerbrokers that slate folks for higher office have no place on a school board. By maximizing transparency everyone will clearly see the best operation of an elected body and not be snowed by happy talk that obscures real problems.
January 9, 2015 at 1:56 PM
jay_wick said...
I also consider myself a long term community member, having lived in the district for the past 19 years. Prior to that I grew up in Oak Brook and am very familiar with the sorts of renovations that have updated HMS; the Oak Brook Village Hall was built in a similar era and renovations / additions have been performed on it over the years. There is no talk of demolishing that structure.

The fact is none of these problems with freezing sprinklers happened until after the ill-advised decision to use the over-priced services of Chevron Energy Solutions. The whole way that "energy performance contracting" is setup in Illinois is a shameful demonstration of why such efforts at end-runs around normal competitive bidding should be avoided.

When the district contracted with Chevron for the modifications to the HVAC at HMS I immediately called for the BOE to ask for guarantees that the district would actually save money. Chevron was unable to agree to that and has since left the business.

The facts is the HVAC plant and weather-sealing upgrades installed at HMS for some $5M are still nearly new by commercial standards and along with the improvements to the roof, gutters and downspouts completed just this past summer there should be no rush to demolish HMS.

I too look forward to reviewing the facilities report being prepared by the district's consultants. I have little doubt that there will be no support for the the gold-plated $65M option that includes fantasy items long on the list of those that wish to redevelop downtown Hinsdale with a parking garage.
These links might be helpful to jog folk's memory for who might be in favor of such things -- Hinsdale Village Board Minutes 09-16-08 and Hinsdale Village Board Minutes 02-19-08

The BOE under its current titular has simply not made accountability a priority. The same pattern of lackadaisical oversight is evident in too many areas. When folks do not take the time to thoroughly review the suggestions of outside consultants and do not hold staff to high standards there will be substandard work and declining performance.

The district must reject the incumbent and use the April election to restore accountability in D181.


Elm Parent said...

John -- You have my vote! Vote Czerwiec, Burns, Gray and Giltner.

Anonymous said...

We need to come up with a catchy, easy way for the community to remember who to vote for-

B Burns, C Czerwiec, G Gray & Giltner

B, C, G, G

B, C 2G

I know- lame, quick attempt, but you understand. Many community member aren't quite as informed as the visitors of this blog. I think it's very important to have an easy way to remember the "quality" candidates.

We will support you!

Anonymous said...

If he is on the board, I our children will be in good hands.