Election 2013: Kevin R. Burns — 'Together, We Have Created a Stronger City'
The incumbent says reasons to vote for him are "continuity of demonstrated leadership and the spirit of teamwork with the Geneva City Council, professional staff, appointed officials and volunteers." He faces Robert (Bob) McQuillan in the April 9 election
KEVIN R. BURNS — CANDIDATE FOR GENEVA MAYOR
Your Name: Kevin Ryan Burns
Position Sought: Mayor
Campaign Contact Information:
Your Home Address: 1630 Kaneville Road
Family Members: Three daughters: Emma (23), Grace (20), Florence (19)
Education: Bachelor of Arts Degree, Augustana College
Current Occupation and Employer: Development (fundraising) Professional, Non Profit Industry
Political Party Affiliation: Independent/Non-Partisan
Why Are You Seeking Office?
My desire to continue serving as Geneva's mayor is rooted in my belief that public service is an opportunity to re-invest in the community that has provided me and my family with so much. During my tenure as mayor, I have worked with dedicated staff, volunteers and business owners to ensure that our community continues to thrive, evolve and mature in a responsible and strategic manner. I am committed to providing the stewardship necessary to make Geneva's tomorrows as bright as today.
What will be your single most important priority if you get elected?
The single most important priority has been, is and will always be to allocate resources in a responsible manner to ensure that services that our citizens and businesses rely on are delivered efficiently and effectively and to invest resources for the long-term health and well-being of our community.
What sets you apart from the other candidate?
The experience of getting things done for the benefit of all residents and businesses that call Geneva home and the skills needed to facilitate collaboration among differing constituencies to reach consensus. Together, we have created a stronger city in terms of finances, economic development, cultural attractions/events, business climate, social opportunities and an environment where the past is honored and the future is embraced.
Issue 1: What will you do to enhance economic development in Geneva?
I will continue to work with our professional staff, Chamber of Commerce, business leaders (independent, regional and national) to build upon the already impressive record of expanding economic development and employment. In the last 10 years alone, more than 1,200,000 square feet of new commercial and industrial square feet have been developed with more opportunities on the horizon. In addition, I will work to ensure our city's infrastructure is managed and maintained to accommodate growth and sustainability.
Issue 2: What will you do to hold the line on property tax increases?
Work along side the City Council, professional staff and citizens and business owners to manage the resources available to us in a responsible way that meets short-term and long-term needs. In addition, participate actively in long-range planning so that the city is prepared to leverage opportunities that arise to help lessen the tax burden on homeowners.
Issue 3: How will you use technology to improve city government?
While in office, Geneva has already embraced technology to make our operations more transparent, streamlined, navigable and understandable. Moreover, we have enhanced communication efforts through email, text alerts, Twitter, emergency phone alerts and the enhancement of our website (which is ongoing).
If you could take back any action of the past four years, what would it be?
None. My job as mayor is to facilitate discussion among and between citizens, businesses and elected officials (at the City Council meetings). Any and all decisions reached are fully vetted through such processes and I honor those decisions by working with the city's professional staff to carry them out as best I/we can.
Do you think marital status has anything to do with a mayor's ability to lead?
Who are your three top campaign contributors and how much did they donate to your campaign?
What is your top accomplishment of the past four years?
Creating an environment at City Hall during public meetings whereby everyone who wishes to express his/her opinions are encouraged to do so. In addition, fostering a culture among the city's professional staff whereby their work is appreciated, recognized and valued.
Describe your leadership style and how it will apply to your term in office.
Collaborative and consistent. I practice seeking a variety of opinions on issues so to be better informed about the different perspectives that exist in the community.
Do you think there should be term limits for the position of mayor? Why or why not?
No. The ballot box is the most efficient and effective arbiter of such decisions.
What have you done to support or enhance historic preservation in Geneva?
I have had the pleasure of serving on the Historic Preservation Committee and respect the challenges and opportunities that come with such service. As mayor, I have appointed committee members who are steeped in the skills necessary to render sound opinions on preservation matters (architects, real estate professionals, etc.) and I have been deliberately non-intrusive in the committee's deliberations and decisions.
Do you think longtime residence in a community is an asset for a mayor of Geneva?
No. The amount of years someone lives in a community is not as important as the amount of "sweat equity" he/she contributes to the community.
What would worry you most if your opponent were elected?
I worry that the city of Geneva would lose the continuity of demonstrated leadership and the spirit of teamwork with the City Council, professional staff, appointed officials and volunteers. Moreover, I worry that the culture of mutual respect and appreciation between staff and the mayor's office risks being injured as well as the solid relationships with leaders from the School District, Park District and Library District.
What do you think are the top three challenges facing Geneva today?
- Managing resources to address short-term and long-term needs.
- Preventing the Illinois Legislature from "pick-pocketing" our resources to solve their financial mess.
- Maintaining tens-of-millions of dollars of infrastructure that serves as the backbone of our physical community.
If elected, how would you address those top three challenges?
Continue to work with the City Council, professional staff, citizens and businesses to develop balanced budgets that allocate resources in an effective and efficient way. To continue lending my voice to the debate in Springfield by educating our legislators of municipal government needs and, lastly, to invest in the improvements of our infrastructure (electric, water, waste water, roads, etc.) through allocation of current resources and seeking state and federal grants.
Please add any other information pertinent to your campaign.