Rocky’s Corner: Your Questions Answered
Question: Will you benefit financially from being elected Mayor of Naperville?
Answer: No, all I will gain is the satisfaction of serving my community. It is important to note that there is no opportunity for me or my family to gain financially from my becoming mayor.
Question: It has been said you built a facility with 350 truck bay stalls that is 870,000 sq. ft. Is that true?
Answer: No. My facility I helped build has 34 truck bay stalls and 125,000 square feet, which includes an indoor soccer field and futsal court used for youth (futsal is five on five soccer played on an indoor court). We also have a small fueling and convenience facility. My facility is often confused with larger buildings, located elsewhere in the industrial park.
Question: Can you explain the tax break for your facility to move your corporate offices to Joliet?
Answer: When my business outgrew its facility in Alsip Illinois, we started looking for open land for a new one. With a projected savings of $800,000 per year, we could have easily moved to Indiana with its lower taxes and workers compensation costs, but wanted to stay in Illinois and keep the people who helped build our company. We settled on vacant land in Joliet, in the Laraway Crossings industrial park
We requested and received a five-year real estate tax abatement of 50% on the new building only. This resulted in the city, county and school districts seeing an immediate 100% increase over what the vacant property had been generating, and will ultimately result in these bodies receiving 400% more annually. Example: H.S.D. 204 – land only, $32,000; with new building at 50%, $66,000; after five years $131,000. In addition, we recently built a service/convenience center on the property and received no concessions.
While Naperville has not offered these exact kind of incentives Cadence received, it does have a practice of offering financial incentives in the form of sales and hotel tax rebates to encourage development. If used wisely, they are appropriate. For example, several years ago Naperville gave Walmart a sales tax rebate for a limited time to keep them from moving across Route 59 to Aurora. There was a short term cost, but in the big picture, we kept those tax dollars in Naperville, when they easily could have gone across the street to Aurora.
Question: I see that certain people or political groups that I disagree with are endorsing you. Do you support them? Why should I support you?
Answer: I hope you will vote for me after you get to know me and understand my values and positions on issues. One of the great things about Naperville municipal elections is they are non-partisan. The candidates are not bound by party affiliations or platforms – neither are the voters. I believe a mayor must represent all the residents of Naperville, and I will. I welcome the support of all people of good will, knowing that Naperville residents have a wide range of beliefs that must be respected. I am committed to bringing different views to the table and continue Naperville’s great tradition of non-partisan leadership.
Question: I hear that your company settled a class action lawsuit about non-payment of wages, what is that about?
Answer: Some former employees of a company I am now affiliated with brought a wage claim against that company for prior wage practices. The wage payment practices in question occurred before I was on board. We settled the claim in order to make amends to those individuals. One of my first actions was to professionalize the organization. Cadence is now an award-winning transportation company and a great place to work. Take a look at this video for more insights into how we run our business.
Question: We moved our family here to Naperville 15 years ago because it was a beautiful city, but now we see small businesses leaving, what are you going to do to keep our downtown vibrant with those small stores?
Answer: Naperville is still a beautiful city and a great place to live. As mayor I will work with our local businesses, chamber of commerce and development group to make sure that we support our local businesses and keep a good mix of great restaurants, attractive national brands, and Naperville owners. At the same time, each of us has to “shop local” to keep our local businesses strong.
Question: You have said that you will not take contributions from developers, and yet I hear that you have done business with Ryan Companies, the potential developer for the 5th Ave redevelopment project. How will you handle what could be perceived as a conflict of interest?
Answer: As I have stated publicly, I will not take campaign contributions from development companies or their principals. This includes Ryan Companies. As to 5th Ave., I believe the process that selected Ryan Companies was flawed and, if elected, I support the project going out to bid, once we as a community decide on the scope of the project. To remove even the slightest question of conflict of interest, should Ryan be chosen as developer, I would recuse myself from any votes regarding their contract.
It is important to note that there is zero opportunity for me or my family to financially gain from my becoming mayor. I run a logistics business. There is simply no way for developers or Naperville business interests to influence me with the prospect of doing business with my company or me.
Question: What experience do you have in running a big city? Have you sat on commissions or the city council?
Answer: I have experience in a variety of leadership and service positions that are easily adaptable to local government. I serve on the board of numerous business and charitable organizations running meetings and leading negotiations with officials at the county, state and federal levels. All of these experiences will easily translate to City of Naperville service.
Naperville has a Council-Manager form of government. Day-to-day operations are overseen by the city manager. The mayor presides at council meetings and has some other legal roles (like Liquor Commissioner), but the structure of Naperville government is that the council and mayor work together, and work with the city staff to serve the people of Naperville. I think the city has drifted from this. I will work with the council and for the people of Naperville.
Question: I heard that the current mayor has over $100,000 in his campaign fund, how can you compete with that?
Answer: I believe one of the problems with the city is large amounts of money from business and development interests exerting undue influence on the direction of the city. While I will raise sufficient funds to get my message out, I am more interested in running a grassroots campaign; reaching out to the voters themselves. I am listening to the resident’s concerns, and people are telling me we have to get Naperville back on track as a community that values resident input and puts quality of life before profit. I promise to do just that.