Dorr hopes to help fight for taxpayers, transparency as Naperville trustee
Kurt Dorr never thought he would run for public office, but the Naperville Township trustee candidate feels this is the right time for him to advocate for township residents at a greater capacity than he has in the past.
“The reason now is because I really want to support the current supervisor, Rachel Ossyra, in her effort to consolidate, for instance, the road districts,” Dorr told the Will County Gazette.
Ossyra, who has been in office for four years, has faced plenty of opposition from fellow officials, according to Dorr. But with the help of Kevin Coyne, a member of the Naperville City Council, Ossyra was finally able to get a binding referendum on the ballot in April to combine Naperville Township and Lisle Township road districts into one.
“(That) makes complete sense to me,” Dorr said.
A very small portion of Naperville has centerline road -- 14.8 miles -- and it costs the township $120,000-plus a year, per mile, to maintain those 14.8 miles, he said.
The initial proposal to consolidate the road districts faced a lot of resistance, Dorr added.
“Bottom line is that there are a lot of what I call ‘insider people’ (who) want to maintain the status quo for their own benefit,” he said. “And that is very offensive to me especially when you have a non-binding referendum on the ballot (last November) that says 90 percent of the voters in the township want this consolidation to go through.”
Something is very wrong when the very people who elect public officials into positions are ignored, Dorr continued.
“The only reason I can come up with is that they want to operate that for their own personal benefit -- and that’s just wrong,” he said. “I think that if you are an elected official you must do what the voters want you to do as long as it’s legal or morally ethical. And this is.”
Dorr said he became involved in township governance six or seven years ago, when he found out that the supervisor and trustees at the time approved a 50 percent salary increase for the supervisor so he could boost his pension. The tradeoff for the trustees was that the township would pay 90 percent of their health care costs. Three trustees signed up for the insurance at the time.
“I did some FOIA [Freedom of Information Act] requests and found out that over a four-year period, Naperville Township had spent $200,000 on three trustees for health insurance and IMRF [Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund] benefits,” Dorr said. “You’re supposed to work 1,000 hours a year to qualify for IMRF benefits, and there is no way in a trustee role that you work that many hours in a township. It’s just physically impossible.”
Dorr began attending township meetings and voiced his disapproval of the benefit. He also got the Daily Herald involved. The paper reported several stories on the issue. Officials finally caved and got rid of the benefit.
Though he never intended to run for public office, Dorr wants to support transparency in the township -- something he believes Ossyra has encouraged since becoming supervisor.
“I grew up in Iowa and we just operate differently over there,” Dorr said. “Everybody’s open and people are not in it for personal gain, by and large. Obviously, I can’t say everybody in politics in Iowa is that way, but it’s just a whole different animal.”
Dorr and his wife moved to Naperville in 1995. He runs an agricultural operation in Iowa with his brother. They also run a financial services company along with one other partner. According to Dorr, voters can rely on him to prioritize their interests ahead of his own because of his track record of stopping the abuse of health care benefits and IMRF benefits.
“I think I have proven myself as a watchdog and I want to continue as a watchdog in that role,” he said.