Clerk hopeful says where there's a Will County, there's a way
Laurie McPhillips says other legislators across the cash-strapped state would be wise to invest some time and effort in learning to do things the Will County way.
The Will County Forest Preserve District now stands as one of the few forest preserves in the state still operating in the black. What’s more, all of the county's municipal retirement funds have been paid or are close to it.
“Here the board plain and simply holds the line on tax rates, and everyone lives within their means,” McPhillips told the Will County Gazette. “It’s about setting strong, sensible policies and being willing to adhere to them.”
McPhillips has served on the Will County Board and is now a volunteer member of the Nature Foundation, which raises money for forest preserve special projects.
The 50-year-old McPhillips, who recently launched her campaign for Will County clerk to replace the retiring Nancy Schultz Voots, also has more than 25 years of experience in county government, where her responsibilities have often included working to implement, balance and negotiate budgets.
“I’ve been fortunate to work under some really great and fiscally responsible people, like County Director of Operations Joe Mikan and Executive Committee Chairman on Finance Mary Ann Gearhart," she said. "They really helped me in developing the budget skills I now bring to the table."
More than anything, McPhillips says the Will County way encompasses a commitment to prioritizing and a vow to never spend more than you bring in.
“All the various department heads do a great job of adhering to this,” she said. “These are the policies I would bring with me to the clerk’s office. We looked at how much we had to spend, and that was it. Sometimes you can’t get everything you want when you want it; sometimes you may not be able to get that Cadillac, but you come to realize that the Honda Accord will get the job done.”
McPhillips said she would bring her experience and skills to the clerk’s office.
“The fiscally responsible approach is one we all know really works if you’re willing to stick with it,” she said. “The tougher times are when you really have to hold firm. The whole goal is to not have to inflict more taxes on people, and I think current Will County Board President Jim Moustis does an excellent job of being totally committed to that.”