Candidate profile: Kelso ‘Kelly’ Staley

Name: Kelso “Kelly” Staley

Age: 57

Immediate family members: husband David, grown daughter Theresa.

Town: Nameoki Township

Office seeking: Nameoki Township Trustee

Occupation: Owns Gateway Stables since 1990, horse boarding and riding lessons. Also the Horseman’s Bookkeeper at Fairmount Park, been in the Racing Office there since 1999.

Previous and current elected offices and terms served: Pontoon Beach Trustee, 2009 to 2013. Helped with the placement of new leadership for the village, and located the property that has since been turned in to our first community park. Helped bring about more awareness of the hazards of drinking and driving, and how it affects a community. Still working on that one.

Why are you running? There are many visible ongoing problems with the administration of Nameoki Township. Someone needs to closely examine how our money is being spent and how the duties of the township are being carried out. We’ve had recent local natural disasters that displaced many residents, and the response from the present Supervisor and Trustees was less than adequate, both with their possible duties during the crisis as well as with General Assistance Funds disbursements.

What is your view on township government and its role? Township government should serve as positive leadership for the community, and should keep the residents and voters informed of the issues that exist within the township. In turn, they should also listen and be responsive to the needs of the people that live in their jurisdiction, and represent those needs, when necessary, to higher authority. They shouldn’t seek to serve without also dedicating themselves to the task.

If you were writing a job description for the position you’re seeking, what would it say? Honest, trustworthy, politically independent and cooperative communicator with bookkeeping and proof-reading skills. Knowledge of the legal system, area drainage issues and family connections a plus. Ability to stand up to bullying tactics and high pressure by those who would have you compromise your integrity or the law for their agenda a definite requirement, or they will squash you like a bug.

What is the most important issue facing Nameoki Township? How would you approach it? The most important issue facing Nameoki Township is the questionable management practices, characters and actions of the present Supervisor, Assessor, and Trustees. Our General Assistance fund is bloated and ripe for mismanagement, which has already occurred this last term with the cooperation of supervisor and board. First, I would keep them honest and accountable. Next, I would make sure we seek and locate qualifying candidates for the assistance fund when needs arise, and inform those who may qualify how to apply for assistance from the township. Most people just don’t know those funds exist, or how they can qualify. As for the Road Department, the Supervisor and the Highway Commissioner need to work together to garner cooperation from other jurisdictions that also lie within Nameoki Township. There is a hodge-podge of annexations on some streets and we must work together and finance together the improvements needed. Sometimes the streets are broken up from lot to lot between Nameoki Township and Granite City or Pontoon Beach. This makes inter-governmental agreements necessary whenever anything needs to be done, or the law is being broken. If there is no cooperation, there is no action. We have a huge problem with getting other jurisdictions to respond to our requests for their cooperation to benefit the residents in these instances.

Why should people vote for you? I am accessible and very easy to find at my home business. I also have a very good grasp of the issues that we face environmentally because I live by the wetlands and the drainage concerns me and my neighbors every day. People wanting change in Nameoki Township government should vote for me because I have no tolerance for corruption, or for wasting the taxpayers’ money. I’m personally frugal and low-maintenance, with a down to earth agricultural background and a strong sense of right and wrong. My father was an Air Force officer, WWII fighter pilot. I, as a trustee, would not have allowed or voted for some of the expenditures I have seen come out of the Township Building. I’m not connected with the local political machine that has reigned around here for decades. I’ve lived in this area for over 30 years. I’m experienced from my last trustee position where I positively benefited the Village of Pontoon Beach during my term, and I know where to look and what to look for. I am self-employed and live just down the street from the Township Office, so I am able to drop in about any time. I will also make sure that the service and transparency from the township office become what it should be for the taxpayers of Nameoki Township — a source of pride for our residents, rather than the embarrassment we are enduring now.