Candidate profile: Stephen Adler

Get ready for the 2018 Election

Voters in Belleville and Southern Illinois have several important decisions to make on Nov. 6.
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Voters in Belleville and Southern Illinois have several important decisions to make on Nov. 6.

Name: Stephen J. Adler

Office seeking: Madison County Clerk

Party: Republican

Age: 58

City of residence: Godfrey

Campaign website: https://m.facebook.com/pg/Stephen-Adler-for-County-Clerk-564781417255094/about/

Why are you running and why should people vote for you? I believe that the referendum to consolidate the Madison County Clerk’s office with that of the Recorder is a real opportunity to save money on a long-term basis. This is a Republican initiative, and I have the skills to improve government wherever I feel I can contribute. Most Illinois Counties already use this model.

I lost the 2014 Clerk’s race by less than 1% of the popular vote, winning on election day, but lost the same race by large margins in absentee voting. The loss illustrated to me that vote fraud in Madison County is a real possibility.

A fair election has nearly the same margins of victory or loss across all modalities; margins outside the standard deviation need to be examined. This does not mean voter choices should be restricted; however, these newer methods should be monitored more closely for fraud. The newest electronic methods of voting are also more susceptible to foreign interference, and the Clerk must understand that. The newest technology is not always the best technology, and always costs more.

The bottom line: In the end, if elected, all candidates deserve (and will receive) a level playing field on election day in Madison County.

Voters should support me because I have a long record of public accountability. As a new County Board member, I was the first county official to turn convicted County Treasurer Fred Bathon into the FBI. More recently, As a neighboring Levee District Director, I helped blow the whistle publicly on corruption involving the Wood River Levee District, and still believe that an independent forensic audit is needed there. Sunshine is the only truly effective governmental disinfectant.

The last reason to vote for me is the entire Madison County Democratic Party machine fights savagely to discredit me; I represent a real threat to their culture. I see these attacks as a credit to my record and a ferocious form of respect.

I’ve always believed that the shrewdest way to judge candidates is not by what they say, but by what they do.

A politician will say...whatever they need to say to get elected. A real leader does things to earn election.

What qualifications do you have for this position? As the first Republican Executive Director of Metro-East Sanitary District, (MESD) we turned around a bankrupt political organization with a long history of corruption as the East Side Levee District. Working as a team, we turned the MESD into a financially solvent Sanitary and Levee District that will receive levee accreditation for the first time. I found 68 mostly good employees, but no leadership; with their help, cost cutting, and attrition, we eliminated waste (and do a better job) with less than 50 full-time employees. The largest percentage of employees eliminated in the process was in management, not labor. I’m proud of the fact that these employees were all hired because they were Democrats, and were retained for their work ethic, not their political affiliation.

Starting in 2016, I spent a short time (6 months) as Deputy Madison County Administrator before promotion to Executive Director of the Metro-East Sanitary District after flooding ravaged Pontoon Beach and Mitchell in Spring of 2017.

I spent 12 years on the Madison County Board representing parts of Alton and Godfrey. I served under Democratic Board Chairman Alan Dunstan and chaired the Personnel Committee for much of my tenure. Much credit for my Labor Relations success has its roots in that experience.

I spent 32 years with the State of Illinois in various positions of ascending management responsibilities. I learned that managing people is an art, not a science.

I have an Associates Degree in Engineering, but the key to my success has been a series of mentors (professionally and politically) that demonstrated sound people management skills and of course, the people of Madison County who trusted me with the responsibility to manage their resources.

At 58, I have mature outlook, and have developed the leadership skills over a lifetime to excel at this assignment.

What is the biggest issue facing the Clerk’s Office? How would you handle it? Presumably, the integration of the Madison County Clerk’s office with that of the present Recorder of Deeds. The key to saving money is working through the duplicities that represent inefficiencies; the mitigating factor is that these are services that cannot be interrupted for any reason in the process.

If elected, (presumably, the referendum will pass) my first action will be to invite the outgoing Clerk and Recorder to solicite their opinions. As a former Madison County Board Member, I understand the the basics. My next action will be to compare the nuances of the current systems in use. After that, examine other successful (preferably accredited) models that other unionized Illinois Counties use.

After all that, the plan will need the support of other elected officials, particularly the Madison County Board. This is a long term change; failure is not an option here, and there are no do-overs.

Should the Recorder’s Office and Clerk’s Office be combined? Why or why not? Combine these offices. At this point in time, both of these offices are far more expensive than in neighboring Counties. The combined Clerk-Recorder model is used in most Illinois Counties, even the largest, Cook County. (Like this, by referendum)

Whenever taxpayers have an opportunity to consolidate a layer of government, it’s an opportunity to reduce costs; time magnifies this effect.