Name: Ken Easterley
Office seeking: St. Clair County Board District 8
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City of residence: Belleville
Campaign website: Facebook: Ken Easterley-St. Clair County Board District 8
Why are you running and why should people vote for you? I have spent my life as a public servant, serving with the Secretary of State Police, as an alderman and a county board member. I’m running because I made a commitment to my district to represent their best interests and to give them the service they expect. I’ve always done that in every job I’ve held and I will continue to do so as their voice on the county board.
St. Clair County’s health fund is $3.3 million in debt, according to its most recent audit. The debt has increased over the last two years. What measures would you support to reduce the debt? Healthcare spending is projected to climb by 5.3 percent in 2018. It’s not news to anyone who carries health insurance whether it’s an individual, family, corporation or government entity. St. Clair County has reached out to healthcare insurance consultants to find ways to contain costs while at the same time maintaining the quality of care our employees deserve. Wellness programs that prevent expensive health issues are one way we are working to save healthcare dollars.
What is your position on the oversight of MidAmerica Airport? Would you change anything? If so, what? MidAmerica reached 300,000 passengers – a record – this year. Revenues continue to grow. Those are very positive accomplishments and speak to the management of the airport. The county has a strategic plan and we should continue to follow that.
St. Clair County board meetings last an average of 30 minutes, according to a review of meeting minutes from the last two years. Some committee meetings for the most part last less than 15 minutes. Is this enough time for county board members to conduct county business and earn a $19,419 salary? Why or why not? County Board meetings are run efficiently and that is how it should be. The length of a meeting is based on the agenda. And as you point out in the question, you have averaged the meeting time. So some meetings are over quicker than others based on the agenda. Some last much longer and require more discussion of the issue. Committee meetings are the same. But good county board members don’t just attend meetings, they do research, they talk to department heads when they have questions, they do the work that the public doesn’t always see. In my role as a county board member, I’m called by constituents often and I do whatever it takes to solve their problem.
County revenue has been declining in recent years. How should revenues be increased or do services have to be cut? Why? Growing our economy here in St. Clair County is certainly one of the best ways to increase revenue. Our economic development department along with the county board and Chairman Kern are committed to working to keep the businesses we have now in St Clair County and attracting new businesses to our area. But it’s not a quick fix. There are no quick fixes.
The county budget has been balanced since I’ve been a county board member and we don’t budge off that budget. We’ve cut over 100 county employees, many retirees whose jobs have not been filled, in an effort to cut costs rather than cut services.