MARK R. BOROUGHF
CANDIDATE FOR FOREST PARK COMMISSIONER
1. What motivates you to seek this office? What skills, experiences, and perspectives would you bring to the Commission, and why would those contributions be valuable to the Village of Forest Park?
Based on the events leading up to the recent referendum, I feel there was a lack of leadership in our village council and developed a desire to be part of a positive change. With over 20 years of experience as a small business owner and operator, I feel I have a unique ability to work and negotiate with others to move Forest Park forward.
2. What are Forest Park’s greatest strengths? What are its greatest challenges? What is your vision for Forest Park?
Forest Park has a one-of-a-kind quality of life with great access to Chicago, dual airports, multiple modes of rail and highway transportation…in other words “location, location, location.” It’s greatest challenge is welcoming new ideas. My vision of Forest Park includes soliciting input from a diverse group of residents for the mutual long-term benefit of the entire community.
3. What does transparency in government mean to you? Give one example of an action you would take as Commissioner to reflecting your views on this topic. How would you evaluate the Village’s record on transparency?
My definition of transparency is 2 parts: sharing in the decision making process and making the relevant information easily accessible. When I am elected commissioner, I would work to make sure the appropriate contents of the board packets are made available to the public along with their meeting agendas. Initially, I would evaluate the transparency based on the number of FOIA and Open Meeting Act requests.
4. What steps will you take to enhance community engagement with the Village and the Village Commission? What is your view on how local elected officials should communicate with and respond to constituents?
I have suggested regular meetings at Village Hall titled “Coffee with the Board” as a way to introduce and engage residents with their elected officials. I do not believe social media is an appropriate form of government dialogue. But I do believe the village should have a more dynamic Facebook page where residents can access current events, basic government information, and be linked to a redesigned and functional village website.
5. In what ways have you sought to better know and understand the experiences, concerns, and needs of residents outside your demographic group?
I have recently attended the Diversity Commission’s event on Community Empowerment, an outreach event for individuals looking to expand their knowledge of personal finance and business launching.
6. What do you believe is the biggest challenge to the Village's financial situation? What specific steps would you take as Commissioner with regard to the Village’s budget shortfall?
Reversing multi-year deficits is the largest challenge we’re facing. I would look at the existing budget in a line-by-line fashion to best determine how much shortfall we truly have as well as where we can improve efficiencies while maintaining government services. I would immediately take actions to collect revenue (said to be upwards of several hundreds of thousands of dollars) from all parking tickets dating back to be the beginning of 2018, when our collection agency folded.
7. What should the Village Commission's role be with respect to economic development and attracting new business to Forest Park?
The village board needs to ensure that we are actively marketing the village to businesses looking for a great location just outside of Chicago, but also that we are promoting our easily accessible, talented and diverse local work force, particularly in a time of record low unemployment when work hiring is very challenging.
8. The Altenheim property and future development alternatives are topics of much discussion in Forest Park. What should the next step in this process be?
The current cultural park proposal for Altenheim should be fully vetted to make sure it complies with it’s restricted future use and also compared against other potential uses. I propose a town hall meeting to help facilitate its best and highest use for all residents.
9. The debate over video gambling dominated the recent midterm election in the Village, and while the issue has been resolved through binding referendum, there are still significant rifts dividing Forest Park. Do you think those rifts can be healed? If so, how? If not, why not?
The referendum is where the healing started. Residents had their voices heard and the voting process was respected; for the first time in many elections, there were no challenges against petitions. Residents are engaged and coming together to become informed of the dynamics of this next election cycle. Throughout the village there is a desire for new ideas and fresh leadership to move Forest Park forward.
10. Do you believe Village Commissioners have a role to play in relation to District 91 and District 209? Why or why not?
Village officials have a role to represent the public and work together with other elected officials within their district, including the two public school districts that encompass Forest Park. I believe we should be supportive of our local elementary and high school districts by offering strategies for improvement as well as championing their strengths.
11. What do you see as the best role for Forest Park’s Diversity Commission? What challenges do you anticipate with regard to equity and inclusion in the Village, and how will you approach them?
Forest Park’s Diversity Commission should have their 3 board vacancies filled by the mayor. Then, the Diversity Commission would be more empowered to be heard and present at village events, thereby promoting the expectation of inclusion to all residents.
12. What impact can a municipality such as Forest Park have on climate change, and how will you prioritize that work among other issues? Do you think Forest Park should implement a Climate Action Plan, and if so, what specific elements should it include?
We all have an impact on climate change whether as an individual or a larger entity. I would take time to learn about the current state of sustainability within the village and seek advice from experts on the many related topics, utilizing the knowledge base of our sustainability commission, including their ideas for more business recycling, green alleyways, permeable surfaces and composting.
13. The Forest Park Review recently described the Commissioner form of government as “fully obsolete for an urban suburb of our size.” Do you agree? If so, what steps would you take to improve the governing structures of Forest Park?
We have a very rare form of government in Forest Park and changing it would require another referendum attempt which have failed in the past. However, a change in the village structure can be emulated by a change in the management process. We can empower our hired officials and staff to make the tough decisions that need to be made to move Forest Park forward.
14. Please list the three largest donors to your campaign by dollar amount contributed.
Mark Boroughf, Motion Picture Studio Mechanics Local No. 476, Wexford Inc (Shanahan’s)
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[The above answers were supplied on 2/21/19. It may be possible to find more current financial information at the Illinois Sunshine website. Illinois Sunshine is also a useful resource for identifying past contributions by individuals to political candidates and committees in Illinois.]
Forest Park Forward (campaign website)
Forest Park Forward (campaign Facebook page)
A citizen advocate speaks (Forest Park Review 3/26/19)
Different ideas but shared goals (Forest Park Review 3/26/19)
An opportunity to change directions (Forest Park Review 3/26/19)
What do commissioners do? (Forest Park Review 3/26/19)
Forest Park Review endorsement (Forest Park Review 3/19/19)
Survey Responses: Mark Boroughf (Forest Park Review 3/1/19)
A real opportunity for Forest Park (Forest Park Review 2/12/19)
Commissioner hopefuls form slate around Hoskins (Forest Park Review 11/6/18)
Forest Park Forward campaign disclosures (Illinois State Board of Elections)
Forest Park Forward financials (Illinois Sunshine)
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Commission candidates debate unity, development (Forest Park Review 2/26/19)
No candidates' petitions challenged (Forest Park Review 1/1/19)
A Brief Who's Who in the Commissioner, Mayoral Races (Forest Park Review 12/18/18)