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Richard Dunne: City Council Candidate

1 March 2013 Elgin Illinois 35 Comments

The questionnaire below was completed by city council candidate Richard Dunne. Mr. Dunne will be a candidate in the city council election on April 9th.


Richard Dunne

Seat for which you are running:

4 year city council

Can you tell us a bit about your background, both personally and professionally?

My wife Judy and I are Elgin residents of 25 years. We have raised our three daughters in Elgin, all of whom have attended U-46 schools. We enjoy Elgin for all its opportunities and amenities. Over the years we have come to appreciate Elgin as a dynamic center of commerce that serves its residents by providing diverse housing, outstanding healthcare, far reaching educational opportunities, and numerous cultural and recreational activities.

I am a 28-veteran of the Fire Service, retiring from the Elgin Fire Department in 2012 where I served for 25 years. In addition to serving Elgin as a firefighter, I proudly served our country for 30 years in the United States Air Force Reserve. Currently, I work for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) as a Fire Program Specialist.

I am an active and involved resident in the Elgin community. As a founding member and first President of the Near West Neighborhood Association and now as a member of the Columbine Homeowners Association, I understand the unique challenges that our neighborhoods face. I am also involved in the American Legion, Elgin Veteran’s Memorial Commission and the Veteran’s of Foreign Wars, where I have served in many offices. Through these services organizations, I have helped to provide recognition and resources to our area veterans.

• Associate of Applied Science in Fire Science & Safety with honors, Elgin Community College 1999
• Bachelor’s Degree in Fire Service Management, Southern Illinois University 2005
• Northern Illinois University Center for Governmental Studies Civic Leadership Academy 2011
• Coursework towards a Master in Business Administration, Argosy University - anticipated completion, May 2013

Why are you running for Elgin City Council?

I have been proud to serve the citizens of Elgin as a City Councilmember for the past four years. While much has been accomplished during a difficult fiscal time, I feel that there is still much that I want to accomplish. There are still inequities in how city government implements policies across the city. Whether it’s in the area of code enforcement, policies towards developers or in the way we treat our citizens, I want to continue to work to address these issues to provide equity for all.

What do you view as the major issues facing Elgin in the next few years?

The City Council needs to continue to be very conscious of our budget. These last few years have been very difficult for both our citizens, and for the city as a whole. The city has had to deal with budget issues that same as our residents. As we have addressed these issues, now we can look forward to future issues which will increase our economic development and stability both through increased retail development and job creation.

Are you generally in agreement with decisions the city council has made in the past few years? Please describe any measures with which you particularly agreed or disagreed.

I believe that the citizens of Elgin elected me to work with the City Council to pass a fiscally responsible and balanced budget. I did not agree with all aspects of the budget or every council decision and have expressed these concerns on several occasions. These decisions may not always be popular; however they were necessary to keep Elgin economically competitive.

I believe that many of our current problems in both Springfield and Washington DC are the result of elected officials not being willing to make these difficult decisions that are in the best interests of all citizens. We deserve better.

If elected, what do you expect to accomplish during your time on the council?

I want to continue to reduce our property tax. Historically, the city had a property tax rate of $1.92 per $1000.00, which was too high. The city of Elgin had the second highest tax rate out of 28 comparable cities in Northern Illinois. While I did not support all of the tax measures that were brought forth in the adopted budgets, to address the City’s crisis, I am very proud to have supported the lowering of the property tax rate over the next five years to be below $1.59 per $1000.00. I feel that this budget, including the property tax cut and revenue diversification, will make the City fiscally stronger and more competitive for economic development in the long term.

Another priority for me is for all citizens to receive equitable treatment from the City. Whether it is from our Community Development Group in the city’s western development, Code Enforcement, customer service from City Hall or by the Police Department, all citizens deserve to be treated with equity and respect. All of the citizens of Elgin have made an investment in the City of Elgin by choosing to live in our community and need to receive an equitable return on that investment.

From a crowded field of candidates, why should voters choose you to represent them on the city council?

All citizens of Elgin must feel safe in their neighborhoods. This is the number one stated strategic goal of the City of Elgin. As a firefighter for the city for 25 years, I worked intimately in every neighborhood and know very well where the deficiencies in our code enforcement, law enforcement, emergency management and fire service exist. Along with my 30 years military experience as a senior manager, my recent deployment with FEMA to Long Island after Hurricane Sandy provides me with additional firsthand experience as to why this strategic goal continues to be vital to the citizens of Elgin.

My education, and experience as a leader, both personally and professionally has prepared me with unique experiences and skills that other candidates do not possess which will aid in making important decisions to benefit the citizens of Elgin. Having worked for the city as both a line officer and as a staff officer, and in the community as a volunteer and a leader, I am aware of the various types of leadership and community involvement we rely on everyday to make our local institutions function. This understanding of, and involvement in, our community and our government is what sets me apart from the rest of the field. I can bring this insight and experience onto the Council and provide the citizens of Elgin with responsible and informed decision making that will be more representative of their needs and concerns.

What’s the best way for voters to find out more about your campaign?

Website: www.dunneforelgin.com
FaceBook: Dunne for Elgin
Campaign Cell: (847) 331-8213
Campaign E-mail: DunneforElgin@wowway.com

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35 Responses to “Richard Dunne: City Council Candidate”

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  1. harmony says:

    Sorry Richard you fooled me once.

    • Anonymous says:

      How were you fooled, because decisions were made that you did not agree with? Are you thinking of yourself or the city?

    • Bob says:

      How were you fooled, because decisions were made that you did not agree with? Are you thinking of yourself or the city?

      • Chuck Keysor says:

        Bob, look, I like Rich Dunne. I really do. He is a kind and personable man. But I think what others mean by being fooled, is what I know for sure has made me disappointed with Rich as an elected official.

        When Rich was running 4 years ago, he talked as though City Hall was running wild, and he would straighten it out. And we all know about his wanting to “cut the head off the snake”. Well, what has changed at City Hall? What has he shaken up? All I know is that he has shaken up my friends and neighbors by voting for every tax increase of December 2011 (Trash tax, natural gas, leaf rake out, electric tax, etc). He voted for Artspace, Riverside Drive, all things that the Rich Dunne I THOUGHT I was voting for in 2009 would NOT have voted for. So, I think that is the primary element here of being fooled in the past.

        But he is also trying to fool us again, this time on the Rain Tax. He has said publicly that it may well be to Elgin’s advantage to enact a rain tax, to beat Kane County to the punch. And I was told that he even said that again at last Saturday’s SWAN forum, (though I wasn’t there because of having to host a fundraiser to fight the rain tax that evening). Mike Kenyon, of the Kane County board has emailed me saying, and I quote: “there is no thought of a county storm water tax.” And as I understood Anna Moeller’s comments at the end of the most recent council session, this issue has died at the State level. So why does Rich want to try and keep waving this trumped up basis for justifying the “rain tax”? This sounds like he is trying to fool the voters. We don’t want to be fooled any more.

        Thanks, Chuck

  2. Margaret Miller says:

    He fooled me too. Not again! It makes me wonder what he is thinking when at the LWV forum he sat next to Gilliam. That was my last straw. His conversion from professed conservatism to liberalism is quite amazing over the last 4 years. Another wolf in sheep’s clothing. The cats out of the bag.

    • One Vote says:

      Dunne was always a union guy. His campaign manager last time was Bedard from the brotherhood of the barrel.
      And he was in bed with SEIU during the last election.
      His voting record only confirms that he’s liberal except when he’s around Vets.

  3. Cruex says:

    I agree with one vote. Dunne’s voting record shows me he is a liberal in a conservative costume. He must be hoping the Douglas Ave. crowd will rescue him.

  4. Sally Foster says:

    At the Blackhawk Forum last evening former Councilman Terry Gavin straightened out Mr. Dunne who has been claiming that Elgin’s reason for moving forward on the “Rain Tax” was because Kane County was looking to impose this tax throughout the county.

    Mr. Gavin brilliantly pointed out to Mr. Dunne, and everyone else, that his statement was a falsehood. Mr. Gavin addressed Mr. Dunne’s misinformation by sighting comments made by Chris Lauzen, President of the Kane County Board and long time Kane County Board member Mike Kenyon that Kane County has no such plans to impose a “Rain Tax” county wide.

    Mr. Dunne the jig is up.
    It has now been proven that you surely work for the city’s bureaucratic elite and are not a representative of the citizen tax payers of Elgin.

    We now await your retraction of this misinformation in public and on your web campaign sites.

    As we all know, the two part feasibility study, which is costing the us approximately $220,000.00 is being performed so the city can learn “HOW TO TAX CORRECTLY!”

    Mr. Dunne also claimed last evening that he was a conservative when all those paying attention know this is another falsehood. All we have to do for confirmation of this is ask Mr. Dunne’s new campaign coach Mr. Gilliam.

    Mr. Dunne, the difference between your words and your actions that have proven you are not a conservative.

    We were in a church last evening so please tell the truth!
    Humility is good for the soul.

    • Chuck Keysor says:

      Sally, your analysis is 100% right on the money!

      I spoke very informally about the rain tax yesterday at the Elgin United Civic Association lunch meeting. Rich Dunne spoke after me. He made the same assertion that Kane County wanted to impose a rain tax, even though in my presentation, I had stated that both Mike Kenyon and Chris Lauzen had communicated to me directly (Chris Lauzen called me at my home. And he also called Jeff Meyer with the same information.) that Kane County has no plans for a rain tax. And Mike Kenyon was there in the meeting, sitting not far from Dunne.

      After the lunch was done, I went to Rich and asked him how he could keep saying Kane County is going to make this grab for a rain tax, especially since Chris Lauzen had personally told me this isn’t going to happen, and that he personally ran against making new taxes. Rich looked me right in the eye and said, “Chris Lauzen won’t always be the chairman of the Kane County Board.”

      Then I asked Rich about his statement at that meeting, about how Elgin had lowered its property taxes, and failed to mention that in 2012 alone, the tax/fee increases were 10 times what the decrease in property taxes had been. And I said 2013 was just as bad. He told me I was being unfair with the numbers and was ignoring the fact that the 5 year plan has everything balancing out. I asked him how it could be unfair of me to cite the numbers for what the taxpayers actually paid, as opposed to some foggy figure for 5 years out that may or may not come to pass? I honestly don’t recall if he said anything in response to that, or if he just said he had to go, and our discussion ended. (There was more to the discussion, relating to his having charged I was telling incorrect information about who was charging the rain tax. I disagreed with that.) But it was an entirely unpleasant conversation.

      Thanks again Sally! Chuck

  5. One Vote says:

    I received a Dunne letter today.
    I wonder why he feels it important to spread around pictures of him with Jesse Jackson and Tammy Duckworth.
    And yet he calls himself a fiscal conservative.
    Enough of your dog whistle politics, Rich.
    Call yourself a union-backed liberal and get it over with.

  6. Cruex says:

    I received the Dunne letter too and it made me chuckle to myself. It is filled with such false claims about being a conservative. One need not go any further than the Elgin Township Republicans to see if they think he’s one of them. He better hope the new Dem friends he made will remember him because there are many other flimsy liberals to choose from.

  7. Sally Foster says:

    Just because you can cast 4 votes doesn’t mean you have too. I will only be voting for Prigge, Gavin & Shaw! Why vote for someone who doesn’t deserve a vote?

  8. Herb Weyers says:

    For the past 60-plus years the City of Elgin has purchased fire department aerial devices that are/were at least 100′ in length. We are about to take delivery of a vehicle with a 75′ ladder. I offer our home at 1108 Forest Drive in Century Oaks to demonstrate that this truck’s main ladder won’t reach the majority of homes in Century Oaks. Mr. Dunne and Mr. Gilliam won’t be receiving this person’s vote. Here’s hoping the ‘tinker toy’ ladder works out west of Randall.

  9. James Thiel says:

    So Rich,

    What did you think of your election results?
    You were the #1 vote getter in 2009, selling yourself as a conservative, to just barely getting by in 2013 as the new junior liberal. Hey, you knocked off the senior liberal Mr. Gilliam after 40 years.

    Is your new progressive ideology the reason for your fall in ranking?

    NEW Junior Liberal Beats Senior Liberal for Elgin City Council.

    • James Thiel says:

      Does Dunne read this site?Should I stop waiting for him to answer my questions or give him more time?

      • Chuck Keysor says:

        James, don’t hold your breath waiting for Rich to reply. One of his key failings that most people don’t know about, because they don’t ever actually interact with their councilmen, is that Rich Dunne was one of the worst communicators on the council, in regards to replying to emails and phone calls.

        Mind you, I volunteered to help in his election 4 years ago, and we knew each other through the Near West Neighbors Association. He was our founding president (1997 and 1998) and I was our president (2003-2010)in 2009. From day ONE, Rich would either not reply to my emails, or I’d have to go through his campaign manager to get an answer, or I’d have to corner him after a council meeting. These were emails about neighborhood issues. Our treasurer needed to get a hold of Rich, and I gave her Rich’s personal and City email addresses. I told her to try both of those first, and if she didn’t hear back in one week, to call his home phone number. The next time I talked to Rich after a council meeting, he asked me to please not give out his home phone number! I told him why I had done that, and that he needs to reply to his emails faster.

        Two years ago, I was talking to two people after a council meeting, and one said, “Rich Dunne must not like me, he won’t reply to my emails.” The other guy said, oh yes, he doesn’t like me either, he won’t reply. I said, look guys, it is nothing to do with him liking you. He liked me and I liked him until two years into his term and from day one, he wouldn’t answer my emails either!

        So I can’t imagine that Rich will reply to a post made here on the Elginite if he won’t answer his official emails.


  10. Anna Claire says:


    Hold up!

    Either Dunne or Rauschenberger knocked off the senior liberal Gilliam.
    Too funny, Dunne, Gilliam & Rauschenberger - 3 liberals fighting it out for the 2 bottom seats.
    Kane Cook Total
    Carol Rauschenberger 1843 343 2186
    Rich Dunne 1774 283 2057
    Bob Gilliam 1759 244 2003



    • bw says:

      Be fair people. If Gilliam had not been in the hospital the last 2 weeks before the election. Dunne would have ended out of a job. Gilliam could have campaigned enough to gain 150-200 more votes.

      • Elgin Patriot says:

        BW who are you kidding. Bob didn’t do much campaigning at all. Even before he unfortunately had to go to the hospital, he was chauffered everywhere, unions put up his signs and the only campaigning he did was talk during forums. Maybe the press stating that he was in the hospital was a turn off to some voters like 20 at max with the low turnout. The fact of the matter is that our voters rejected what he stood for.

        You have been telling people here it is wrong to speculate Moeller, Steffen and Powells future when in fact you are speculating a what if past.

        “Gilliam could have campaigned enough to gain 150-200 more votes” with that statement in mind you should heed your own advice, remembering that your opinion is your opinion. If you don’t like others speculating you shouldn’t either. I for one believe that you along with everyone else has a natural and unalienable right to speak your mind and hold your own political beliefs. I hope you feel the same way.

        • bw says:

          He has always received a number of votes from the Black churches in the community. He lost two Sunday services where he could have told the people: “I need you at the polls”. I stick by my post that he was not able to campaign for two weeks. He would have won. Admit it, there is a big “IF” and you or I will never know. The results are in and we all know who got elected based on those totals. I go way back and have watched council members come and go.

      • Kurt says:

        Gilliam was beat fair and square by the newest liberal in town, Dunne. Boy are the libs going to be mad when they finally figure this one out.

  11. Cruex says:

    More time to campaign for Gilliam? If he had campaigned more he would have lost by more. What could this man have run on that would have gotten him more votes? His atrocious record of spending? His false claims that he does not live in Arizona almost 365 days per year and has so for years? Gilliam’s lost could have been more embarrassing than it is now.

    • bw says:

      You’re comment is moot. The election is over and I don’t see any improvement in the city council. I’m to old to worry about the who,what,when, where, and way of government anymore. We pay our taxes and fees as required by the city. If they increase, we will pay them just like all others. It cost money to live anywhere, so why fight it.

  12. paul says:

    “It cost money to live anywhere, so why fight it.”

    The classic liberal response on everything. ‘Nothing we can do about it so don’t fight it.’

    So why vote? Why post here? Why complain about the election results when you lose, and say the election results are not the will of the people?

  13. Terry Gavin says:

    Perfect response Paul!

    • Chuck Keysor says:

      Look, 4 years ago, Bob Gilliam, with all of his experience and then fairly good health only came in a little ahead of John Prigge who was largely unknown. Four years ago, nobody I knew was mad at Bob. A few people were wondering about his not living in the state. Even I voted for Bob 4 years ago. I liked him as a man, and as a councilman, he was a good communicator and would respond to requests for me to meet with him. But that was 4 years ago…..

      So if Bob didn’t do great when everything is going his way 4 years ago, why would anyone expect that he would do better this time when there are clearly people who are upset with his voting record, upset with his absences from the council, there was broad awareness of his living out of state and there was a clear feeling that the man simply needs to retire for his own well-being? I told that to enough people even last fall…….

      And since this thread is about Rich Dunne, I also told people since last fall that Rich Dunne was not invincible. Simply because he came in #1 4 years ago meant nothing any more, because he now has an unpopular record to run on. I cited precedent for a recent council member who went from #1 in one cycle, to out the door 4 years later. I had pointed out that if everyone assumes you can’t be knocked off, your chances of being knocked off are reduced. But in this case, the pool of choices made Dunne’s survival more likely.


      • bw says:

        ck: I suggest the new leader of the council will be Carol Rauschenberger. She will be running for mayor next time. She is a good choice for the community. Her family background in the community is well known. She has what it takes to be mayor of Elgin. You may disagree but remember you read it here first.

  14. bw says:

    We need people with a solid background in different area:

    “I have been involved at some level in every community where I have lived. For example in Chelsea, Michigan I was on our planning commission and elected to city council. Since moving back to Elgin, I was elected as an Elgin Township Trustee. My other community involvement includes founder of the Elgin Community Discovery Science Fair; a cooperative effort between the Library and U-46. I am currently working with the Downtown Development Association and Elgin residents to start the Elgin Food Cooperative, which we just recently incorporated.”

    • paul says:

      What we need are less foxes in the hen house.

      What we need are less public employees in elected positions.

      What we need are less public pensioners in elected positions.

      Guaranteed, Carol will not EVER be mayor of Elgin. You heard it here, first.

      “start the Elgin Food Cooperative”
      just waiting for government funding!!

  15. Sally Foster says:

    Hey Rich:

    Just saw your write up in the Courier this morning.
    I didn’t know your were the appointed ambassador for the City of Elgin!

    Why didn’t the citizens know about your trip? I never heard about it at any of the City Council meetings.
    Did your fellow councilpersons approve the purpose of your trip?
    How much did it cost the taxpayer’s of Elgin.

    Sister city sojourn
    By Mike Danahey mdanahey@stmedianetwork.com May 30, 2013 5:10PM
    Updated: May 31, 2013 2:33AM

    Elgin City Councilman Rich Dunne presents Elgin’s flag to officials from Cauquenes, its Chilean sister city.

    ELGIN — City Councilman Richard Dunne and his wife Judy recently served as goodwill ambassadors to Cauquenes, Chile, visiting there during that town’s founders’ day celebrations.

    In turn, Elgin is preparing to host a delegation from Cauquenes that hopes to be in the area in time for Fourth of July festivities, the Dunnes said.

    So goes Elgin’s initial foray into having a South American sister city, with Elgin’s first delegation having traveled there in March, another heading there in July and the Dunnes’ stay this month.

    “It brings a lot back to our community to understand other cultures from first-hand experiences like this, and offers insight into Elgin itself and its diversity,” Judy Dunne said.
    “The people were absolutely amazing, generous and kind. And they are looking for any knowledge that will help them rebuild their city,” she said.

    In February 2010, a good portion of Chile felt the force of a devastating 8.8 magnitude earthquake, and the nation’s coast dealt with an ensuing tsunami. Rich Dunne learned that in Cauquenes, which sits in a plain, a large percentage of the buildings were either destroyed or damaged enough to be condemned. Today, about 40 percent of structures still show signs of damage, he said.