Below are candidate-submitted answers to a survey Landmark sent out to all candidates running in this year’s elections.
Mark W. Rogers is a 51+ year resident of Brookfield who grew up on the 4100 block of Oak Avenue. Mark attended Lincoln Elementary School, Lyons Township High School and graduated from DePaul University with a B.A. in Communications. In 1996, Mark graduated from the College for Financial Planning and earned his Certified Financial Planner [CFP] certificant designation and in 2011 obtained his Accredited Financial Counselor [AFC] designation. Mark is the Great Lakes Regional Manager for Scarborough Alliance, a division of PlanMember Financial Services Corporation. Mark holds his NASD Series 7-24-63, Illinois Insurance Producer’s license and works with Local unions and their members in planning for retirement. Mark also supports the 88th Regional Support Command out of Fort McCoy, WI with the Yellow Ribbon Campaign by providing financial education to our armed services reserve members. Since 1996, Mark works as a Main Outdoor Golf Shop Supervisor at the Masters Golf Tournament in Augusta, GA. Rogers began working in 7th grade for the Brookfield News Agency, transitioning to his financial services career with Brookfield Federal Savings and Loan located at Oak & Ogden while in high school.
Mark’s prior community service includes volunteering for the Brookfield Chamber of Commerce golf outings, Whispering Oaks Girl Scout Council Board of Directors, chaperoning Lincoln School field trips and serving as a member of the Lyons School District #103 Board of Education from 1994-1995, 2000-2005 and 2010-2011, serving as President from 2003-2005. Mark was also Vice Chairman of the Fairygodmother Foundation, a 501c-3 not for profit that granted terminally ill adults a last wish. Mark also served on the Board of Directors for the Lincoln Park Chamber of Commerce from 2006-2010, serving as Treasurer from 2007-2008 and President in 2009. Mark volunteered as a Golf Shop Supervisor for the 2012 US Ryder Cup Golf Tournament held at Medinah Country Club. Most recently, Mark will be working with School District #103, initiating the Martha R. Rogers Children’s Health Advocacy Award in memory of his late mother.
Mark has two adult children, Stephanie, 28 and Suzanne, 21.
What can the village realistically do to promote and encourage economic development, and where should those efforts be focused? How can village government help promote what essentially is private investment?
There are plenty of opportunities that our village may initiate to encourage economic development. The first item is to have a plan in place. The current leadership team held a breakfast and ran a radio campaign for about 30 days. Was that initiative in the plan? If you are going to advertise, it needs to be done continuously and not for just 30 days-and of all months in December? What follow up was completed and what did the current administration learn?
Part of any, well thought out sales plan [Yes, we are “selling” Brookfield to new and existing business] is a de-brief after each initiative to determine what worked and what did not. As a part of that de-brief, you look for continuous process improvement to the smallest detail. What may help current and new business owners locating to Brookfield would be trustees who are familiar with the small business loan process , writing/evaluating a small business plan and know the requirements to work with lenders and alternative lenders to encourage current owners to expand and new business to open/relocate to Brookfield.
The Board/village staff needs to be held accountable for the development, implementation and results of the economic development plan. The Brookfield Chamber of Commerce should be heavily invested in this initiative.
Additionally, an organization similar to the Berwyn Development Corporation should be organized so we may understand who we are, where we are and what we need to change to get to the next level and beyond. This would include a micro loan program to fund loans up to $20,000 for a number of uses including start up costs, equipment, working capital, building rehab and more. We should provide tax credits for job creation and business expansion. Respond to our business community’s needs for 21st century training including everything from business basics, advertising, electronic media, networking and building their brand. And to the PEP Party’s claim that a plan cannot exist within a single document: we were provided a fifty seven (57) page report entitled, “Commercial Revitalization Strategy for the Village of Brookfield.” Although prepared some time ago, ironically the issues that it details persist to this day.
The village has reacted to local flooding in recent years by instituting a flood-mitigation program and has taken steps to build a pump station at Forest and Washington. Has the village’s response to local flooding been adequate? What else can or should be done to help prevent floods from harming residents and their properties?
No, the response has not been adequate. Residents should not have to worry when skies threaten that they’ll receive raw sewage/rainwater in their homes.
Residents have been constantly told that, “Everybody got a lot of rain.” Yes, we received more than our fair share of rain in recent memory. For the residents who do not live near Salt Creek, why do certain areas in town flood while others do not? Perhaps it was due to collapsed sections of sewers that were not properly maintained over the years. This was found to be the case throughout the village.
The flood mitigation program where the village reimburses homeowners for certain preventative measures is flawed-why should residents have to give up their reimbursement because they want to get the work completed ahead of time so their homes don’t flood?
The village had adopted an Open Space Plan and has made significant improvements to Kiwanis and Ehlert parks in recent years. What are your thoughts on those improvements and how should additional improvements be approached and funded?
We seem to emphasize Ehlert and Kiwanis and de-emphasize the “smaller” parks within the village. The current administration claimed in the previous lection that parks were a priority, yet, when the village engineering firm completed their most recent assessment, the parks were lacking for updates and maintenance.
How should Brookfield fund and schedule necessary repairs to streets and other infrastructure?
We maintain that the financial impact to residents should not be an undue burden-we would like to see our legislators leveraged at the local, state and federal levels to maximize the return of tax dollars [and more] to Brookfield. The upcoming challenge is that Brookfield is not the only community facing this sort of dilemma. Governor Rauner has proposed a radically different state budget than what has been passed for the last 30 years or more. Of course, a robust Brookfield economy and higher property values lends itself to more sales tax, real estate tax, MFT tax, etc.
Are there areas where the village could be providing better service to residents? How? Should the village increase or decrease funding for certain services, programs and capital improvements? Why or why not?
Have an open and accountable village government-We stated that, “Be respectful in addressing their [residents] needs and concerns in a timely and sincere manner.” Currently, there’s no accountability when it comes to providing poor customer service when it comes to dealing with our residents.
A program similar to the Gallup survey should be implemented-when you call up the village or deal with an employee personally, a brief phone survey/electronic survey should follow up that interaction, rating how well that employee addressed your needs, while also emphasizing professional respect, courtesy and timeliness of the resolution to your initial inquiry. You may implement a plan but if there is no follow up/accountability, then the plan is useless. The use of the H-E-A-T customer resolution model should be taught and implemented.
We’d also like to see the village meetings televised on the community cable/satellite access channels for those whose schedules don’t permit them to attend meetings on a regular basis. Expectations when it comes to customer service and deliverables need to be communicated and adhered to by village staff.
There are a multitude of issues-the lack of an economic development plan, lack of vision, the functional deficiencies that exist within the current village board, the expected state funding changes that will affect all local governments, keeping the police and fire pensions completely funded, maintaining a balanced budget and increasing reserves. We have a homogenous board, i.e., all from the same party. There’s no discussion/debate. Economic development just doesn’t seem to be taken seriously enough and the results speak for themselves.