Our Pledge To You

Elections

Cook County Board 14th District Democratic nominee: Scott R. Britton

Scott Britton is the Sun-Times’ endorsed candidate in the 14th district race for Cook County Board.

Britton faces Republican businessman Gregg Goslin of Glenview in the election to represent the 14th district on the Cook County Board of Commissioners.

The Chicago Sun-Times sent the candidates running for the Cook County Board of Commissioners a list of questions to find out their views on a range of important issues facing the county. Democratic nominee Scott R. Britton submitted the following answers to our questionnaire:


Cook County has cut its spending and probably will pass a budget that includes no new revenues. Given the county government’s resources and responsibilities, what else would you do to cut or to generate sustainable revenues? How much would money would that save or generate? Are you willing to vote for new taxes or fees? Please be specific.

Britton: Cook County has cut spending relentlessly for nearly a decade and there are not many logical cuts left to make. We can save money by coordinating contract purchases and share governmental functions with suburban municipalities and the City of Chicago. I participated in municipal partnering arrangements that have saved in the order of ten percent off the Village of Glenview budget and similar savings may be possible county-wide. Revenue enhancement, whether through new taxes on sales of something like recreational marijuana or from a restructuring of Illinois tax system through a newly enacted progressive income tax have to be part of any picture before we ask residents to dig into their pockets for additional property tax revenues.

The Cook County Health and Hospitals System lost out on some $165 million in revenue over three years because of lax clerical procedures and errors, according to report last spring by the county inspector general. What would you do to end this kind of waste?

Britton: Cook County Health System employees are hardworking and dedicated to their jobs. However, there has been a lack of supervision and training at the administrative level that has resulted in a failure to follow up on revenues to insurance reimbursements that must be addressed. I strongly support additional training and raised expectations among supervisory employees to make sure that these revenues are not lost in the future.


Who is Scott R. Britton?

Political/Civic Background: Glenview District #34 School board, Glenview Emergency 911 Board, Glenview Village Board of Trustees

Occupation: Lawyer

Education: B.A. Miilikin University; J.D. University of Illinois

Campaign website: www.scottrbritton.com


What should the County Board’s role be in assisting economically depressed areas in the south suburbs? Should the county sheriff take over policing responsibilities in more suburbs that are struggling to maintain police protection?

Britton: Economic revitalization of depressed areas particularly in the south suburbs is essential to raising the standard of living among multiple areas in the County. The County Board certainly should have a role in providing support for these suburbs by reducing red tape and assisting in business outreach to potential manufacturing and other business interests that could provide needed jobs in south suburban locations. There are occasions when the Cook County sheriff may be required to assist suburbs in providing police protection particularly in those communities that simply do not have the funding necessary to support their own police forces. However, this should only be done sparingly as it would add to the financial burden of the County’s budget at a time when revenues are limited.

As a commissioner, how strongly would you support efforts to ensure that voting within the county is secure?

Britton: I strongly support all necessary efforts to protect our county voting system from hacks and other criminal activities by outside actors. It has been very disturbing to see the prevalence of this type of activity in the 2016 election. Cook County’s voting system is quite secure thanks to the work of David Orr and others. I would fully commit to all necessary means to protect our election system and would work constructively with the State of Illinois and our federal representatives to protect our elections.


SUN-TIMES 2018 ILLINOIS VOTING GUIDE


What should the County Board do to help reduce gun violence?

Britton: I strongly support all necessary efforts to protect our county voting system from hacks and other criminal activities by outside actors. It has been very disturbing to see the prevalence of this type of activity in the 2016 election. Cook County’s voting system is quite secure thanks to the work of David Orr and others. I would fully commit to all necessary means to protect our election system and would work constructively with the State of Illinois and our federal representatives to protect our elections.

What ordinances would you propose and make a priority?

Britton: In meeting with and talking to the voters in my District, issues that are important to the families in these communities across the fourteenth include raising the minimum age to buy tobacco products in Cook County to 21, putting into place further commonsense gun regulations, legalizing and taxing marijuana, and providing substance abuse treatment programs as an alternative to incarceration.

Should Cook County create a Consensus Revenue Forecasting Commission to give the board independent analyses?

Britton: The County’s forecasting on budget matters have been consistent and reliable. I do not see the need for another commission as I am generally opposed to creating any new governmental entities considering the 7,000 units of local government that currently exist in the State of Illinois.

Does it make sense for the sheriff’s department to take over the Cook County forest preserve police? Does it make sense for Stroger Hospital to have its own police force? Please explain.

Britton: While there has been recent publicity which has called into question the Forest Preserve police training and actions, they serve an important role in the county not just as police officers but as Forest Rangers assisting in ecological support matters and enforcing environmental regulations. I do not believe at this point it is necessary to eliminate this force. The hospital at this point does not need an additional police force as it has sufficient security under this current administration.

Within the forest preserve system, native plants areas in unmanaged land are deteriorating at a rate of about 3 percent per year because of weeds and invasive species. What should be done, if anything, to protect the forest preserve’s ecosystems?

Britton: It is essential to protect the forest preserve’s ecosystem. I have participated in meetings with the forest preserve foundation which is providing additional support through internships and paid activities from inner city youths who are assisting in eliminating weeds and invasive species. These programs should be expanded along with new programs applicable to the fit elderly who could also volunteer in our Forest Preserve system to assist in the maintenance of these essential green areas. I have also proposed further corporate partnering with multiple businesses within the county who would in fact “adopt” a forest preserve area and provide volunteer assistance along with tangible financial assistance to assist those areas. I also believe we need to invite more input and collaboration from national environmental organizations and regional travel bureaus to make this a priority. The 69,000-acres of our forest preserve is the largest district in the US with 40 million visits each year. We must protect this vital natural resource.

Are county commissioners, who are mostly Democrats, independent enough of their party and the president?

Britton: The County continues to elect primarily Democrats with progressive credentials to the County Board as that reflects the will of the voters. Those Democrats, while committed to common progressive agenda, certainly have shown independence when necessary and if required when leadership does not necessarily propose legislation that is supported by the community. I have been an independent, progressive voice throughout my career in local government over the last seventeen years and will continue to vote my conscience.

What can the county do to create synergies with the City of Chicago? Or is this unnecessary?

Britton: Synergies with the City of Chicago are essential. As I have mentioned previously in this questionnaire, Municipal Partnering has been an enormous benefit to the Village of Glenview during my time as Village Trustee. There are other ways in which we can cooperate with the City of Chicago to reduce costs, to engage in collective contract bargaining with vendors to decrease the price of tangible goods and there are additional cooperative matters that would be beneficial to the City and County that are not currently coordinated in a sufficiently competent way.

PolitiFact is an exclusive partnership between Chicago Sun-Times and BGA to fact-check politicians

Ahead of the historic 2018 elections, the Sun-Times is teaming up weekly with the Better Government Association, in print and online, to fact-check the truthfulness of the candidates. You can find all of the PolitiFact Illinois stories we’ve reported together here.

RELATED

• ENDORSEMENT: Scott R. Britton for Cook County Board in the 14th District

• Cook County Board 14th District Republican nominee: Gregg Goslin