Vet, former officer want County Board

By Keisha Howerth

Two locals running in the Republican primary for DeKalb County Board member of District 9 hope to bring financial responsibility to the board if elected.

The primary election will take place March 18, and Samuel-Louis Bandy Jr. and Craig Genteman will face off in the Republican race.

The winner of the Republican primary will face Democratic candidate Jim Luebke for the District 9 member position in the November general election.

Bandy is a DeKalb resident on pension from the NIU police, and he works as a private consultant on crime prevention. Bandy said he served two terms for the board 25 years ago and has more experience as an older candidate.

“There’s not much difference between me and [Genteman]. We share many ideas in common,” Bandy said. “But I’ll have more time to devote to the board if I’m elected.”

Bandy said his top priority if elected would be to change the budget system to zero-based budgeting in which the budget would be rebuilt every year from zero instead of continuing onto the next year with outdated expenses.

“For three years, money has been taken from emergency funds to keep the budget balanced,” Bandy said. “This puts the county at risk of a catastrophic financial loss.”

Bandy said he also wants to decrease the money paid to board members per meeting from $100 to $1.

“[Board members] should be serving for honor of their position,” Bandy said. “This wouldn’t necessarily result in a huge financial savings for DeKalb County, but it [would] be symbolic of the board’s commitment to a lower budget.”

Genteman will graduate from NIU in December with a bachelor’s degree in political science and an emphasis in public administration and international relations. Genteman said he plans to pursue his master’s in public administration at NIU. Genteman was previously a combat medic in the Army for 11 years, and he said his experience there has given him leadership skills that can be used if elected to the County Board.

“Many of the current board members are disconnected from their constituents and act in their own self-interests,” Genteman said. “I am running to be the representative voice of my constituents.”

Genteman said he wants the County Board to get residents more involved in local government and hold more meetings where residents can voice their concerns.

“County government has to reconnect with their constituents,” Genteman said. “This can help us bring fresh ideas to solve county problems and it will help prevent the elitist mindset that is prevalent on the county board.”

If elected, Genteman said his first priority is to fix the county’s property tax situation.

“Our county’s property tax rate is 53rd-highest in the country,” Genteman said. “The burden rests upon the county residents while the county government continues to spend down its reserves by almost $900,000 each year. Before raising property taxes we must review the efficiency and effectiveness of the administration system.”

According to the DeKalb County Board website, members are elected for four-year terms, and two members are elected in each of the 12 Districts. One member for each District is elected using a two-year rotation.

The winner of the November general election will take Julia Fauci’s spot for District 9. She is not seeking re-election.

The DeKalb County Board establishes the budget for several funds and levies taxes. Board members also promote policies, rules and regulations for the management of DeKalb County operations.