Joliet Park District Board of Commissioners candidate David Talarico submitted this questionnaire, answering The Herald-News' questions about the 2017 park board race.
Name: David J. Talarico
Political party: N/A
Address: 648 Cassie Drive, Joliet
Marital status: Married
Significant other: Rebecca Talarico
Profession: Sales Manager
Employer: 3M Company
Email address: DTalarico@comcast.net
Children: David Jr., Robert, Joseph and Tom
Education: Bachelor’s Degree (University of St. Francis), Associates Degree (Joliet Junior College), High School (Joliet East/Joliet Central)
Why are you running for the Joliet Park District Board of Commissioners?
I was approached by a couple of Board Members encouraging me to run. I am a lifelong Joliet area resident and taxpayer. I have experience working with Boards, Administrations, Unions and the public and feel I can add value to the Joliet Park District. The Park District Board should not be a training ground for want to be Board Members. Experience matters. I feel my experience on numerous Boards would help make becoming a Park District Commissioner a seamless transition. Whether it is our $18 million dollar budget, expansion plans or cutbacks, the Joliet Park District is a valuable asset and it must be supervised by experienced, responsible and ethical Board members.
What are your qualifications to serve as a park board member?
I have been a key contributor on the Troy 30c School Board for 8 years. I have been responsible for a $53 million dollar budget and contract negotiations with the Troy Education Association. I have stood up for teachers, taxpayers and most importantly the students to challenge the status quo. I have truly enjoyed being on the Troy Board but feel I am ready for a new challenge. In addition to Troy, I have also been on the St. Joes Pony Baseball Board, Cathedral of St. Raymond School Board and the Taylor Pirc Video Camera Project. I am beholden to the residents of the district and promise to always be accessible, accountable and professional.
What are the greatest challenges the district is facing in the coming years?
In 2014 a referendum was passed with a promise, among other things, to build a facility at Nowell Park. Here we are three (3) years later and nothing has been added. I feel information has not been communicated properly by the administration to the taxpayers about the delay. I will fight hard to get a shovel in the ground at Nowell Park before this year is over. In addition, I have concerns about the facilities that we have, making sure they are 1) secure 2) clean 3) accessible and 4) properly staffed. I am a sports fan, but also a taxpayer and will do as much as possible to make sure my voice is heard on the Board when it comes to renovations, expansions or cutbacks. Lastly, transparency is a huge issue. I want to make sure whatever we are working on should be communicated on social media, emails, websites and available to the public. The people of the community should have a say about how the District is run and how we can make it better.
If elected, what will be your top three priorities?
Getting a shovel in the ground at Nowell Park. A facility at Nowell Park has been promised for too long and it is time to give the east side residents a facility they can be proud of.
Increased safety: I applaud the existing Board for putting security camera’s in Park District facilities, but we need to go further. Pilcher Park for years, has been problematic with safety issues, vandalism and dumping. We need to pay to have off duty Joliet Police Officers in the Parks regularly. Increased Police presence and new technology would give us the ability to make our facilities safer for all residents and visitors.
We need to develop a 7 year plan that prioritizes our goals and the financial implications related to it. This plan must be developed and shared with the public, visible on the web site. I’ve heard from a number of people about the need to improve the Softball complex at Inwood, Nowell Park, Pilcher Park and others. We must move forward with improvements in a financially sound, methodical manner. My experience on the Troy Board will help get this done and I would appreciate your support. Thank you.