ABOUT

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ISSUES

Brendan O’Connor’s mayoral platform has been, and will continue to be, developed by Berwyn residents. It will continue to evolve throughout the campaign.

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Competence and Efficiency

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I believe...

I believe that Berwyn’s residents deserve the best professional public services for their hard-earned tax dollars. Staffing, organization and promotions should be based on qualifications, abilities and taxpayer value, not cronyism and patronage. Contracts should serve residents, not political donors.

I pledge...

  • To work with Berwyn City Council to hire a Certified Public Manager to lead city staff and guide processes and protocols toward established best practices. 

  • To lead a resident-driven review of all city services and departments and adjust staff, organization and leadership based on YOUR input.

  • To review all major city contracts and re-bid those where resident satisfaction is insufficient.

  • To develop a plan with a transparent timeline for eliminating Berwyn’s massive and never ending debt growth.

  • To increase our bond rating. 

  • To devise a professional and cost-effective plan to replace and maintain our sewers that are over 100 years old.

 

Accountability & Transparency

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I believe...

I believe that accountability and transparency are the cornerstones of trust required for a highly functional municipal government. The community must be engaged and confident that the system is working for all Berwyn residents in order to flourish.

I pledge...

  • To have resident-centered communications to keep residents connected to the decision-making process. 

  • To implement ASL interpretation and Spanish language translation/interpretation to all communications and live stream events.

  • To create and execute a comprehensive social media policy.

  • To hire a professional Communication Manager.

  • To hold monthly Town Halls to ensure community voices are acknowledged and empowered.

  • To implement modern, user-friendly city websites to ensure that communication and city services are at the fingertips of our community. 

  • To drive efficiency and transparency by consolidating communication between Berwyn entities wherever possible.

Ethics

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I believe...

I believe that conflicts of interest undermine the relationship between community and government and that clear lines should be drawn and enforced in this regard.

I pledge...

  • To personally avoid any financial conflicts of interest.

  • To reject or return donations from businesses subject to city licensing--including Liquor, Video Gambling, 

  • To reject or return donations from non-Berwyn-resident members of collective bargaining units in order to be an objective representative of Berwyn residents.

  • To propose a comprehensive Ethics Ordinance to eliminate and/or mitigate conflicts of interest.

  • To propose to City Council the termination of all contracts with companies known to engage in corrupt practices or bribery, like SafeSpeed.

Public Safety

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I believe...

I believe that safety is fundamental to peaceful existence in Berwyn. Police Department Leadership must be open and accessible. An environment of trust and inclusion is critical to ensure that all residents are and feel equally-protected under the law. Police leadership must engage continuously with residents--addressing concerns of all kinds and providing guidance to help keep our residents safe. 

I pledge...

  • To require Berwyn Police Department management to hold public meetings, at least monthly, to hear public concerns, provide insights into strategies to improve safety and decrease crime and to respond strategically to expressed concerns.

  • To support recommendations from both the Berwyn Diversity Commission and Berwyn Development Corporation to create a position and hire a professional, multilingual English/Spanish Communication Manager to quickly and thoughtfully interface with the community on critical issues and create systems for ongoing strategic communication.

  • To work with the Police and Fire Commission and the Police Department to ensure that our city, with majority Latinx residents, increases the number of officers able to functionally communicate with residents in Spanish.

 
 
 
 

Diversity & Inclusion

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I believe...

I believe that Berwyn is rich in its diversity and bringing that diversity to City Hall will help ensure resident perspectives and interests are given the proper attention they deserve. 

I pledge...

  • To implement inclusive staffing and hiring processes that foster a welcoming work environment, reflective of the diversity of Berwyn. 

  • To provide training and educational resources to employees to ensure they are working effectively with residents of different nationalities, language, religion, ages, ability, and/or ethnicity.

I believe...

I believe that Fair Housing is a Human Right. We will confront Berwyn’s past as a “Sundown Town” and make sure that all residents, and the rest of the world, understand that everyone of neighborly good will is welcome here.

I pledge...

  • To work with Berwyn’s City Council to review and revise ordinances and committee/commission structures to ensure open and inclusive housing.

  • To acknowledge and confront the realities of Berwyn’s racist history at every opportunity in order to properly move forward as an inclusive, welcoming community.

  • To recognize the potential of a coming housing crisis due to economic hardships created by the COVID-19 pandemic and to help as many Berwyn residents as possible stay in their homes.

I believe...

I believe that socioeconomic diversity is an asset in Berwyn and that development strategies should be designed to reflect the needs of vulnerable populations and protect against displacement of current residents and small businesses. That YOU, our residents, not absentee landlords, are our utmost priority and that renters are a vital part of our community. We must recognize that rent payments pay landlords’ taxes.

I pledge...

  • To designate a Renters’ Ombudsman in City Hall to help renters negotiate problems with landlords and city services and to have that person be easily accessible.

  • To work with Berwyn’s City Council to revise committee/commission structures and makeups to ensure proper representation of and forums for renters.

  • That these services can reduce police calls for domestic issues that can arise from absentee landlords. Reduce trash and blight issues reducing rat problems. Services can be paid for with city employment transfers as some jobs in city hall can and will be streamlined 

  • To work with the Berwyn Development Corporation to prioritize for business development that prioritizes YOU, our residents, in every way. 

  • To work with the Berwyn Development Corporation to develop campaigns to support a better future for current and not just future residents.

  • To balance water and garbage billing to help seniors stay in Berwyn, in their homes as our beloved neighbors, rather than having to flee due to the increasing tax burden.

  • To revise blight citation policies for those that are temporary jobless due to the COVID-19 pandemic, etc., the City-sponsored penalties for hard times that many residents face--particularly during a pandemic. Blight citations should not be an added blow to the temporarily jobless.

I believe...

I believe that Berwyn’s Police and Fire Departments must better reflect the diversity of Berwyn’s residents. We reject the notion that wanting the “very best” public safety professionals requires overwhelmingly white, overwhelming male departments and department leadership. 

I pledge...

  • To require the Police and Fire Commission to formulate and present a comprehensive plan--based on current established best practices--to increase diversity in new hires.

  • To require Berwyn Police and Fire Departments, in consultation with their respective unions, to develop and present a comprehensive plan to ensure that current non-white, non-male staff have a supportive environment to develop and thrive.

  • To require periodic reports on progress in these areas, including metrics and qualitative feedback from their diverse staff.

Environment & Beauty

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I believe...

I believe that the quality of our environment is directly linked to the quality of our lives and we all value our beautiful city.

I pledge...

  • To depoliticize the blight process and provide resources for our neighbors to be in compliance.

  • To make Berwyn more bikeable/walkable and to truly encourage these activities.

  • Wherever practical, and as part of all new projects, to plant native plants and streetscapes to return us to the natural landscape of our region.

  • To encourage community/home gardens throughout Berwyn.

  • To promote rain gardens.

  • To enhance our recycling public education campaigns.

  • To address air quality, flooding, lead in water throughout Berwyn.

  • To develop a Green Purchasing program.

  • To develop an anti-littering campaign.

 

Human & Workers' Rights

I believe...

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I believe we are all essential and that labor unions have been critical to progress in human rights and quality of life in the United States.

I pledge...

  • To vehemently support and union labor within the bounds of my collective bargaining responsibilities.

  • To unequivocally support the notion that Black Lives Matter, always.

  • To proclaim, always, that no human is illegal and that citizenship status has no bearing on our city’s responsibilities to you.

  • To support current and future LGBTQIA  efforts and initiatives.

  • To support Women’s Rights as Human Rights and make every effort to end violence, inequity and discrimination against women.

  • To continue to support all progressive efforts regarding minimum or living wages.

 

Rats

I believe...

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I believe that Berwyn is being overrun with rats and that is a public health and quality-of-life issue. City Government and residents must work together, leverage our creativity and resources and eliminate this scourge.

I pledge...

  • To leverage current best practices in eliminating rats. We are not the only town with this problem and we must learn from those having success across the region and country.

  • To form a private/public Rat Task Force with meetings and reporting progress monthly.

  • To educate and empower residents to eliminate rats on their property.

  • To form localized teams to support their blocks and neighborhoods.

  • To leverage technology to communicate effectively and continuously and use resources most effectively.

 

Fair Tax - Fiscal Responsibility

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I believe...

I believe the success of the proposed Illinois “Fair Tax” Amendment is critical to Berwyn’s fiscal future. Moving toward a progressive tax system will allow true societal costs to be born by the most appropriate parties, and will help bring Berwyn’s budget into true balance. Even with the passage of the Fair Tax, Berwyn will require additional revenue sources and fiscal responsibility.

I pledge...

  • To support the Illinois “Fair Tax” Amendment via digital media and at the polls.

  • To research and recommend additional future revenue sources.

  • To ensure that procurement standards are consistently high and I will only support sole-source, no-bid contracts in extreme situations.

 

COVID-19 & Berwyn

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I believe...

I believe we are facing unprecedented challenges in the COVID-19 era--across all aspects of our lives and city government. 

I pledge...

  • To address the specific ways BIPOC, essential workers and other vulnerable populations are disproportionately affected by COVID-19 in Berwyn. 

  • To research and recommend new revenue sources to offset revenue gaps left from COVID-19. 

  • Extend resources to our non-profit mental health, youth, senior and domestic violence service providers to ensure our resident’s physical safety, enrichment and mental health needs are being met.