When I ran for State’s Attorney four years ago, I made a pledge that I would reduce the office’s budget by 10%. When I made this pledge, some commented that it wasn’t possible, especially not without negatively impacting services. Well, I’m proud to say that I have cut our budget by 12% while at the same time expanding the services we offer.
We accomplished this through a meticulous review of our budget, cutting superfluous positions, leveraging technology upgrades that automate administrative work, and hiring and retaining the best attorneys and staff. We are ensuring that our office is operating as lean and efficient as possible, because through our fiscal responsibility we can provide some tax relief for McHenry County taxpayers.
We are also working tirelessly to improve our court system, implementing programs that do a better job of rehabilitating offenders and reducing the overall cost of the justice system. We began a first offender program that diverts first-time, non-violent misdemeanor offenders from the criminal justice system to a less costly process administered by a volunteer citizen panel that mentors the offenders and imposes the appropriate sanctions and rehabilitative measures. We started the Veterans Track Program to assist veterans who have been charged with criminal offenses, working to rehabilitate and restore these individuals who served our country. And we developed a program for repeat DUI offenders that gives defendants the opportunity to avoid sitting in prison on the taxpayers’ dime by participating in an intensive probationary program that successfully restores participants to sobriety, employment, and community engagement.
It is also imperative that McHenry County remains a safe and profitable place to do business. Every year, our county’s businesses lose millions of dollars to bad checks, theft, and fraud. Vibrant local business is crucial to overall community health and crime reduction. People with jobs who are able to meet the needs of their family through employment are far less likely to commit crime. Crimes against local businesses, therefore, do not just affect bottom lines, they affect us all. Every dollar stolen is one less dollar that can be used to pay an employee, donate to a charity, or otherwise invest in McHenry County. That is why we are working to hold thieves, embezzlers, and fraudsters accountable and reimburse businesses for their crimes.