Steffen: Wins aside, 'we still have work to do' on Rock Island board
Running on a record of helping to streamline operations, Rock Island County Board member Kenneth “Mike” Steffen says it's important he is re-elected because “we still have more work to do.”
Steffen is also the Rock Island GOP chairman.
The board's accomplishments include eliminating some costly line items from the county budget. The commissioners, who serve part time, no longer receive health care and pension benefits, and the board chairman’s salary has been trimmed from almost $100,000 to $22,000.
Steffen listed these accomplishments on a candidate questionnaire from the Dispatch-Argus. In addition to shaving expenses by 10 percent, Steffen said the board was able to digitize Recorder’s Office records.
Still, he noted the biweekly payroll for the city was $875,000 and a deficit of $3 million is looming.
“I’d like to be part of the decision-making process to reduce payroll without losing talented personnel,” he said in the questionnaire, tasks he envisions performing “with a scalpel instead of a hatchet.”
A key accomplishment of the board during Steffen’s tenure was keeping Exelon, one of the area’s largest employers, from walking.
“The most important issue facing residents of (Rock Island County) is keeping current employers while attracting new ones,” he said. “We need good-paying jobs, not just minimum wage (work).”
A retired special education teacher, Steffen said providing incentives for college graduates to stay in the county and enhanced vocational training for skilled labor are key to retain employers.
Another issue he wants to address is the fiscal crisis enveloping Hope Creek Nursing Home, which he said was facing a projected $5.3 million deficit. His recommended solution is bringing in a new firm as owner/manager to rescue this “wonderful” community asset, he said.
“As a retiree, I have the time and desire to listen to my constituents and vote accordingly,” he said. “It's one of many ways in which I give back to the community that helped Darlene and I raise three successful children. That's why I would appreciate your vote on Nov. 6.”