West Deerfield candidate stresses civic cooperation
Stressing cooperation over competition — with enhanced teamwork among local service groups — Louis Stone revealed his vision for optimum civic functioning in his bid for West Deerfield Township supervisor recently.
A Republican, Stone told the Chicago Tribune that he wants the township’s elected officials to establish a stronger connection with charitable organizations such as Elder Helpers. The group assists older residents with grocery shopping and provides supportive company. Stone sees potential in fortifying the link between that group and the township’s existing food pantry, for example.
The 10-year West Deerfield Township resident is running for supervisor as the sole challenger to incumbent Alyson Feiger. While Feiger has said she has already improved the food pantry, according to the Tribune, Stone envisions an even greater capacity for the organization.
"I'd like to make it big enough to outgrow the basement of the township building," Stone said. "We can work with an organization like Elder Helpers who already does this and do it much better."
As a certified public accountant, Stone brings a financial sensibility to his candidacy. He described his own overview for local investment strategy while emphasizing that he maintains a team approach and keeps an open mind.
“I seek to invest in a manner that makes sense,” he wrote on Facebook. “If someone else is already doing something — and doing it better — let them do it! Help them raise funds to expand their footprint in the community and provide better quality services.”
Stone added that West Deerfield can improve its status by collaborating with other government and nonprofit organizations. He also addressed what he sees as wasteful expenditures and suggested better use of local taxpayer revenue.
Specifically, he expressed disappointment in the township’s having given staffers a 6 percent raise, according to the Lake County Gazette, which noted that Stone promised on his Facebook campaign page that he would take a voluntary pay cut to assist the local financial situation if he’s elected.
“I'll cut my own pay and waive benefits to reinvest those funds in the nonprofit community,” he said.
Stone also encouraged designating more capital for township grants, having told the Gazette that increasing grant size would allow recipients to “grow deeper roots” in the community and enhance the quality of local resources for disadvantaged residents.
"The people in our community aren't getting the best value on their investment in the township,” Stone said.
Additionally, Stone advocated increasing transparency in local management; for example, pledging that he would request taxpayer input prior to implementing any changes in West Deerfield.
“If [townships] are to remain relevant, they must adapt to the changing needs of their residents,” Stone wrote on Facebook. “If a township is to provide meaningful services to its residents, it must work in concert with the existing agencies and the nonprofit community rather than compete for resources and talent.”