DuPage Dems Difference Maker – Jean Kaczmarek
*Write-Up below submitted by Liz Chaplin
Years before Jean held public office she was already making a difference in DuPage County. Jean was working tirelessly to ensure our electoral process was fair and just. Jean has also worked to strengthen the DuPage County Ethics Policy and alerted the Dupage County Board of Open Meeting Act violations.
Jean impacted positive change in the county particularly at the Election Commission. She was behind both an Illinois Attorney General opinion and an amendment to the Illinois Election Code to stop the Commission’s non-compliance with the Illinois Local Records Act for the destruction of records. She discovered that records that were denied to citizens under the Freedom of Information Act were being stored in a warehouse owned by the Commission Chairman’s brother, forcing the county to quickly relocate records. In 2008, she alerted the media of the conflict of interest of the Commission’s attorney’s contributions and political ties to a judge hearing a ballot objection appeal; the judge recused himself and from future Commission cases.
In 2006, Jean began alerting the media about the shocking conflicts of interest and over-billing of a local ballot-printing firm. After a new board was seated, she doubled down on the conflicts of interest and over billing. It took years of attending meetings and making public comments but finally in 2014 new printing company was awarded the contract. A lot of tax-payer dollars were needlessly wasted over the years, as much as half a million dollars annually.
Jean attended every DuPage County Board Ad Hoc Committee meeting on transparency in 2009. Some of her suggestions to the committee led to amendments in the county’s ethics ordinance. Jean was instrumental in slowing down a vote for raises for county elected officials due to an Open Meetings Act violation. The delay placed attention on the undeserving high salary of the county clerk.
Since Jean has been elected Clerk she has done more in her short time than her two predecessors. One of the first things Jean did was partnering with the Illinois State Archives office to preserve the county’s historic records. One of Jean’s biggest concerns was that the old records were being kept all over the office and could be potentially harmed or destroyed. After talking with DuPage County resident Charles Matze, a member of the DuPage Genealogical Society Jean took action. The State Archive will help the county with the microfilming and preservation of historical vital records in our custody. The next action Jean took was to clean the voter rolls. State statute requires that this be done every two years. As far as Jean could tell this had not been done for at least 8 years. Jean mailed cards to every registered household in DuPage requesting the verification of the voters at each residence.
Jean also was able to get the funding for the desperately need e-pollbooks. Working with the League of Women Voters of DuPage Jean was able to get the 1,000 electronic poll books to replace its 900 out dated devices to ensure smooth operations during the March 2020 primary and the November 2020 general elections.
Simply put you will be hard pressed to find an elected official that is as ethical, committed and hardworking as Jean. DuPage County is so fortunate to have Jean working on their behalf.