Elia Gallegos

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Below are candidate-submitted answers to a biographical survey Wednesday Journal sent out to all candidates running in this year's elections.

Age: 40

Previous political experience: None 

Previous community experience: Village Staff for the past 9 years

Occupation: Grants Coordinator 

Education: Effectively working on Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration. 

How does your professional and/or volunteer experience qualify you to serve as village clerk? 

I have over 20 years of exceptional customer service experience.  I am efficient in responding to the needs of Oak Parkers and I take pride in making sure that current, comprehensive, and accurate information is available to meet the needs of the residents, organizations, businesses, the Village Manager, the Village Mayor, the Board of Trustees, and Village Hall Staff.  During my nine years of experience working for the Village of Oak Park I have focused on administering federally funded housing programs for low-to-moderate income households and affordable housing.  In addition, I administer federal funding for not-for-profit organizations for public services through a competitive application process, which applications are in turn vetted and recommended for approval by a citizens' committee to the Board of Trustees. I am experienced in the annual budget process for the division, Neighborhood Services

What do you see as the primary function of the village clerk and what would your approach be to fulfilling those duties?

The Village Clerk's office has a responsibility to comply with state  statutes and the Village Code which are legal functions of the job to ensure the proper receipt and handling of official documents related to the business of the Village of Oak Park. This includes the maintenance of ordinances, resolutions, and agreements/contracts approved by the Board of Trustees.  The proper maintenance of records will ensure accessibility to all residents.  My approach is to continue to comply with the appropriate state and local government laws in that capacity. My background encompasses following and implementing policies and regulatory requirements. Other functions include, record the proceedings of all Village Board meetings, Liaison for residents and Village Citizen Involvement Commission, Chair for Special Events team, Local Election authority and registrar for voters, and keeper of the corporate seal.  Just to name a few.

What new ideas would you bring to the position of village clerk in providing outreach to residents?

I believe that an open door policy is key to building meaningful connections.  My vision is to make all residents feel welcomed at Village Hall by offering several options to accessibility to records via social media and/or, if elected, to the Village Clerk.  I will strive to open a direct method of communication "ask the Clerk" page to better serve the needs of the community to build trust and efficiency.  Exceptional customer service delivery is more than act of taking care of someone's needs but also creating a relationship of trust and loyalty beyond the immediate interaction.

What are your thoughts concerning the changing role of village clerk? Many of the clerk's responsibilities have been eliminated and moved to other departments over the last decade. Is the reduced role of the clerk a good thing or a bad thing? Should any of the clerk's duties that have been taken away be restored and why?

  • The changing role has in some ways, resulted in an improved customer service experience, streamlining processes and taking advantage of technology. Many of the services formerly handled by the Clerk's office have been transferred to departments with more direct involvement with those services and able to provide more immediate, and therefore, better service.  Maintaining functions that go hand in hand is an efficient and structured method to making accessibility greater to the public accessibility.
  • I feel that one area which should be handled by the Village Clerk office is the maintenance of records and will prioritize discussions with the Village Manager and staff to return that  function to the Village Clerk's Office.   I look forward to new digital services which will make retrieval of records more timely. 

How would you attract more volunteers to serve on citizen commissions?

The Village Clerk is the Liaison for residents and Citizen Involvement Commission, which is responsible for recruiting citizen participation to serve on commissions.  First, I will ensure that the Citizen Involvement Commission has access to the resources needed to promote citizen participation.  Second, discuss strategies and coordinate an annual workshop and invite interested citizens to meet with the chair of their preferred commission to obtain information of the responsibilities and expectations to serve as a member.  Maintaining an active list of future vacancies for all commissions is a structured and efficient way to ensure that vacancies are filled immediately.

Interestingly, vacancies on Boards and Commissions is relatively low. There are only five current vacancies, with three of those being on the Citizen's Involvement Commission. I congratulate CIC for reaching such a high level of participation. 

It is not in the Village Clerk's responsibilities to attract volunteers to serve on the Boards and Commissions. That is by Code the responsibility of CIC. The Clerk is the Liaison to the CIC. As Clerk, I will support all efforts by CIC to attract volunteers, and encourage efforts to expand the diversity of the membership.

Reader Comments

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Michael Giordano  

Posted: March 15th, 2017 5:37 PM

(previous message continued) She has a complete and thorough understanding of the Fair Housing Act of 1968 and how its lawful implementation can truly transform generations of lives. Being a mother is another unmistakable source of pride for Elia. In that cherished role, she has been the architect of two extraordinary daughters - one of whom recently just graduated from Loyola University Chicago with a Bachelor's Degree in Psychology while minoring in Criminal Justice. In addition, Elia is bilingual in English and Spanish, not to mention very proud of her Mexican heritage. Maybe most importantly, she's hungry to succeed for herself and her fellow Oak Park neighbors in this new chapter of her professional life. Elia is precisely the type of woman that Oak Parkers should feel a sense of pride in being represented by her. A vote for Elia Gallegos is vote for new ideas from a new voice. A vote for Elia Gallegos illustrates a resolve to continue forging a progressive trajectory for the Village of Oak Park. Elia Gallegos is a rising star in Oak Park Politics that residents should be excited about. A vote for Elia Gallegos will enable that star to shine brightly. Best regards, Michael mgiordano@luc.edu

Michael Giordano  

Posted: March 15th, 2017 5:34 PM

Hello. My name is Michael Giordano. I'm reaching out to you, the citizens of the Village of Oak Park, because you have a golden opportunity to elect a remarkable woman as your next Village Clerk on Tuesday, April 4th. I strongly urge you to place your trust in and cast your ballot for Ms. Elia Gallegos on Election Day. Ms. Gallegos was a co-worker of mine at Citibank and, thus, I have known her for over ten years. Elia was a vital asset to the Magnificent Mile Financial Center and its success due to her constant professionalism and utmost care and concern for our clients. She was a pleasure to work with and this made her an invaluable member of our team. Elia has routinely expressed an interest in politics as a way for her to make a significant and lasting impact on her community. Although she may not say it explicitly, she loves Oak Park and everything its residents symbolize and strive for. Elia is passionate about being the voice for individuals who are often marginalized in our society. She relishes this opportunity and sees it as both a privilege and responsibility. Her honesty, empathy, and trustworthiness will never need to be questioned as they are readily apparent. From my vantage point and as someone who was born in Oak Park and grew-up in nearby Elmwood Park, Oak Parkers appropriately pride themselves on having created one of the most (if not, the most) diverse communities in our nation. Logically, this diversity should extend to your legislative government. If this is indeed true, then Elia Gallegos is the perfect choice for Village Clerk. She is unquestionably qualified for the office as she has been your Grants Coordinator for Community Development Block Grants in the Neighborhood Services Division at Village Hall since April 14th, 2008. This means that she already has experience in directly and transparently working with you, her (hopefully) soon-to-be constituents.

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