Jonathan W. Keller

River Forest Village Clerk Candidate

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*EDITOR’S NOTE: Candidates submitted their own biographies

I am a work-in-progress Husband and Father of five children, and completely devoted to both. My professional career includes decades of sales experiences as an individual contributor, as a team member, and as a mentor/manager. I love sales – every aspect of it. I only hate three things in life – missing my kid’s sporting events; missing a date night with my partner & wife Kara; and whenever Michigan State loses.

I am a relatively quiet individual, but when I’m ready to speak I strive to offer kind, thoughtful, and insightful comments. I recently entered the real estate arena with my wife & partner after I left the Corporate World of marketing and advertising over two years ago.

With my wife we have owned seven homes in the Chicagoland area, four of which were complete gut jobs. The last two rehab projects were in River Forest and included my first experience with the Village Board. I needed a Variance granted for a new second floor on our home on Greenfield and presented to the Board my goals & needs. This was my first experience with River Forest politics and I vowed that it would not be my last. 


How do you intend to increase access to public records and information for the public and what does transparency mean to you? 

First, I would have to determine what barriers exist from preventing the full access of information to the public, and why they exist. Then, trouble-shoot how to overcome any barriers that are unreasonable. Transparency to me is providing access to information on any budgeted project within the Village that uses taxpayer funds.

Do you believe all Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests and responses should be made publicly available on the village website and why? 

If providing this information is easy and does not require any additional burdens on the present staff, then yes. I do believe that citizenship requires effort, so providing any and all FOIA requests at additional tax payer expense may not be prudent.

What do you want to accomplish as clerk and why are you motivated to pursue this office? 

I want to learn how the Village works – from planning to budgeting to execution. I want to contribute my opinion on matters that are important to me, but only in an attempt to help voting board members make more educated decisions. My two main goals in pursuing the Clerk position are 1) learning how the Village works; 2) making a contribution to the Village through my public service.

As the village clerk participates in village board meetings but does not have the authority to vote and as such remains a neutral party, will you allow your personal opinions and values to hinder your ability to carry out the duties of the position? How? 

I do not believe that the lack of voting rights determines neutrality, nor a lack of participation in discussions that are important to the taxpayers and business owners. The Board has their own checks & balances and the role of Clerk does not interfere with those in any way. I plan on working hard on educating myself and participating when I’m fully ready to make a contribution. 

How do you intend to expand engagement between citizens and the village clerk? 

First, I would have to determine if there is a structural barrier to the present level of engagement between the Clerk and the community. I personally have not experienced any barriers during my time living here, but if there is any level of disappointment within the public in how approachable the Clerk is I would provide more access. 

Why is transparency in government important and what does transparency mean to you? 

Transparency breeds trust and confidence in government, which is essential to a content populace. I do not favor back-room deals or any side-stepping of rules and regulations in regards to public works, village developments, etc. It’s critically important for residents of the Village to know that their elected officials are working 100% in their best interest.

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