Name: James T. Hynes
How long have you lived in Niles? 36 years
Family: My wife Mary Ann and I have been married for 44 years and have two children, Christina and Nicholas, who have two children each, and all live in Niles, actually across the street from us.
Education: BBA, MBA, and JD with honors
Occupation: Retired attorney and part-time Law Professor
Previous Elected or Appointed Offices (please include years of service): Currently Niles VillageTrustee (Appointed in 9/09, and elected in 4/11; Chairman, Niles Planning and Zoning Board of Appeals; Member, Niles Planning and Zoning Committee (2008 -2009); Elected Board Member of the Niles Park District (1997- 2010).
Other community involvement: Member, Niles Sister Cities; Lector, St. Juliana Parish; former member Parish Council, St. Juliana Parish; Member Executive Committee of the Four Stars of Chicago, the major fund raiser in Chicago for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital (2002 - present); Member, Financial Advisory Committee for Visitation School, Chicago.
Campaign E-mail address (for publication):
Campaign committee (names and contact info): The Responsible Leadership for Niles Party
Campaign Facebook: None
Campaign Twitter: None
1. Why are you running for this office?
With my family I have lived in Niles for over 36 years, and now both of our children, and our four grandchildren live in Niles, luckily for us just across the street. Our family has been committed to Niles since we first moved here; my wife's late parents lived next door to us, our children have put roots down here, and with my elected service to our great village both for 12 years on the Park District Board and almost four years as a Trustee on the Village Board I want to continue to contribute my skills and time to keeping Niles "the best place in America to raise a family." I owe it to my children, grandchildren and all of the current and future residents of Niles to do this because Niles is a big part of my family! In order to do this we must have and must encourage full participation of all of the residents in the Village government, with open meetings, clear ethical rules that will be followed and enforced, play no favorites but treat all residents and businesses with respect and dignity.
2. What are the top issues facing the village of Niles right now, in your view?
While there are financial and infrastructure challenges ahead of us, as well as the people issues of family services and senior services, all of these and other important issues can be solved if we trustees work together and work smartly and independently to find solutions that are practical, affordable, and treat all of our residents with respect and give the best services that we can possibly give as a Village.
3. How should the village be addressing these issues?
This can be answered in two words, Leadership and Governance. Leadership means that your elected officials WORK FOR YOU AND NOT THEIR SELF-INTEREST in providing the best service, for the best price with the highest standard of ethics. Governance means that like a Board of Directors of a corporation, the Mayor and the Board of Trustees use the best business methods available to make sure that all employees know their roles, do their job correctly, and are rewarded appropriately. Whenever a project or activity is in trouble or failing, have the internal reporting system in place so leadership can get to the root of the problem quickly and resolve it appropriately. Plan well, follow up, hold people accountable, and get input from the residents to make sure you are accomplishing what they want and need.
4. What ideas do you have to improve the village, whether in services, economic development, transportation, outreach to residents, communication, environment or other areas?
The answer to this question is contained in my answers to question 3 above. But an additional emphasis must be on open communication between the Village's elected and appointed officials and the residents. For too long the Niles government ran as a secret society, no minutes of meetings, no public input into issues or budgets, secret payments to favored employees, but in the last four years that secrecy has been greatly reduced and with the hoped-for results in this election, completely eliminated.
5. What accomplishments, in public or community service or your professional life, would you like voters to know about?
After college and Army service, I went to night school and received an MBA. Following that, I went to law school, graduated with honors, and spent the next 11 years as an Assistant U.S. Attorney, the last 3 years as Chief of the Civil Division, being responsible for 22 attorneys, plus staff and all civil litigation in our district. Following that service I spent six years with Waste Management, Inc. in various positions in the legal and government affairs organizations, and went into private law practice for 13 years. Currently I have retired from active law practice, but when I can I continue to teach law school courses in Food and Drug Law, Agency & Partnership Law, and Appellate Advocacy.
I take great pride in my accomplishments in law and business, especially being the oldest of eight children in a family where I was the first member of the family ever to go to college, and paid my way through all my schooling, including high school. I have been lucky to have found the real inspiration of my life and career in my wife Mary Ann, who also is a very accomplished attorney and business person. She gave me the drive, vision and constant encouragement to succeed in whatever I wanted to accomplish. I have been lucky and successful and I owe it to others to give back where and whenever I can.
6. Niles has a reputation as a thriving business community and it won the Best Affordable Place to Raise Kids honor from Bloomberg/Business Week. What do you envision for its future?
Niles is a very thriving business community. We have gone through an extended recession where many businesses had severe problems, and while we still have some lingering problems, slow but steady improvement in business in Niles has occurred. Our sales tax revenues have steadily increased each quarter for the last three years, and we are on the way back. We must continue to support our existing business by making the function of the village as user-friendly as possible, and not put up roadblocks, and to encourage new businesses to locate in Niles. In so doing we must make sure that all of our regulations and actions are consistent, fair, and treat all businesses equally. No favoritism, but go out of our way to help all.
7. Niles is divided between two townships, two high school districts and multiple elementary school districts. It does not have a downtown or a high school. In light of this fractionalization, what can be done to give Niles a sense of unity?
I don't see fractionalization in Niles. Sure there are a variety of school districts, townships, even park districts, but we are all Niles. We can't invent a downtown, but we can encourage a community spirit where we all work together for a common goal, to keep Niles as the best place in America to raise a family.
8. Anything else you would like to add?
All of the people I am running for office with, Chris Hanusiak for Mayor, Louella Preston and Mary Marusek and myself for trustee strongly believe in an open, ethical and fiscally sound government. There is also one quality that we all have that seems to be lacking in our opponents; we are all independent thinkers who have our own opinions and express them. I last ran for office in 2011 on a ticket with Chris Hanusiak and Joe LoVerde. We all are independent thinkers, and have not always voted the same way on many issues, but like Chris, Louella and Mary today, we all want a better Niles, a more open Niles, a transparent Niles and will all work hard to succeed in these goals.