Get to know the Niles candidates running for mayor and village trustee in Patch.com's ongoing series. Today, we're running the candidate questionnaire of Krzystof "Chris" Hanusiak, who is running for mayor.
Below the questionnaire, read previous published articles about Hanusiak.
Name: Krzysztof “Chris” Hanusiak
How long have you lived in Niles? 14 years
Family: Married with three children
Education: Attended Wright College and University of Illinois, Chicago
Occupation: Small Business Owner, Royal Kitchen and Bath Cabinets Niles, Il
Previous Elected or Appointed Offices:
- Niles Plan Commission and Zoning Board of Appeals Member
- Village of Niles Trustee
Other community involvement:
- Member of Niles VFW Post 7712
- Niles Chamber of Commerce
- North American Martyrs Council 4338 of the Knights of Columbus
- Polish Advisory Council of the State Comptroller’s Office
- President of the Friends of the Niles Library
- Assistant Cubmaster at St. Juliana’s Parish
Campaign E-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org
1. Why are you running for this office?
To continue my pledge to work to bring honesty, openness and integrity to Niles governance. We have experienced too many years where decisions have been made about programs and policies which come from the top down. The Responsible Leadership for Niles, both as a group and as individual members, wants all public meetings to have a period where citizens can speak. Our residents pay the bills so they should have a deliberate and specific chance to make their concerns and ideas known. I will work for the systemization of the processes by which businesses initiate or alter their tax relationship with the village, processes which ensure fairness and equanimity for every business.
2. What are the top issues facing the village of Niles right now, in your view?
Our village faces the same general issues which every other branch and level of government face: financing, infrastructure renewal, services for specific age groups, taxing policies, public transportation modes and beautification with “green” initiatives. None of these is really separate from the others as there is a lot of overlapping. It takes consistent and competent leadership on the village board to sort this out so a sensible and economical set of solutions can be found. We face serious problems regarding employee pension funding as well as union contract negotiation.
3. How should the village be addressing these issues?
By implementing the ideas of the residents and the professionals who have the experience in planning and development. Most of our Niles citizens realize that the village board and the mayor have the final decision to make on so many important matters. The board has to be in regular session with the elected officials being present to participate in the discussions and evaluations. But it is so important that the village always encourage our citizens to make comments in the open to those who have to make the decisions. Good leadership, like good management, is a group effort, not the implementation of some politician’s personal vanity and “rule.”
4. What ideas do you have to improve the village, whether in services, economic development, transportation, outreach to residents, communication, environment or other areas?
This answer is really like the preceding one- complete participation, professionalism, honesty and all done with consideration of sensible tax anticipations.
5. What accomplishments, in public or community service or your professional life, would you like voters to know about?
The public media has reported my community/public commitments in the past. I am grateful for having had the opportunity to join others in library planning and funding, business promotion in professional groups, in the goals of the Sister Cities movement and in the maintenance of the spirit and camaraderie in the Polish-American community. I have a simple and clear goal in all the things I do in public life and for community involvement- give it the best shot and encourage others to join in.
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?
It is interesting that Patch mentions “a thriving business community” in this question. My critics somehow think I am the sole cause of every problem in Niles! We have a solid business community because we have competent and capable leaders in those businesses. The award was won not just because of village government and services but also because of the valuable contributions of our churches, the schools, the library, the park district and the very businesses which indeed do thrive. It’s a community effort, not just a dominance by one group.
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?
A sense of unity is something in our heads. Unity transcends artificial district lines. You mention all these different public school districts, but you might as well add all the parochial schools which are in Niles. All of these have performed their tasks quite well and have achieved merit and distinction for their students. Fractionalization? People have supported public and private schools and still have prospered, and that is certainly not “fractionalization.” As for a downtown, Niles doesn’t have one because of the way our town grew. The Niles Historical Society published a centennial history of the town and it is clear that Niles developed along a Milwaukee Avenue corridor within the town limits as founded. We didn’t have a train stop, or a barge loading river site, just Milwaukee Avenue. There was no impetus to have a downtown anymore than countless communities across Illinois. Chicago has a “Loop” for their downtown, but THAT hardly qualifies as a center of unity!
8. Anything else you would like to add?
Our future faces an obviously rough going and it will be successful only if there is responsible leadership practicing honesty, openness and integrity.
Previous articles about Chris Hanusiak:
- Sister Cities Program Makes Progress In Past Year
- Feds May Probe Possible Niles Corruption
- Meet Trustee Chris Hanusiak
- Trustees React to Renaming 'Plaza Formerly Known as Blase'