Village of Lakewood
Bachelor's Degree, Chemical Engineering, Purdue University
Master's Degree, Business Administration (MBA), Michigan State University
Real Property and Business Valuation, www.ExactValuations.com
Divorced, Michaelene George
On the Record
What experiences do you have that make you a good candidate for office?
(1) Experience. • Eleven years of appraisal experience, 30 years of diverse valuation experience and 40 years of general business experience dealing with and resolving real financial and leadership problems. • I’ve successfully managed multi-million dollar budgets and P&L responsibilities while displaying cohesive executive leadership of hundreds of people. (2) Advanced education, multi-state appraiser certifications and construction experience. • An MBA from Michigan State University. • Certified Appraiser status in Illinois and Wisconsin with FHA and VA authorizations. As an appraiser, I’m held personally accountable and liable for the valuations I set. That level of accountability is something the residents of Grafton should expect from their assessor. • Growing-up as the son of a general contractor and working every summer at his side, I learned the building trade firsthand: residential to industrial. Even stick-built my first house! (3) Executive vision. • The \\\"job\\\" extends far beyond the day-to-day activities. It includes looking at what the \\\"job\\\" was intended to achieve and how to ultimately get there. • In the case of an assessor, it\\\'s accurately establishing property values leading to the fair treatment of taxpayers. • Extending the concept of fair treatment with executive vision brings my proposed Property Taxpayer Bill of Rights into perspective.
What are your top two or three priorities if elected?
There are two equally important priorities. 1. Providing an efficient, effective and working system for accurate, fair and timely assessments that only an engineer and an appraiser can set in place. 2. Championing a Property Taxpayer Bill of Rights to level the playing field for all Illinois property owners. Grafton Township is in dire financial straits. My focus is, and always has been, the speedy healing of our community. The ability to diligently work ourselves out of that financial pit will require astute financial planning and management by our Trustees. For that to occur, the new Trustees will require accurate and timely assessments so prudent and realistic cash flow plans can be initiated. There can be no “Sorry, I missed that.” because there will be no “second chance.” My ability to be a high-contribution team member in turnaround situations is why I chose to enter this race offering my education, experience and qualifications in my bid for assessor.
Would you support freezing your taxing district\'s levy until housing prices rebound? Why or why not?
This is a managerial, not a valuation, issue. That said, my preference is accurate assessments leading to transparent tax rates so the voters can decide. Establishing those accurate and timely assessments would be my first goal. My proposed Property Taxpayer Bill of Rights will level the playing field for all Illinois property owners. That will help ensure all property owners are paying only their fair share. My 11 years of experience as a Certified Appraiser in two states has provided me with a very broad and deep perspective of the residential housing market. What people are seeing now is not a \\\"dip,\\\" it\\\'s a correction. Current values are where housing prices would have been except for the deceptive practices of some lending institutions. Because it\\\'s a correction, and housing prices are likely to match inflation as they have since World War II, freezing levies could well result in an unintended \\\"permanent freeze.\\\" For those reasons, I favor assessment accuracy and a level playing field for property owners versus a \\\"temporary\\\" freeze.
What one decision by the township board do you most disagree with and why?
This is an easy one. The Board\\\'s multiple and repeated decisions to abandon dialog and the quest for consensus and instead pursue costly, wasteful litigation. Grafton Township\\\'s less-fortunate were the ones who paid the ultimate price for those decisions. That\\\'s 180 degrees opposite of the intended charter of Illinois\\\' townships: to provide services for the needy. Three crucial issues must be quickly and completely resolved by Grafton Township\\\'s residents. 1. The township\\\'s grim financial situation. 2. Rebuilding trust in, teamwork with and unified support of its township officials. Professionalism, dialog and consensus must replace lawsuits. 3. Stopping the ongoing in-fighting and name-calling within the community. The past is the past and our focus must be the future. I deeply believe public service is about serving the public not building personal wealth. As my personal contribution to the township\\\'s needy, I’ve promised to donate 10% of my gross assessor salary to the Grafton Food Pantry until times improve for everyone. Having that commitment shared by all the new public officials would be a great start in the healing process.
What was the biggest accomplishment of the board in the past year?
Providing the services they did and staying solvent.
Why should voters elect you to office?
1. Valuation credentials (Certified Appraiser) above the required minimum (CIAO). 2. Advanced education. 3. Decades of business experience including $100 million+ budget and P&L responsibility. This is a pivotal time for Grafton Township on numerous levels with the two predominant being regaining its financial stability and community cohesiveness. Grafton Township has endured more than its fair share of abrasion, acrimony and internal attacks; it needs to move forward with its residents burying hatchets and cohesively working together. Remaining at odds is an unpalatable, financially-ruinous alternative. My extensive business background can be a catalyst in the community’s healing process. It\\\'s crucial that Grafton\\\'s $1.6 billion assessed property value be placed in the hands of a veteran professional with proven risk-management and leadership skills. My opponent has neither. My education and broad senior executive experience will help the new Trustees navigate the treacherous financial straits ahead. My commitment to this community remains absolute and I plan to use my decades of business skills and diverse valuation experience helping the new Trustees’ in their financial planning in every way possible. When elected, in addition to Grafton Township getting a highly-qualified assessor, it will get a valuable and seasoned business leadership resource as well.