Champaign Mayor, Don Gerard, is answering the questions you submitted to the Morning Show.
1. How many furlough hours are you and your staff taking?
A. Mayor Gerard- "The Mayor and Council Members receive a stipend and are not hourly employees. I may work 20 hours one week - as Mayor of Champaign is technically a "part-time" job - and 40 the next. The operating budget for the Mayor and City Manager's Office has been pared substantially over the past few years and I am conscious of how my job uses taxpayer dollars (for example, I typically will pay for my own meals, when initiating new projects or utilizing interns I will cover costs myself until which time the it may become a "City" project, we are making do with existing office supplies and resources whenever possible, etc.). I made a point of stressing "shared responsibility" during my campaign and I appreciate the professionals who serve our community who agree."
2. Should police police themselves?
A. Mayor Gerard- "I am a firm believer in checks and balances in terms of maintaining credibility within any department. For example, our Finance Department is routinely audited by an outside firm to ensure proper procedures and policies are in place. As an elected official it is my responsibility to consider the value judgment we are making in regards to tax-payer dollars. There is a world of potential lawsuits - in the year prior to my election Champaign spent nearly half-a-million dollars settling lawsuits as related to the police department alone. To my mind an audit every few years is a good investment to help our legal staff minimize the amount of litigation by having the evidence our policies and procedures are appropriate and up-to-date."
For the record, as a State Employee, the University of Illinois has established an "oversight committee" devoted to monitoring my actions and establishing - and revising as needed - policies and practices to ensure I do not - whether purposely or without meaning to - commit ethical or legal violations.
3. Are you doing the Polar Plunge this year?
A. Mayor Gerard- "After 14 years and raising nearly $20,000 for the wonderful East Central (Area 8) Region of Special Olympics Illinois I am hanging up my flannel-lined swim trunks. When I first began diving into Lake of the Woods in the middle of Winter there were only a few dozen of us. Now hundreds have joined in the fun. However, that is not to say I won't get cold for a cause - on Friday, February 3, 2012 I will be participating in "One Winter's Night" to raise awareness and financial support for C-U At Home. Here is a link to learn more about the event and this organization - http://www.cuathome.us/one-winter-night.
4. Who's your attack buddy for a zombie apocalypse?
A. Mayor Gerard- "Robert Reese, of course. He is a proven survivor and he is funny as a crutch."
5. Do you like music?
A. Mayor Gerard- "No. I LOVE music...pretty much anything...working for ten years in an independent record store - and playing in a bunch of different bands with varying styles of music - has broadened my appreciation for all kinds of music. Even the stuff my teenage daughter, Chloe, likes!"