Office sought: Trustee, Homewood Public Library District
Name: Murray L. Barr
Address: 1459 Olive Rd., Homewood, IL 60430
Date of birth: September 3, 1952
Web site: No campaign Web site
Twitter handle: None
Home phone: 708-799-7476
Work phone: 708-332-9244
Education: Juris Doctor American University, Washington College of Law, Washington, D.C.;
Bachelor of Arts, Georgetown University, Washington, D.C.
Occupation, employer: Attorney, self-employed, Murray L. Barr, Attorney at Law
Please list all sources of income: primary sources of income are: Murray L. Barr, Attorney at Law; Gwen Barr, CRNA
Spouse, spouse’s employer: Gwen Barr, Gwendolyn Barr, LLC
Children, age of children, children’s employer (if applicable): Chris Barr; Katherine Barr; Michael Barr
Please list any relatives, including in-laws, who are employed by a government agency at the federal, state or local levels. What are their job titles and with what agency are they employed?
Carney Barr, CFO, Rich Township.
What other elected offices have you sought? What year? Trustee, Homewood Public Library District, 2005, elected.
Have you ever been arrested or charged with a crime? If so, for what? What was the disposition?
No, N/A, N/A d
Do you have any criminal convictions on your record? If so, for what? What was your sentence?
No, N/A, N/A
Political (elected or significant appointment) experience:
Member, Homewood Zone Board of Appeals, 1990 through 2010.
Trustee, Homewood Public Library District, 2005 to present; Current vice president, former president.
Trustee, Metropolitan Library District, 2010 to present.
In your view, what are the two most important issues facing your constituents? How would you address those issues?
Issue 1: Limited Resources, Growing Needs. Our economy is still in a recession and our constituents are facing mounting financial pressures. Incomes are flat or decreasing; property values have decreased; and expenses are increasing. The Homewood Public Library District (HPLD) has adopted a fiscally conservative approach to its expenditures and investments. We have learned to live within our means by saying “no” — postponing or foregoing expenditures.
Issue 2: Decreasing Services. While the HPLD finances are currently healthy and it is maintaining its services for its patrons, other library service providers are suffering. Specifically, the state is behind on its payment to the Metropolitan Library Service, a provider of catalog and delivery services for our library; and legislation has been introduced to reduce expenditures for library services. HPLD is evaluating its alternatives.
Please explain something significant you would like to accomplish within the next two years if you are elected to the office to which you aspire.
If we can sustain, maintain and improve upon the services that we are currently providing to our patrons during this period of financial crisis for the state, we will have achieved victory. Please explain how you believe the office you’re seeking can help in creating local jobs. We hire and employ staff, but the major contribution of the library is to provide its patrons access to information concerning employment opportunities and access to the tools needed for self-improvement, education and research.
Do you believe the current way Illinois pays for education is working? If so, why? If not, why
not? What would you change?
No. Currently, most funding for education comes from local property taxes which leads to inequality in education amongst school districts. State funding reduced, to some degree, the disparity in funding education. When property values decrease and state funding disappears, you have a calamity for the schools. Funding of education is only one component of the formula for providing a good education. The entire education system is in need of an overhaul.
Would you make any changes to the budget of the governing unit to which you are seeking elected office? If so, what?
No. The budget represents the consensus of those elected to monitor the finances of the Library. We receive monthly reports and an itemization of expenditures. All items are subject to discussion and debate. The Library is also audited by an independent accounting firm and we must file reports with the Secretary of State. It is an open, transparent process.
Are there any other issues you want to bring to the public’s attention? If so, what?
This is an uncontested election. Each of the other candidates is highly qualified and it has been my pleasure to work with them while a Trustee of the Homewood Public Library District. We come from different backgrounds and experiences and this diversification of talent has greatly benefited the library district. My background is legal; another candidate’s background is public accounting; another candidate’s background is school administration; and the final candidate’s background is as a professional librarian. Everyone shares the same goal of making our library the best library possible.