About the Candidate

Name: Dan Patlak
DOB: March 13, 1962
Occupation: Full time Commissioner, Cook County Board of Review-1st District
Political Experience:
Served as a Commissioner at the Board since 2010
Wheeling Township Assessor from 2006‐2010
Analyst at the Board specializing in residential, commercial apartment and exempt properties 1999‐2006.
Represented the Board at over 500 Property Tax Appeal Board Hearings
Certified Illinois Assessing Officer
Graduate of the Real Estate Institute
Real Estate Broker since 1986
BS in Business Administration with concentration in Finance, Valparaiso University
Board Member East Maine District 63 from 1995‐1997
Member Citizens Against Government Waste
Member International Association of Assessing Officers
Member of National and Illinois Association of Realtors
Website: ElectPatlak.com

Candidate Statement

Hello everyone. My name is Dan Patlak and I’m a candidate for commissioner of the Cook County Board of Review.

I’ve served as the first ever full-time commissioner at the Board and am running for re-election because I love my job. Each day, I get to help regular taxpayers who believe they are over assessed, by applying experience accumulated over thirty years in the real estate and property assessment field. I’ve been a licensed Realtor since 1986 and am a graduate of the Real Estate Institute.

I am a Certified Illinois Assessing Officer and was twice elected as Wheeling Township Assessor. Most important, I served eight years as an analyst at the Board of Review. That experience prepared me to hit the ground running when I was first elected to the Board, so we could make the appeal process easier for regular people.

One of my goals has been to educate homeowners about the appeal process so they won’t need to pay an attorney. My staff and I have put a premium on customer service and making it easy to appeal from the comfort of your own home.

Over the years, I’ve made presentations at four hundred assessment appeal seminars explaining how to file an appeal online or by mail. Now that covid has made it difficult to gather, I’ve created a webinar where property-owners can get their written questions answered by my staff and I as the webinar is playing.

We’ve created DanPatlak.com, a one stop shop that provides answers to Frequently Asked Questions and videos explaining how the property tax system works and how you can file an appeal. We’ve also published an easy to read brochure on the appeal process that can be accessed on-line.

My pledge to you is that each morning when I arrive at work, I will continue to make the Board of Review more accessible, transparent and efficient for ordinary taxpayers. On November 3rd please cast your vote for me, Dan Patlak, your proven taxpayer advocate.

Thanks for watching.

Candidate Q&A

Why are you running?

I want to use my first-hand experience, education and knowledge to continue improving operations at the Board so that it is more efficient, accessible and transparent for average taxpayers.

The people of Cook County deserve to have public officials who are actually qualified to be in the positions they occupy. My background and experience make me the better candidate for this position. Prior to running for Commissioner of the Board of Review, I spent twenty years acquiring the knowledge and experience to properly execute the duties required of a Commissioner. I served on a local school board. I organized a Cook County affiliate of Citizens Against Government Waste to protest wasteful spending and high taxes. I worked as a full time Realtor, graduated from the Real Estate Institute and served as an Analyst at the Board of Review for eight years. During my time at the Board, I took classes at my own expense offered by the Illinois Department of Revenue and the Illinois Property Assessment Institute in order to earn my Certified Illinois Assessing Officer designation. I also served five years as the Wheeling Township Assessor. For the past ten years it has been my privilege to serve as Commissioner at the Board of Review and I ask my fellow citizens to allow me to continue in that role.

What is your vision for this office?

My vision is to continue the great work we have done in the past by making further improvements in our efficiency, transparency and accessibility. Here are some of the things we are working to achieving in the next year:

Digital Appeals Processing System
Each year, as our budget has allowed, we have made incremental improvements to the most important/significant tool at the BoR, the Digital Appeals Processing System. As a result, we have kept pace with an appeal volume that continues to increase year after year and which has doubled since 2007. The coming year will be no different. We plan to do the following:
Increase d‐base and workflow computer speeds
Improve system integration for the processing of related complaints within condo and townhouse complexes
Integrating analytical tools into our digital evidence and processing work flow.
Making market sales data easier to access for our analysts
Improving the handling and storage of electronic documents

We have brought the Board to an exceptionally high level of transparency and accountability and have committed to maintaining these high standards. We plan to increase the amount of data available on our web site regarding appeals filed that has until now required a FOIA request to access. As a result, the public will have instant access to additional Board data and the Board will spend less time responding to FOIA requests.

We plan to make an on‐line bulk filing tool available for those who file large numbers of appeals. This will streamline the process for filers and the Board. The result will be fewer input errors and fewer resulting corrections that would otherwise need to be made.

We will work with the State of Illinois Property Tax Appeal Board as they improve their technology to integrate with the BoR’s system. This will improve speed, accuracy and reduce work flow times which will assist in the timely resolution of PTAB cases and the backlog of cases.

The last of our one million plus paper files (which once contained tens of millions of pages of evidence) remaining from our pre‐DAPS era will be disposed of and destroyed as allowed by law. The freed‐up space will then be available to other county offices.

What do you think is the most pressing issue facing your constituents and how do you plan on addressing it?

The most pressing issue for my constituents and for all taxpayers in Cook County is unfair property taxes. We have been addressing that issue since I became a commissioner by making our operations more efficient, more transparent and more accessible. I seek to educate regular property owners about the property tax and assessment appeal system so they will be empowered and confident in filing an appeal without the help of an attorney. Here are some examples of improvements we have made:

Since 2011 we have published an annual report each year detailing what we do, the number of appeals adjudicated by complaint and PIN, our employee count, budget, number of hearings and number of reductions granted among other pertinent information. Our annual report is available to the public on our web site at www.cookcountyboardofreview.com.

Created the first Freedom of Information page on the BoR web site where information can be easily requested. The Board has a FOIA officer who replies promptly to all requests.

Created a decision data base accessed on our web site where any member of the public can check the Board’s decisions on cases going back ten years. Decisions can be looked up by appellant name, property address, Property Index Number, complaint number and attorney name.

Any appellant who creates an account can view their decision and any notes from the analysts who reviewed their appeal. This information becomes cumulative over multiple years of appeals so that appellants can look at their appeals and the evidence they submitted from past years.

Created danpatlak.com, a comprehensive one stop shop web site for taxpayers with detailed instructions about filing an appeal at the Board of Review and information about other property tax related issues. We seek to provide tools to regular property owners so they will feel comfortable filing an appeal without needing to hire an attorney.

In response to the Covid lockdown, created a one‐hour webinar on how to file an appeal. Property owners can type questions on the chat portion of the presentation and get answers from my staff and I in real time. The webinars began in early August and will be ongoing twice a week until the end of our session.

Created a Facebook Page, Commissioner Dan Patlak, that provides information about our operations at the BoR.

Regularly attend the monthly Cook County Township Assessors Association meetings where I provide updates and answer questions about what’s happening at the Board so local assessors can provide current and accurate information to their constituents.

Started on‐line appeals in 2011 with 91% now appealing online.

Continue to provide paper complaint forms for those who want to file on paper. Those forms are available at our downtown office, on‐line, every local Township Assessor office and at many villages and town halls. We will also mail a form to anyone who requests one.

Created the digital Appeals Processing System allowing appellants to create a permanent file for their properties, upload their evidence and review their decision online.

Reduced waiting time at residential hearings from fifteen to one minute

I am present at every residential hearing session greeting and checking in appellants and answering their questions about the hearing process.

Starting this past March and in response to the closing of the county building, we began offering hearings by telephone. We plan to continue with this while also offering in‐person hearings to those appellants who request them. We have equipped our hearing room with plastic shields for the safety of the public and our staff.

Personally presented four‐hundred Assessment Appeal Seminars to educate and empower taxpayers.

Made additional presentations to several hundred Rotary Clubs, Lions Clubs, Chambers of Commerce, Senior Citizen organizations, Real Estate offices and other local groups and organizations to inform them about the Board of Review and the property tax system in general.

Personally met with over sixty local mayors and village presidents to advise them on services provided by the Board.

Met with administrators from local high schools and elementary schools to advise them about the liability to their districts created by appeals at the Property Tax Appeal Board and their right to intervene in those appeals.

Our analysis of Property Tax Appeal Board liability and its potential impact has led to a PTAB department with designated staff to prepare evidence, attend hearings and negotiate settlements. All PTAB files have been digitized and process automation efforts in coordination with the PTAB in Springfield are currently underway. This has resulted in savings for local schools, villages, park districts, libraries and the taxpayers who fund them.

Our staff has participated in a formal education program through classes offered by the Illinois Property Assessment Institute and Illinois Department of Revenue. Over the past ten years, our staff members have earned more Certified Illinois Assessing Officer designations than any staff in the history of the Board of Review. This assures we perform more quality work and have more consistent decisions.