Times are tough and money is tight for many, and it is even more challenging for those who have less than most. Now the Naperville city government has made it even extra difficult for those with the most need. What makes this unfortunate is that it was unnecessary. It did not have to happen, if only those in charge would have followed due diligence and simply done their jobs properly.
The Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program, administered by Housing Urban Development (HUD) provides federal funding for affordable housing programs and varied service organizations to serve the underprivileged. The city of Naperville failed to produce a mandatory annual report on the use of funds for the years of 2009 and 2010; hence, the city was notified that funding for those programs would be frozen. HUD did further investigation and discovered additional ‘serious’ mistakes of non-compliance by the city of Naperville.
This affects over $430,000 in funds, which would have helped numerous non-profit organizations in Naperville, including Loaves and Fishes (a community pantry) which stands to lose almost $150,000. Keep in mind that this was caused by lack of city oversight resulting major inaccuracies.
So who is in charge of managing the city? Unless his title is incorrect, that would be Naperville City Manager Doug Krieger. Krieger said the CDBG program is ‘very rule and timing-driven and we made some mistakes in processing grants’. That would qualify as an under statement. Apparently, the person in charge of the program is no longer employed by the city; however, the person in charge of managing the city (Doug Krieger) is still employed by the city. Krieger further mentioned that he was “not going to put blame on any single source, since it was really multiple sources.” Krieger went on to say that, he was not sure how the non-compliance and errors continued unchecked. Now here is the kicker-quote, “I don’t think I have a good answer”. Since Krieger an is not sure how this happened and he doesn’t have any answers, this would be code for “I have no idea how to prevent this from happening in the future. This comes from the very person who seems absolutely sure about almost absolutely everything including the Smart Meters. He is absolutely sure they are safe, absolutely sure the information will secure, absolutely sure wasting millions of taxpayer dollars was a wise investment, and absolutely sure the project will work. Based on that the citizens of Naperville might be absolutely in trouble with the council’s decision to implement the not-so Smart Meters .
It is the city manager’s responsibility to make sure things are done properly. If that is not the case, then his title should be Naperville City Bystander. The Naperville city council needs to hold the city manager accountable for his actions, decisions, and oversight of staff. In the famous words of Ronald Reagan, “trust but verify”. Krieger may have trusted but apparently, verification is not part of his management style.
At the last city council meeting, an agenda topic was being discussed and the term “Perfect is the enemy of the good”. Well to that I say, “If better is possible, then good is not enough.” If Doug Krieger’s management style is considered ‘good’, then based on this loss of funding for the needy, “good is not enough because better is possible”. The citizens of Naperville deserve better. It is as simple as that.