In nine days the City of Naperville has an opportunity to move closer to having leadership. Not new leadership, just simply leadership. New leadership implies that Naperville has leadership now. They don’t. The city manager is in over his head, and the Naperville city council allows it to continue. The majority of city council is either clueless, or doesn’t have the numbers to be an effective majority.
Two years ago the voters of Naperville took a step in the right direction when they replaced two council members (Furstenau and Boyajian) with two new council members (Chirico and McElroy). This was, ‘one small step for Napervillians, not one giant leap for Naperville’. Something that Neil Armstrong may have uttered if he lived in Naperville then.
Though Chirico got off to a rocky start, and McElroy hit a couple of speed bumps, each has made the Naperville city council better than what it was, and they have solid potential to do the ‘heavy lifting’ that others are not willing to do. The problem is that the council consists of nine members, so five are needed to form a majority in order to make good things happen. Naperville is not there yet.
However, one more is leaving now (Kenn Miller), and Mayor Pradel will depart after his term is over. Kenn Miller is making a wise decision to leave on his own time frame, rather than that of the voters.
There are four council seats up for grabs. In addition to Miller’s vacant seat, three other incumbents are running including Judith Brodhead, Paul Hinterlong, and 24-year member Doug Krause.
It’s difficult to unseat an incumbent, however both Brodhead and Hinterlong have made it considerably easier. Nice people as they may be, they just don’t have what Naperville needs right now, and that’s leadership. If two council members were missing from a meeting, the two that would be most un-noticed would be Brodhead and Hinterlong. They don’t challenge their peers, they tag along with the majority, and seldom speak up for the residents. With all due respect, it’s difficult to remember an original thought or comment made by either during council meetings.
We do endorse and recommend councilman Doug Krause to retain his seat on the council. He is the only current council member to support and listen to the residents of Naperville on a consistent basis. He has the courage to challenge his peers with resident-friendly solutions, which is the reason he typically finds himself on the short-end of council votes by an 8 to 1 margin. We were disappointed in his actions on the Naperville Electoral Board, however even if he would have been on the correct side of the issues, he would still been outvoted two to one each time by the mayor and city clerk. We are also disappointed that councilman Krause has been unable to establish a citizen-friendly coalition of council members. We also realize trying to encourage one or more of eight White Sox fans to become a Cubs fan is no easy task.
We strongly recommend and endorse candidate Tom Glass for inclusion to the Napeville city council. Tom has been a strong vocal supporter of the rights of residents. He has the courage and determination to make a positive difference on the council. His leadership skills, which are desperately needed on the council include, driving change, thinking critically, communicating effectively with passion, and demonstrating both accountability and courage. Additionally he has what most Naperville city council members don’t have, and that’s the ability to build and maintain trust.
We also endorse and recommend Jo Malik for the position of city council member. Jo also has the courage to speak-up and be heard, often times being maligned and disrespected by certain current council members. She has the leadership dimension of being able to maximize relationships. She is approachable and considerate, she shows respect and values inclusion, treats people fairly, and shares a sense of purpose. She is a team player and strives for collaboration by finding common ground. Without a doubt, she also would bring to the council what is urgently missing and that is common sense.
Our final recommendation and endorsement was more difficult to choose. It came down to Bill Habel, Business Representative for IBEW 701, and attorney Kevin Coyne. Habel is currently serving on the Naperville Building Review Board, while Coyne is a Naperville Planning and Zoning commissioner.
Their participation is positive for knowledge. However, the negative is that they could be ‘too close’ to city officials. We need change, not continuation. On the upside, Coyne appears to be an assertive, no-nonsense type of person, while Habel appears to be approachable, and reasonable. On the downside, both support or would have supported the ill-advised Smart Meter fiasco, and favor an ‘at-large’ format of representation rather than the voter’s choice of district representation.
Since Brodhead and Hinterlong are known entities, either Coyne or Habel would be a better selection. However we have to tip the scale of recommendation and endorsement to Bill Habel since he conveys what is missing from the majority of the council and that is open mindedness, balance, fairness, approachability and he speaks well without a script.
Our four recommendations and endorsements, Tom Glass, Jo Malik, Doug Krause, and Bill Habel, would bring refreshing and needed qualities to the Naperville city council…genuineness and leadership.