Mar 302013
 

We have a dilemma here in Naperville. Residents like to know what the city council and city manager Doug Krieger are doing, and the city council along with Doug Krieger prefer that they not know. It makes sense to me. Residents are like parents; responsible, caring, and inquisitive. While teenagers (city officials) have difficulty with accountability and honesty.

Fortunately parents can apply consequences, and residents can utilize FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) requests. The FOIA is a nightmare for the Naperville city council and city officials. It means they have to work and they have to provide information simultaneously. Is it any wonder why they cry and whine when FOIAs are submitted.

At the last city council meeting, they did the whining and crying gig during an exchange between city council members and Naperville city clerk (Pam LaFebar). It was so well done, that it appeared rehearsed. Do you ever wonder what they do during the closed portion of the meeting prior to the open portion.

Let’s do some quick math.

According to an article in the Daily Herald from 2011 (link below), each council member is compensated approximately $23,000 per year. It could be twice that by now, but let’s go with $23K.

http://www.dailyherald.com/article/20110608/news/706089743/

There are two city council meetings per month (sometimes one). Let’s go with two or 24 per year. Each meeting is about 2 hours, so they make about $480 per hour which equals $8 per minute.
Council members would say they would work more than that, but then again council members say a lot of things.

So take the time they spend talking about the hassle of FOIA’s each year (20 minutes at the last meeting), X 9 council members, X $8 per minute (wages) and it equals $1,440.

The cost of a FOIA per hour is (in their own estimation) $50/hour (sounds very inefficient).

That’s approximately 29 hours they could be spending on working on FOIA requests instead of complaining about them.

It’s ironic that time after time members of the Naperville city council and city manager Doug Krieger direct citizens to file FOIA requests to obtain answers to citizens’ questions. When those citizens do as they were directed, they are accused of abuse and harassment by the Naperville city council and Doug Krieger.

Since the council refrains from acknowledging a speaker other than interrupting them to state their address, and to tell them their time is up, or the Mayor Pradel special “Thank you”, a resident’s only recourse is the FOIA if they want an answer, and Naperville residents do want answers, many answers

  9 Responses to “FOIA Math”

  1. Some observations about the FOIA exchange.

    ~Of course it was rehearsed, The entire meeting is a theatrical production.

    ~Loved Wehrli’s response, just give me a call, you don’t have to FOIA anything, Of course you have to FOIA information. IT’S A STATE LAW! It’s how things are done properly and legally, And, of course, there is documentation that a request was made, and that it was responded to. Grant doesn’t want any evidence that a question was asked, and what he said. That way, he can deny anything ever happened.

    ~How many people work in the City Clerk’s Department? Ten, more? And they can’t answer 200 questions a year? Seems like they need a visit from the Bobs in Office Space. Maybe they can find some efficiencies?

    ~Finally, and I know I’m preaching to the choir here, but these people work for us. And they have the nerve to complain in an open meeting that they have to do actual work to answer questions that residents ask? Wow, just wow. The amazing part is that nobody challenges the staff. There is no common sense here, just ego, and self preservation.

  2. Right on. Great article and comment above. I do not live in naperville, but looked to move there last year. Glad we never made the jump. Who do these people think they are and why do they think they are above everyone. Vote them out. I can see all they care about is themselves.

  3. Actually there are 5 full time employees in the clerks office. One employee handles FOIA requests in addition to processing more than 1,000 licenses and permits per year.

  4. Also, it is approx 200 from one organization. Total number of FOIAs answered in one year is more than 800.

    • Hmmmm Me –
      You point out some new and interesting data. 200 FOIAs of 800 total requested within 1 year, that’s 25%. I wonder how much time was spent fulfilling the other 75% of FOIAs. No one is asking that question from the dais.

      I’ll bet the FOIA FTE is wondering why she doesn’t get gross pay of $50/hour. Seems that a smart thing for the council to do, as Councilman Chirico started to suggest, is hire a part-time contractor(s) ONLY to fulfill FOIAs and pay them $20/hour, as needed.

      Or better yet (as I’ve seen another suggest), put all the financial books, memos and emails online. That would get Naperville an A+++ rating from that blow-sunshine-up-my-*(&^%(-because-we’re-so-transparent worthless website.

      -You

    • I assume that they just process the requests, not actually provide the answers. So, it’s not five people, it’s however many employees respond. Plus, that’s part of their JOBS. Responding to questions.

  5. It’s my opinion the latest Managers Memorandum listing a non incumbent candidate, Tom Glass, his parents and supporters is an attempt by Mr Wehrli to use city resources to influence an election. Strange how Mr Krieger has not taken responsibility for the fact that he himself instructed citizens to file the FOIA. Telling them that it was for the city’s benefit! As of last week The city continues to instruct citizens to file FOIA rather than simply answer their questions.

    Lastly, Mr Wehrli, where do you think that disputes be settled, if not in court? Where is there any legitimate purposal by the city to allow citizens to have an affordable “opt out” alternative, which only collects minimal data on our families?
    Mr. Wehrli doesn’t complain when the city uses the court system, but only rants against those who disagree with him.

  6. Mr Krieger Mr Wehrli

    I filed, according to Managers Memorandum. 7 FOIAs in 2 1/2 years. One was the asking for the safety studies the city relied on to determine that exposure to RF on infants, children or the unborn? It did so after requesting the info via email twice. I was instructed by Mr Krieger to file a FOIA for the benefit of the city record keeping. After I filed the FOIA I was told that city had NO safety studies in regards to our youngest and most fragile citizens.

    It’s became my opinion that the city used FOIA as an attempt to create a hurdle for citizens to jump through to get vital information they needed to understand what was going on in Naperville government.

    On the week before the election, Mr Wehrli chose to inquire about Tom Glass, his parents and a few supporters as abusing the FOIA system, not acknowledging that it was on Kriegers instructions to do so (I sent him a copy of email last year and again this year). Mr Krieger and staff lump the FOIAs, falsely into NSMA ( Wehrli continues to use the urban slang SMAG) requests

    Abuse if office to influence an election? You decide

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