Imagine if a large part of your job involved spending other people’s money; not just a little money but a lot of money….millions. That’s exactly what the Naperville city council does, and they are very adept at it. The council meets on the first and third Tuesdays of each month. During the ‘Consent Agenda’ portion of meetings millions of dollars of expenses are approved. This doesn’t come as a surprise since it costs a lot of money to keep the city running. However, it’s likely more is spent than is necessary; that’s what politicians like to do. If the Naperville city council and especially the city manager Doug Krieger managed the city as though it was a successful corporation, tax dollars would be spent more wisely, expenses would be scrutinized, and overall Naperville city operations would be more efficient.
It doesn’t take the Naperville city council much time to approve millions worth of expenditures, and they typically do this without questioning the expense. Most don’t ask if the expense is needed, or if it can be reduced. There seems to be no urgency in minimizing or eliminating expense items. A council member makes a motion to approve an expense, another one seconds the motion, a vote is take, and most, if not all, council members vote ‘yes’ to spend. Maybe Naperville’s new motto should be, “Vote ‘yes’, and vote often for spending.”
Every now and then a council member does question an expense, or even occasionally votes ‘no’ to an expense, but again this is very infrequent. Between now and the next city council election there will be about 40 city council meetings. So I make a motion, and will bypass Robert’s Rules of Order, and second my motion that we keep score and see which council members take expenses seriously. Let’s keep it simple. If a council member votes ‘no’ to an expense, they get two points, if they question an expense, they get one point, and if they vote ‘yes” to an expense agenda item, they get no points. We’ll provide “Spending Gone Wild” updates with council member scores, and prior to the next city council election we’ll list, in order, the council members who have shown the most fiscal responsibility.
Let the competition begin this Tuesday evening June 18 at 7pm, or whenever the city council decides to ‘mosey on in’ to the 7pm meeting. Punctuality has been described as respect for other peoples’ time. Lately it’s evident that punctuality is not a city council value. It’s a good thing for the council we’re not keeping score on that one.