Here they go again. Naperville city officials are scrambling to make right what they made wrong. If only they could do things right initially by making the right decisions, they wouldn’t have to figure out how to undo what they did.
This time it’s the City of Naperville’s Electric Utility which is facing a gross negative cash balance to the tune of $25 million which includes $14 million currently in the red and another $11 million in a 30-day cash reserve which doesn’t exist.
Naperville residents are asking if Naperville city officials are deceitful or are they inept, or more simply stated, are they flat-out dishonest or are they blatantly incompetent. Let me say right here, that I truly do not believe that they are dishonest. By ‘they’, I mean the Naperville city council including the mayor, the city manager Doug Krieger, or even the department heads. Dishonest…no. Clearly incompetent…absolutely yes.
To be ‘dishonest’ would imply a degree of awareness, and the willingness to circumvent the truth. If they don’t have the awareness, then it’s not a matter of honesty. They are simply in over their heads, and it’s doubtful they have any idea what they’re doing.
To make matters worse for the residents of Naperville, city officials are displaying no accountability, little if any ability to manage performance, unable to manage execution, void of critical thinking, and definitely not building trust with the voters.
For a couple of years now, city manager Doug Krieger, with support from councilmen Bob Fieseler and Grant Wehrli, have bragged about the beauty of implementing a Smart Grid to the point ‘guaranteeing’ that electric rates would not escalate above 2% this year and next year. They presented beautiful graphs, along with glossy handouts, and brought in a legion of ‘talking heads’ to dazzle residents with non-sense about the not-so Smart Grid and forced installation of not-so Smart Meters, and how good this was going to be for everybody in Naperville. For those who stood tall to openly disagree, city officials simply had them cuffed and arrested at their homes, and hauled off to the slammer. And then pushed them into the gauntlet of the court system.
Now city officials are saying they have no choice other than to raise electric rates in Naperville well beyond the 2% originally presented to residents.
Isn’t that how it always works. Naperville city officials screw-up, then they come up with a couple of lame excuses, and then squeeze additional dollars out of Naperville residents and businesses to cover their incompetency.
Lame excuses included, unusual weather conditions, unstable energy market, sluggish economic recovery, goofy usage patterns, global warming, global cooling, global existence, all kinds of excuses from city officials.
This is then followed by brilliant insight from city manger Doug Krieger when he said, “daytime usage is always higher than night time, because that’s how people use electricity”. That rivals councilwoman Judy Brodhead’s comment last year, when she said “chickens don’t bark”.
Krieger also said, “all I know is we have not been as vigilant in influencing decisions as we could have been”. Another classic example of Krieger not accepting accountability. He likes to say ‘we’ when things go wrong, and ‘I’ whenever it goes right, which is seldom.
Krieger was correct in one of his comments when he said “…things are going to have to change,” It’s time for the ‘good’ members of the city council to make a change in city management, otherwise the voters will make a change in the next city council election.
(This is part one in a two-part posting on the subject of electric rates)