When you watch and listen to a Naperville city council meeting, most of what you hear is rather boring to most people, I imagine few people watch online or on television, and even fewer attend council meetings. Every now and then you’ll hear something interesting or even somewhat controversial, but those are few and far between.
One thing you don’t hear much, is a simple ‘Thank you” from city council members to city staff members when they are called upon by the council to add specific content or ‘expertise’ to an agenda item. It doesn’t seem like it would be very difficult to do, but it doesn’t happen often.
Yes, I know it’s part of a city staff member’s job to provide information when needed, but it also seems like it would be a common courtesy by council members to occasionally say ‘thank you’.
There was a book written half-a-lifetime ago (1986) titled, “All I Really Need To Know, I Learned In Kindergarten”, by Robert Fulghum. I’m pretty sure that somewhere in that book it dealt with showing appreciation with a simple ‘Thank you’.
It’s possible that councilmen Grant Wehrli and Doug Krause are not familiar with the book, since they both tend to shy away from ‘Thank you’s’ towards city staff like vampires from sunshine. I imagine Krause waking up in the morning angry, and get more angry as the day unfolds, until it’s time for the council meeting, and he can then ‘let loose’ on city staff for any reason. Wehrli on the other hand comes across as city staff not being worthy of his presence. Directors, Managers, and Team Leaders deserve better.
Considering recent revelations and allegations about city hall (The Municipal Center) being an alleged ‘hostile work place’, one would think that more appreciation would be expressed by city officials to hourly employees, including part-time who don’t get benefits as do council members. Let’s not forget Mike Bevis, the Chief Procurement Officer who always seems to be prepared for whatever is thrown at him during council meetings. I’m not sure I’ve ever heard any council member, during a council meeting say ‘thank you’ to him. I’m not even 100% sure what a ‘procurement officer’ does; I’m guessing he ‘get’s things’ that the city needs. He must to be doing a fine job because the City of Naperville has lots of nice things.
Some Naperville city council members do a good job of being respectful and appreciative to city staff, including councilmen Chirico, Hinterlong, and McElroy. And nobody does it better than Mayor Pradel.
Maybe some council members think ‘thank you’s’ are not necessary since at the beginning of each council meeting there is an ‘Awards and Recognition’ portion, where individuals and departments are spotlighted for doing a great job. The only problem with that is, a good number of council members are not investing their full attention to the recognition; those little hand-held devices are addictive, aren’t they.
And who’s idea was it to recognize the IT Department for doing an outstanding job immediately after the city’s website was hacked and down for more than a month.
So how about council members show city staff more appreciation, give their full attention during ‘recognition’, and say ‘thank you’ at the appropriate time. That seems reasonable, doesn’t it.