It happened again at the last Naperville city council meeting. Actually, it happened a number of times. In fact, it happens at each Naperville city council meeting. I am referring to the fact that the members of the Naperville city council break their own rules; not just one rule or two rules, but at least three rules. Every member does it from the Mayor to newly elected member Chirico. And it makes no difference if the council member is on ‘top of his game’ (Wehrli), or a council member who often times is clueless (Fieseler).
Two of the rules seem less important, however at some time in the past there was a much wiser council than our current council because they incorporated those rules in the Municipal Code. Let’s look at those two rules first, and then get to the more important rule that they break.
Rule # 1 (Let’s call it the ‘The Sometime’s Rule) which in part states:
Speakers: Speakers will identify themselves and provide their current address at the podium before beginning their comments.
(Ord. 04-173, 10-5-2004)
During the Public Forum, portions of the March 20 and April 3 meetings everyone was asked to provide their address, except for one person (Randy Morris). Almost 60 people addressed the council in total, but he was the only one that was not asked to provide an address, and it happened with him at each of those meetings. Hence the “Sometimes Rule”. Watch and listen as the council let’s Randy Morris skate on this rule.
Rule # 2 which the council breaks, (Let’s call it the ‘Kings Rule’)
Timer: A timer shall be used to notify the speaker when the time allotted has expired. The speaker will then be informed that his/her time has expired, and shall stop speaking and step down from the podium
(Ord. 07-204, 9-4-2007)
The timer (person keeping time) should inform the speaker, not the Mayor, yet watch and listen to the following.
We call it the ‘King’s Rule’ because the Mayor who has a three-foot scissors for cutting Grand Opening ribbons is like a King, so why not humor him.
Rule # 3, (The McElroy Rule) which the council really enjoys breaking, is much more important for citizens.
9.2. Speakers may comment on the agenda item or may present questions to Council provided they comply with all rules in Subsections 1-5-4-7.1 through 1-5-4-7.5 of this Section.
Watch and listen as council member Joe McElroy joyfully and rudely breaks this rule
Watch and listen as Mayor Pradel also breaks the council rule at the last city council meeting by doing a slick and quick verbal beat down on citizen Glen Mendoza.
Now, I’m not saying the council should follow their own rules, on the contrary, I think they should be allowed to break those rules as much as they want because we are all over- regulated, and that includes the council. If they want to slide on getting a speaker’s address, what’s the problem with that? If the Mayor likes to impose the ‘King’s Rule’ what’s the harm with that. I mean, haven’t we all broken rules at some time. Who among us has not done 50mph leaving our driveway………in reverse, or didn’t shovel our snow within the window of time allowed, or parked on the street over night on a beautiful summer night, or screwed up on getting a permit to do something.
We need to cut the council some slack for breaking their own rules. And the council needs to give the citizens a break. In the immortal words of John Lennon, ‘Why can’t we all just get along with each other’? Somebody should ask this question at the next Naperville city council Public Forum. However, I think the “McElroy Rule” would apply.