The Naperville Electoral Board consisting of Mayor Pradel, councilman Doug Krause, and city clerk Pam LeFeber said they didn’t do it. The city attorney, Margo Ely adviser to the board, said they didn’t do it. The city manager, Doug Krieger, said they didn’t do it. However the Illinois Attorney General’s office, after an investigation, said they did it, and they should not have done it.
What they did was violate the Illinois Open Meetings Act in conducting its hearings regarding objections to a non-binding (advisory) referendum on the Smart Grid Initiative.
The residents of Naperville said the Naperville Electoral Board violated the open meetings act. The Naperville Smart Meter Awareness Group said the Naperville Electoral Board was in violation, as did the groups attorney, Doug Ibendahl.
The group, along with more than 4,000 citizens who signed a petition, simply wanted to get a non-binding referendum on the ballot last spring, asking the voters if they wanted the unpopular $22 million Smart Grid Initiative stopped. By violating the Open Meetings Act, it resulted in Naperville residents being denied the opportunity to vote on the smart meter program which is now the subject of a lawsuit in federal court which has a status hearing set for August 16 in Chicago.
In essence the Naperville Electoral Board is an extension of Naperville city council, since two of three board members are part of the nine-person city council, and the city attorney sits with the council during meetings, while the city clerk is also part of the meeting. So who’s watching who? You would think that someone on the Naperville city council, or the city attorney, or city manager or clerk would have an epiphany and say, “Hey, wait a second, what we are doing is wrong, and it’s wrong in so many ways”, but not one person stood tall and did the right thing.
It took the Illinois Attorney General’s office to set the council straight. Naperville city manager, Doug Krieger said, “we appreciate the Attorney General’s guidance to help improve our process”. Isn’t this the purpose of the city attorney, to provide guidance. And isn’t this the purpose of the city manager, to provide an accurate process. Why have a city attorney or city manager if they are not providing guidance and process. Could it be that an upgrade in talent is in order for both positions? Either that, or just run everything by the Illinois Attorney General’s office before the Naperville city council takes any action on anything.