The Naperville city website has been down since October 2, 2012. I thought it would be helpful to mention the year, since city officials have no idea how long it will remain down; it may be weeks, months or even years….who knows. Originally the thought was a simple virus, however Naperville’s internet security system isn’t as effective as advertised by city officials. The fact that city manager Doug Krieger assured Naperville residents that Napeville’s website was absolutely safe and secure to the point of guaranteeing it, may have invited someone to challenge his foolish assumption. If I had to bet my favorite Clint Eastwood poster against Krieger’s shoes on whether or not some high school drop out could hack Naperville’s website while ‘herbing up’ in the basement of his folk’s home, I’d make that bet, and I would have won and been the proud owner of a pair of Krieger’s mismatched shoes.
What’s alarming for Naperville residents is that Doug Krieger’s boastful confidence in the ‘inhackability of the city’s website, is only exceeded by his boastful bragging about the ‘inhackability’ of Naperville’s foolish Smart Meters. Imagine Naperville’s absurd Smart Meter electric grid being down for days, weeks, or months; it doesn’t seem so ‘Smart’ now does it.
When all this ‘went down’ (pun intended), Naperville city manager wasn’t to be found. He was apparently out of town, and why shouldn’t he be…..what could possibly go wrong in his absence. His second in command (Marcie Schatz) a very competent city employee still in her learning curve, was left to try a keep the ship afloat, and she did an outstanding job. If you think about it, Krieger has a bang-up job. He’s not really accountable to anyone; it’s not an elected position, it’s appointed. The Naperville city council gives him free reign…almost like a ‘get-out-of-jail free’ card. He doesn’t need city council approval for any expense less than $100,000. He can afford to lose a pair of mismatched shoes.
This get’s us back to why Naperville is like Bone Gap, Illinois. In fact, you could bundle Naperville along with other Illinois cities such as Bullpit, Beaverville, Otterville, and Muddy, Illinois. The commonality of all is that none of have an active useable website. It’s not that those towns have websites that are down….they just don’t have a website, but then again neither does Naperville now.
However the bustling town of Oblong, Illinois (population 1700) does have a website which has been up and running. For those of you who don’t know where Bone Gap is, it’s just northwest of Flat Rock, Illinois. I spoke with Mayor Randy Rich and he can’t remember their website being down. He credits a fellow by the name of Herb Jones for maintaining and keeping the website useable. It’s interesting that his first name is ‘Herb’ considering our basement hypothesis above. Anyway (as Krieger would say) I am absolutely 100% confident and would guarantee that Herb Jones could secure Naperville’s website just as well as prior to October 2 and charge far less than the $673,000 Naperville is spending now to have a useable website within days, weeks, months, or who knows when.
Once the website is up and running, we would ask city manager Doug Krieger to be less challenging to hackers by eliminating the words ‘guarantee’ and ‘absolutely’ from his vocabulary. Or maybe better yet, the Naperville city council might want to groom and promote Marcie Schatz ‘second in command’ to the person in command.
A no bid contract? Now who’d have thought that was in our future? Naperville’s politics are looking more and more like post-invasion Iraq.
And Fieseler, Margo, Wehrli, Krieger and Chirico sounded like third world dictators talking “at” their fellow citizens, dismissing, ignoring, sneering or laughing as they brought their concerns to Tuesdays Council meeting. All that I could think of was that these goofs don’t even have email after 2 weeks for business and taxpayers to contact the Council or staff. Yet they remained arrogant, rude and dismissive of those speaking who do run successful enterprises. Imagine a company loosing their ability to receive email from their customers for two weeks, or possibly months. What board would give a manager authorization to accept no bid contracts? What is needed now, more than ever, is some boots on the ground oversight of all proposals, contracts and spending to make sure that this level of failure is not repeated in the future. As our whole electric grid may be at risk, maybe a citizen board should be formed to re-evaluate the entire “smart meter” security, project, budgets and contracts. The staff is running the Council and conditions in Naperville just keep getting worse.
An article in today’s Tribune covers the ITdebacle at city hall, and points out the type of thinking that goes on at city hall. It seems that somebody at city hall (consultant or employee) came up with the idea of setting up gmail to temporarily handle email from the residents. The problem is that, instead of setting up individual accounts for city employees, the “rocket scientists” at city hall have set up one account for all (hundreds) of city employees. The article states that somebody will then distribute the emails to the appropriate employee. I can only assume that the email will be printed out, then delivered by carrier pigeon!
The hole keeps getting deeper. Could it be the city is losing records on purpose to hide maleficence in office by some grossly overpaid city management employees?