More Embarrassment For Naperville City Council

It wasn’t a good night for the Naperville city council. Everything was good for the council until the meeting started. That’s usually when things start to go wrong for the city council. Councilman Grant Wehrli announced that the mayor was home sick. I guess even Mayor Pradel can take only so much council disdain for residents, that he needs to take the night off to recuperate. Wehrli must have drawn the short stick, because he was the Mayor Pro Tem for the meeting. He starts out like this:

It probably would be a good idea if Grant knew who was doing what. Looks like Wehrli missed the leadership skill of preparation.

Soon after that, the Public Forum portion of the meeting started. This is the part of the meeting that council members really don’t like. It’s basically root canal time for them. Typically they make it worse for themselves by ‘tossing  hand grenades’ of  disrespectful comments towards residents of Naperville. In this case, it’s councilman Joe McElroy referring to residents as ‘suspects’ who submit FOIA’s (Freedom of Information Act).

Apparently when residents like to know what’s happening with their tax dollars, Joe McElroy feels it’s better if residents are kept in the dark.

He then follows with another disrespectful comment towards a resident running as a candidate for city council (Tom Glass). McElroy gets the facts wrong twice; first by stating Tom Glass is part of a Federal law suit against the city (which he isn’t), and then stating the wrong day (Wednesday) rather than Tuesday of the upcoming election (April 9)

Evidently politician Joe thinks everything is a political stunt unless he’s the one doing it.

Then councilman Steve Chirico slides in another assault on resident information-seekers (FOIA) when he ill-advisedly chooses the dreaded four letter word.

So now residents with inquiring minds are ‘evil’. In defense of councilman Chirico he may have chosen a better word, and he might like to have that word back.  However, “it is what it is”.

Now watch and listen to Naperville resident Diane Ciambrone, as she responds to Steve Chirico during public forum.

Councilman Bob Fieseler then makes a weak  attempt to appear sincere.

Watch and listen again as Diane Ciambrone ‘calls out’ Fieseler for undignified comments.

Diane then ‘sets the council straight’ as she sums up her comments and feelings about most of those at the dais.

Is it any wonder why the mayor needed to stay home.

Show 16 Comments


  1. Gerard H Schilling

    These clown never learn. Time to clean house and a good start would be to vote for Malik and Glass while not wasting your other two votes on people who are and have been the problem!

  2. Lisa Flanagan

    This is better than any cable reality show I swear! I guess since I am still waiting for answers to FOIA requests, I am also the usual suspect!

  3. Diane Esser

    I’m horrified by both the arrogance and ignorance displayed by the city council, in particular Grant Wehrli and Steve Chirico. The good ‘ol boy mentality doesn’t fly with those of us who were born and raised here. It doesn’t go over well, Mr. Wehrli, with folks who have known you since you were still wearing nappies.
    You’re choosing the wrong people to belittle, to insult and mock, because you’re up against informed, highly intelligent residents who care enough about this city to demand change.
    Thank you, Ms. Ciambrone, for standing up to the childish bullies who make up this council. You represent the best of Naperville.

  4. Concerned Citizen


    Diane – Nailed it!

    Watchdog – Another great piece. You missed the comments of Dick Furstenau, he’s even been denied twice his FOIA requests and said basically if he hadn’t been part of the establishment, he would have been upset and would have had a RIGHT to be upset! I believe he went on to provide a few suggestions. But I think they were ignored. Par for the course with this council. This City Council is an EMBARRASSMENT and then SOME!

    Seems they don’t want informed citizens reviewing their work. Which just makes me desire to review it more! That Slogan – “Public Records – At Your Service” is for show on their website.

    And I’ve NEVER FOIA’d before, but Doug Krieger is unresponsive to simple requests and I’ve heard one woman had an e-mail go unanswered for 10 calendar days. Is this the kind of service Wehrli finds acceptable? Or is it just acceptalbe when it concerns something regarding our Electric Utility. I heard because this request was time sensitive she had to drive to city hall to get the information. THIS IS UNACCEPTABLE!

    Lisa – Do not fear, you aren’t on the list as the “usual suspects” which is code for the Naperville Smart Meter Awareness Group. This group deserves our respect for caring and researching and challenging this council. These smart meters come with potential risks which are unacceptable based on the city’s inability to keep data safe and secure and we all should be concerned that there could be future health risks for our citizens and to compromise our health and our privacy is unacceptable.

    If you refer back to the 2 archived FOIA related stories on this site in March and review the stories and the comment section, it will provide some additional clarity. That there are numerous FOIA’s from numerous people however McElroy got tagged for the attack on NSMAG, interesting how last council meeting he was actually hesitant at first to speak about the topic and then decided to proceed. Facinating group dynamics.

    The current tag team of Wehrli – the ring leader, McElroy, Fieschler and Chirico are employing dirty politics to attempt to influence this election. This 4 some fears GLASS and MALIK and their conduct SAYS SO… How many times must people comment on how rude, disrespectful and unprofessional this council has been before these 4 men comprehend it. Instead of wasting our tax dollars on PR firms to improve your images, how about you 4 enroll in a class on respecting the citizens of this town.

    And a bit of advise, instead of racing to finish your meetings in an hour, like you have done the last two meetings. Perhaps if you were more contemplative instead of rushing to get through a meeting, you might have realized before you proceeded on the financial ramifications of your decisions, like the $1million you just realized you sacrificed on the Waterfront Street Project.

    And how about you pause and take a deep breath and let your brain synapses connect before you error and spew your vile rhetoric of disrespect on those that come before you and those you represent at home.

    PEOPLE are reacting to how you conduct yourself and if you don’t want the criticism, I strongly suggest you develop some empathy for your citizens and remember who you are working for.

    This council has become so disengaged with residents that the gentleman that requested they establish zoning setbacks from the river, was just sent away with out any comment or discussion or information provided to him. At least McElroy recovered for you all under New Business. But the gentleman had already left probably disappointed in you ALL. I would have been!

    Fieschler whines that good people don’t want to run for council… well equally there are citizens that are outraged by your treatment and remarks. I’ve never seen such unprofessionalism. Some of Fieschler’s written remarks on other commentary sites could probably have him dismissed if he worked in the corporate world. Telling a woman to put her big girl pants on…. Is Outrageous! I wonder how he is treating the other woman in our City. He needs some severe counseling and is not representing Naperville to the standards we have set for our community. The other 3 aren’t much better!

    Many people don’t come before this council because 4 of YOU BELITTLE our citizens. There are people who will not move to our town because of this hostile environment you are creating. People are asking, What is wrong with Naperville? How dare they arrest 2 mothers and violate their own municipal codes over smart meters. I believe these 4 Council Members are LIABILITIES for our town.

    Now add that to all the News Coverage about Naperville Central and Naperville North having an enormous peer pressure issue fueling the Pot problem, that they are considering drug testing these students. Then the Heroin problem and teen suicides. Truly Tragic for our town. We need action to fix this problem so we can restore our reputation.

    And SHAME on ALL of THESE COUNCIL MEMBERS who didn’t attend the PURPA Hearing. Most of these council members either own their own businesses or are self employed, and faculty members usually have alot of flexibility too. An utter lack of representation for our citizens. How can any citizen respect this council when you don’t show up. The City Manager and the Mayor didn’t even show up! UNBELIEVABLE! WHERE’s THE LEADERSHIP? Where’s the decision makers? Where’s the engagement with your citizens?

    Where was the Leadership at the Neighborhood meetings for smart meters, there was no meeting, and just a bunch of Volunteer Smart Meter Ambassadors running an open house, who had no decision making authority to solve residents concerns or furnish answers to the challenging questions. An utter disappointment. Where were our council members, our city manager, our mayor? MISSING AGAIN!

    Wehrli even provided commentary criticizing fellow Councilman Krause for adding to his election platform dialogue to work towards a solution with those who desired a non smart meter approach, and Wehrli blasted him for having to learn about this from his website and why he hadn’t consulted with him first… My understanding of politics is that Council members aren’t supposed to be collaborating outside of the general meetings. His comments imply that he doesn’t follow those rules. Perhaps that is why the City has been busted for Violating the Open Meetings Act. And makes me wonder how much consulting is going on in private between council members. Sounded very inappropriate to me. And I’d like to see ALL of our Local Papers investigating this.

    It’s unfortunate that Fieschler, Wehrli, Chirico and McElroy aren’t up for re-election because this bad boy wrestling tag team needs some new moves… out of the dias.

    The timing of Wehrli’s work orders speak for themselves. There are countless other FOIA’s going on in town as Lisa’s and Furstenau’s demonstrate. But this is an orchestrated effort to attack Naperville Smart Meter Awareness Group and members and the good citizens who care about our town.

    Adding to citizens fustrations is the disrespect we feel that the decision to opt for smart meters wasn’t put on the ballot, and that this council has not implemented the 5 districts and 3 at large representation that 2/3 of the voters supported. This Council masterminded a plan to delay it. For self serving reasons! ENOUGH!

    I’m glad there’s another “CONCERNED CITIZEN” involved and taking an interest in their local politics. We have every right to FOIA. And no one should intimidate us. Citizens should not have to ask twice and perhaps Pam LaFeber can renew her departments committment to “Public Records – At Your Service”. And do it graciously with a smile.

    The Citizens of this town are owed a heartfelt apology from these 4 Council members. The sooner the better!


    A Concerned Citizen

    • DianeC

      Thank you, Concerned Citizen. Can you pinpoint when McElroy made the big girl panties comment and to whom? Need info ASAP today. Keep up the good fight, all!

      • DianeC

        I meant Fieseler’s comment – thanks.

        • Concerned Citizen

          Jo Malik posted the following dialogue to her website, it is screen prints since many of Fieschler’s remarks were reportedly deleted later, however they were able to be recovered. His remarks are on Sunday 9:57am, It would be about 2/3 of the way down the page. Where he references, “so put your big girl pants on and stop your whining”, just to warn you all, this was some of the tamer remarks – and Lisa – this tops a cable reality tv show in my opinion, this is really happening in our town and it’s VERY WRONG!

          I recommend reading the entire commentary… it is utterly disgusting that a city council member representing our city would conduct himself with such utter unprofessionalism and degrade a woman and a running candidate this way, etc.

          YOU BE THE JUDGE!

          If you are a woman or love a woman or raising young women, you should be OUTRAGED by his conduct and how he treated MANY of the residents in this community throughout this dialogue. IF this is how Council members at large are going to treat citizens, then I’m up for a combination system where I can hold someone accountable in my district.

          I await the day that Jo Malik can have the mic of the dais for as long as she wants, WOMAN – GET OUT AND VOTE FOR JO MALIK AND TOM GLASS! MEN – STAND WITH US!

          Everyday, I learn a little bit more, more that disturbs me about what is transpiring in our town.

          BTW – Fieschler is supposed to be one of our leaders on the smart meter grid, and he even comments that the meters are going to read every 10 min., I originally was told 15 min. Either he’s careless with his facts, or the frequency of readings can be altered without notifying the citizens. How will we ever know?

          A Concerned Citizen

          • Concerned Citizen

            I meant Fieseler, I regret my typo.

  5. Sandy Glas

    Hey, Council! Did you bother to read IMEA contract that citizens had to FOIA? Particularly the part that the city agreed to pay 72 million dollar penalty for late participation? That contract forces us all to buy the majority of our power derived from coal. Mr. Curran, who I don’t believe is a commodities expert, is betting that the savings other communities are receiving from natural gas generation are temporary. Did the Council bother to validate staff’s claim that Naperville electric rates are lower than most communities? Mark Curran, who lives in Bolingbrook enjoys the freedom of choice and competition for his electricity (no municipal tax either). Naperville residents pay 25% more for electricity than Bolingbrook. It’s the citizens who did the study and provided it to McElroy (at his request) and never received feedback.

    It’s the transparency of information that allows diverse discussion regarding policy and decisions that effect all of us. Instead of whining about “evil” citizens, Council needs to listen to their well educated, accomplished and well intended taxpayers to avoid some of the expensive boondoggles that are driving our tax rates higher as our property values continue to slide.

    Isn’t time to sell the electric company, allow citizens competition and choice, get rid of the future pension obligations and payoff the debt?

    The next “swoon” in the economy is in progress. Will the city be caught flat footed again if tax revenues take a dive?

  6. Sandy Glas

    Mr McElroy:

    How do I get off the City’s suspect list? Where is that list? Is it similar to the “Do Not Fly” list? Do I have to FOIA “suspect lists” to see who else is on that list?

    What makes a citizen a “suspect?” Is it those who are engaged and interested in their own government? Are they people who disagree with you?

    Just asking

    • Concerned Citizen

      I have seen the list, and your name with an additional S, is featured amongst the usual suspects. Wehrli requested a work order to request the FOIA-ing of the Naperville Smart Meter Awareness Group ONLY! You had 6 FOIA’s since Jan. 2011 per the compilers of the list, Pam LeFeber and Jill Pelka-Wilger.

      How funny it would be to see each of the usual suspects FOIA-ing the list from these 2 woman. LOL! If you know Tom, he should have a copy of it. Being a “usual suspect” will likely only change when we have more respectful city council members. Responding to FOIA’s is the cities responsibility and if they wanted to compile a list it should have consisted of everyone, because only then can you truly analyze the FOIA-ing demands placed on the city. Regardless a group engaged in controversy with the city has every right to gain information. If it was all transparent, they wouldn’t have to ask.

      Next concern, Just learned that Mrs. Julie Chirico has entered the drama and has sent out a grossly inaccurate e-mail campaigning for various outcomes in this election. She has specifically targeted Glass and Malik, and how ironic that she disrespects the voters of 2010 for voting for the combination representation, yet this is the same group of people who got her husband elected and provides her family her health insurance. Malik and Glass both have replies to this tainted e-mail, all worth reading.

      Malik’s reply will link you to Julie’s e-mail and Glass’s reply:

      Folks, I am now more and more convinced there are some very frightening skeletons and sins in the Cities Closets. They must really fear that Glass and Malek will uncover them. WHY would so many council members not up for re-election be PLAYING ALL OUT DIRTY POLITICS! What are they guilty of? Keep searching for the TRUTH!

      What’s next? Do I dare ask!

      A Concerned Citizen

  7. Dismayd

    Thank you citycouncilwatchdog and thank you Diane Ciambrone. Some of these council members are real irritants.

  8. Know the open meetings act

    “This council has become so disengaged with residents that the gentleman that requested they establish zoning setbacks from the river, was just sent away with out any comment or discussion or information provided to him. At least McElroy recovered for you all under New Business. But the gentleman had already left probably disappointed in you ALL. I would have been!”

    The Open Meetings Act requires that items for discussion during a meeting must be on the agenda, and there be 72 hr advance with notice of the meeting. If it is not on the agenda, no discussion can be made without violating the open meetings act, save perhaps in the new business section where items can be discussed for addition to future agendas/meetings. This is to give the public adequate notice so that they may fairly represent their viewpoint and give all interested parties a fair opportunity to have their say rather than a one sided, spur of the moment discussion without adequate research or preparation to sufficiently cover all of the pros and cons of a decision.

    Zoning is also the purview of the Plan Commision first, which makes recommendations to the council. Skipping this step invalidates all of the hard work and efforts of the volunteers in the Plan Commission.

    As for providing information to the resident, it is likely that they did not have the information handy to provide to the resident, and that any information provided woud have been off the top of their heads and not necesarily accurate, and as much opinion than fact, which would cause even more trouble in the long term. Is it reasonable to expect that city staff scramble to find all the necessary information during the 2-3 min someone is standing st the podium?

    You cannot slam the council for obeying the Open Meetings Act. Yes, there are occasional errors in almost all organizations in meeting OMA because folks are human, and we are naturally inclined to help and talk about things whenever they are brought up, but there has been concerted efforts over the last few years to make sure that the OMA is met to ensure fairness and open government to all.

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