Last Saturday, Naperville lost an outstanding resident when Frank Hnilo (Ni’-lo) passed away after a four year battle with lung cancer. Frank was 67. In 1974, Frank along with his partner (Carmen DiGiovine) founded what ultimately became the accounting firm of DiGiovine, Hnilo, Jordan, and Johnson Ltd., in Naperville, which has grown to over 50 employees and two offices.
I first met Frank in 1978 when I moved from Barrington to Naperville and he had a small office on 5th Avenue just south of Naperville North high school. He was referred to me by friend and local attorney John Roscich, and for that I am indebted to John and his wife Carolyn. Frank did my personal and business taxes from that day forward, and a friendship beyond accounting evolved over the years. Numerous times I asked Frank for advice, and each and every time Frank’s advice turned out to be correct. Even the one and only time I didn’t heed his advice (a small business venture) he was correct again.
Frank was everything you could want in a CPA and a friend; knowledgeable, helpful, wise, logical, loyal, rational, ethical with integrity, honest, and a dry sense of humor. Years ago I remember asking Frank if he ever thought of running for office in Naperville, and he thought about it for a moment and with a humble smile he responded, ‘No it’s not for me….it’s a different set of values’.
I always thought he would have been an excellent mayor, or at least a solid, no-nonsense councilman. He had the leadership dimensions needed for success in any business and very much needed in local politics. Those leadership dimensions included, demonstrating accountability, communicating effectively, maximizing relationships, managing performance and execution, thinking critically, driving change, demonstrating courage, and building trust. Frank truly would have been the “”people’s councilman” and a strong voice for the residents of Naperville. He would have listened to the residents, responded to their needs and questions, and at all times interacted with mutual respect. Frank was truly a gentleman.
I was reminded of this as I watched last Tuesday’s Naperville city council meeting when resident Mike Anderson made an interesting, thought provoking, and respectful three-minute presentation about Smart Meters to the city council during the Public Forum portion the meeting.
Watch and listen to Mike and then listen to the response of the city council.
No answer. No comment. Not even the common courtesy of a response from any member of the council.
Frank was right again…..it’s ‘a different set of values’.