Naperville Is Obese With Council Members

It isn’t often that you hear city officials suggest eliminating half of the city council in order to save money and become more of a deliberative body by demanding more accountability, but that’s exactly what happened earlier this month. In fact, the mayor floated the idea two and a half years ago. He said, “do you know what everybody said to me? Cut the City Council in half”. He went on to say, “you think the city council is to the city’s budget what people think foreign aid is to the the federal budget”. One city official said, “when it comes to how we deliver services, the city council should be on the table as well. I don’t think anything should be a sacred cow.”

I’m guessing you thought you would never hear those words from Naperville officials, and if so, you are exactly right, because those words were spoken by Chicago aldermen Brendan Reilly (42nd), and Ameya Pawar (47th) along with Mayor Rahm Emanuel. Amazing isn’t it, that Chicago politicians would consider what no Naperville official would have the courage to discuss. If you ever want to clear out a room full of Naperville officials faster than the speed of light,  just voice the idea of reducing the size of city council.

One Naperville city council member (who’s name rhymes with Grant Wehrli) said, ‘we can’t reduce the size of the city council, only the Illinois General Assembly can do that”. What he failed to mention is that voters can do it in the form of a binding referendum. Unfortunately, we’ve seen how the Naperville Electoral Board squashes referendums, that they don’t like.

Naperville is obese with city council members; nine in total. Take a look at the following chart comparing the successful cities of Seattle, Phoenix, and San Diego to that of Naperville.

Residents Per Council Member

Seattle has more than four times the population of Naperville, yet has the same number of council members (9).  Phoenix has ten times the population of Naperville with the same number of council members (9).  And San Diego has nine times the population of Naperville with eight council members.

Naperville doesn’t need nine council members; five would be more than enough. Is it any wonder why the Naperville city council  has had only one council meeting during a 60 day period of time. Could it be that they are under-worked and overpaid. Could it be that their accountability towards residents is diverted to city staff employees.

Who would have guessed, that Naperville residents could only wish to have city officials like Chicago.

Show 5 Comments


  1. Pat

    I think you miscounted the number of people that control Naperville up on the dais. There are an even Dirty Dozen. The mayor, eight “elected or appointed councilmen,” the appointed city manager, the appointed city attorney, and the appointed police chief/previous asst. city manager, all weigh in on what’s good for all of Naperville.
    The political insiders and owners of downtown businesses are the ones who control what happens, who appoint councilmen, and others to positions of power, they decide who runs, when, and for what position, they quash or support referendums based on if it helps further their cause. They are the ones getting elected to office and heading up the political committees. The rest of us average Joe’s don’t stand a chance.

  2. Lisle Watchdog

    We sympathize. Lisle has 7 on the Village Board and a population of 23,000.

  3. Illinois is Broke

    At 4 PM on Friday! The only ones who can’t attend are the tax paying serfs, who have to be at work! How much did this 10 foot 1,500 lb statue cost? Aren’t we lucky that Illinois is in such great financial shape, that Naperville Pensions are funded and that Council reduced the tax rate hike they imposed on all of us when our home values were plummeting?

  4. Illinois is Broke

    On top of the cost for the statue, Illinois (nearly bankrupt) granted Naperville $350,000.00 to build the park. Illinois has the second highest unemployment in the Nation, at 9.2% (July) and has replaced California as having the lowest credit rating of any state. “There are investors who won’t buy Illinois or bonds with Illinois labels at any price. they just see it as toxic.” (Brian Battle). Yet, Naperville political elite are complicit with Illinois reckless financial game of chicken. Last month , Naperville accepted a $900,000.00 grant from nearly bankrupt Illinois to build a $1.18 M recycling center, an enterprise that would be done much cheaper and more efficiently by private enterprise. Instead, Naperville governmen’s burden to the taxpayer continues to expand. This whole expansion of spending and borrowing by Naperville is not going to end well, as the consumer becomes even more tapped out. Coming next? The purchase of the old Walmart for a mayoral appointed hearing officer for ordinance violations and tickets? We have a one party political system, in Illinois and Naperville which spends, taxes and incur deficits as the economic environment continues to deteriorate.

  5. jr

    do not go below 7 my previous town went to 5 members and it turned out to be only 3 members agreed and if the senior member wanted something his 2 buddies went along when we had 7 the town ran much better

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