Restructure Naperville City Council Compensation

 I don’t think I’m getting my $1.67 worth from members of the Naperville city council. That’s how much I, along with each resident of Naperville pays annually towards the compensation of all nine members of the city council. The total annual salary and benefits on the Naperville city council rounded to the nearest $1000, is $238,000. If you divide that by the number of residents in Naperville (142,773) that is $1.67 per resident.

I suggest it’s time to restructure the council’s compensation, in order to make each council member more accountable, and provide council members the opportunity to be rewarded for a job well-done, or in some cases, dinged for a less than stellar performance.

The following chart shows the current total compensation package for each council member:

Council member Compensation package Payment per resident
Mayor Pradel $48,000.00 $0.34
Steve Chirico $33,000.00 $0.23
Joe McElroy $32,000.00 $0.22
Doug Krause $28,000.00 $0.20
Dave Wentz $27,000.00 $0.19
Judy Brodhead $26,000.00 $0.18
Bob Fieseler $16,000.00 $0.11
Grant Wehrli $15,000.00 $0.10
Paul Hinterlong $14,000.00 $0.10
Total $239,000.00 $1.67

Restructuring compensation would be simple:

  • Send each resident a postcard listing each council member’s name and a box to indicate how much of their $1.67 should be paid to that council member.

  • Require that the total sum should be $1.67

  • Send the card back

  • One person could then add the total for each council member, and bingo, council members could be paid by merit based on performance.

I would think that council members would jump at this opportunity. It’s a win/win for them and the residents of Naperville. Any money of the $238,000 left over could be refunded to the residents or used as ‘year-end’ bonuses to council members who exceeded resident expectations, which means it would be refunded back to residents. Parents could fill out the post cards for their children, or let the kids take a shot at it.

This would be the result of what my ‘Council Member Compensation Card’ would be and my reasoning:

Council member Current payment per resident Change Watchdog would pay
Mayor Pradel $0.34 +$0.00 $0.34
Steve Chirico $0.23 +$0.03 $0.26
Joe McElroy $0.22 +$0.03 $0.25
Doug Krause $0.20 +$0.20 $0.40
Dave Wentz $0.19 +$0.03 $0.20
Judy Brodhead $0.18 -$0.13 $0.05
Bob Fieseler $0.11 -$0.09 $0.02
Grant Wehrli $0.10 -$0.06 $0.04
Paul Hinterlong $0.10 +$0.01 $0.11
Total $1.67 $1.67

Mayor Pradel:

Keep him at 34 cents. Why ding him now as he completes his last term in office.

Councilman Steve Chirico:

Bump him up 3 cents to 26 cents. After a rocky start, he has come around quite nicely and still is the only person with enough courage to announce his candidacy for mayor. Additionally, he is now the best-dressed council member at the dais. From last to first is an accomplishment.

Councilman Joe McElroy:

Joe also gets a 3 cent increase to 25 cents. He keeps it simple and real. So what if he tells residents, “we’re not here to answer questions”. He’s only verbalizing what the rest are already doing. There’s no veneer on Joe.

Councilman Doug Krause:

He deserves a hefty increase of 20 cents to 40 cents. He’s been on the council for almost a quarter of a century, and is the only council member that typically questions expense, and appears to have the best- interests of residents in mind when he votes, which often makes him the lone dissenter on issues. I would have thrown in an extra penny, but he took a ‘wrong turn’ on recent Naperville Electoral Board decisions.

Councilman Dave Wentz:

Add a penny to his 19 cents and make it 20 cents. He has the lone distinction of never making a ‘bad vote’ and never ‘screwing up’ during a council meeting. OK, he’s only been there a short time, but he is still flawless, and his addition to the council has been a definite upgrade for residents.

Council member Judy Brodhead:

Definitely over-paid for her minimal contribution of being the “official proclamation reader” during council meetings. Drop her from 18 cents down to 5 cents. Always votes with the majority, seldom if ever questions expense. Her one strength is being the absolute best non-male member of the council .

Council member Bob Fieseler:

Drop him down 9 cents from 11 cents to 2 cents. Too many negatives to be balanced out by no perceived positives, other than he has a great first name.

Councilman Grant Wehrli:

Grant needs to take a 60% hit from 10 cents down to 4 cents. He has been the point person on too many non-friendly resident issues, including dodging communication with residents and not addressing questions. Would have dropped him down to 3 cents, but since he is running for state office, if he should win, that would benefit Naperville residents by being replaced on the council.

Councilman Paul Hinterlong:

Bump Paul up from 10 cents to 11 cents. He’s contributing more verbally, and has an uncanny ability to make everything he says sound like a question.

$1.67 is not much to pay for effective leadership, as long as the cents being paid make good sense.

Now how about a ‘thumbs-up / thumbs-down’ postcard for the city manager.

Show 2 Comments


  1. Pat

    Great Western flooring must not be doing so great lately since Councilman Chirico not only has residents pay for his insurance, but also his family members insurance. Maybe the council should pass an ordinance that residents must upgrade their flooring, (at Great Western of course) every four years so he would be able to pay for his own health insurance, cell phone, internet, etc. I don’t like to count other people’s money, but he has to be one of the highest income earners on the council, and takes the highest compensation from residents, besides the mayor. Doesn’t quite add up.

  2. Illinois is Broke

    Great Western Flooring also applied for and accepted a $250,000.00 grant from Illinois to put solar panels on their warehouse, and stated that they were also applying for additional Federal Grants for even more government subsidies. They also chose to take ComEd instead of Naperville Electric for their energy provider. While other Naperville businesses and families struggle with some of the highest electric bills around, and skyrocketing water bills, Great Western Flooring sure has a leg up on the rest of us! Does the up to $500,000.00 “spiff,” I mean sales tax rebate, for purchases of construction products from local business for the Council approved Convention Center apply to council members personal business interests? I’m sure that they would have recused themselves from the vote if they were going to bid on the business. Naperville is over $300,000.00 in debt and unfunded pension liabilities. In 2014 Naperville may need to borrow another $4.5million for the unfunded requirements of the Water Street Project. Illinois is nearly broke, but the spending and borrowing just doesn’t stop

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