At the most recent Naperville city council meeting, last Tuesday evening, during Roll Call, eight of the nine city council members were present, and the meeting began just a few minutes after 7:00pm. The council is getting better at starting meetings almost on time, however they still struggle at getting to the starting gate exactly on time; 8 of 9 managed to show up to do the people’s business.
The meeting lasted about 2.75 hours, and the main topic of the night was city council member compensation. I’m not saying it was the most important topic on the agenda, but if time spent discussing a topic is the benchmark of importance, then Naperville city council member compensation was the most important topic since it lasted 81 minutes of the 164 minute meeting.
Council members bantered back and forth about whether or not to include health insurance, or if they should scrap that perk and simply double their salary to $24,000, or maybe just increase it to $20,000. None of the council members seemed as though they wanted to bring a motion to vote, and one (Grant Wehrli) was quite content delaying the decision for about 8 to 10 weeks. Procrastination is a political ploy, when no one wants to take charge.
It wasn’t until the meeting was 75% over, that missing Naperville council member, Judith Brodhead arrived and took her seat at the dais. Looking a little disheveled, she said……well let’s watch and listen to council member Brodhead’s own words:
So while the other 8 members of the council are doing what they were elected to do, councilwoman Brodhead is out and about having fun. Hey I’m a Garrison Keillor (Prairie Home Companion) fan, but business is business. Apparently Brodhead is confusing ‘doing the peoples’ business’ with monkey business.
Chances are, that everybody attending the Naperville city council meeting had other things they would rather be doing, but there they were, in council chambers, while Brodhead was out on the town. Councilman Steve Chirico was on vacation, but made it a priority to be back in time for the council meeting. In fact, councilman Chirico has not missed one Tuesday night council meeting since he was elected. That’s demonstrating accountability.
In fairness to councilwoman Brodhead, her creative participation during council meetings is often understated to the point of invisibility, since she invariably votes with the majority. However the least she can do is show up for meetings, and at least make it look like she’s involved.