Having been raised and going to school in Chicago until the age of 11 was no day at the beach. One of my daily goals was to avoid getting beat up after school. By the time I moved to the suburbs, my fighting record was no wins and 13 defeats, with one tie; and none of those 14 dust-ups did I initiate. The one tie came against a kid a year younger than me and a foot shorter. I quickly realized at a young age, that one-on-one combat was not my calling.
Fast forward to high school and gym class where I was required (for a four week period) to wrestle during second period and then shower, quickly dress, and while still sweating, go directly to speech class where I had to stand under the hot lights and give a 3-minute speech, almost like public forum. To say that was miserable was an under statement. That’s when I quickly realized (again) that I needed to come up with a game plan to not allow that to continue. My wrestling opponent was an all-state halfback (Bill Potter) and he was my battery mate on the Barrington baseball team. He was the catcher and I was the pitcher. Knowing that I couldn’t win the wresting match, and didn’t want to work up a sweat, we arranged that he would make me look good for about 30 seconds, and then take me down for the count of three. The plan worked, mission accomplished. No sweating on the mat, and no sweating under the hot lights in speech class.
So during last Tuesday night’s Naperville city council meeting, it almost appeared as though the council members had rehearsed (in the inky shadows of city hall) their bantering back and forth while discussing the next city council’s compensation package. I quickly realized (again) that couldn’t possibly happen, because it would require thinking critically to develop a strategic plan on their part, and then the ability to execute that plan, none of which is a Naperville city council strength.
At issue was one of two choices (as they see it), 1) keep their salary at $12,500 per year with the option of health insurance for an approximate total cost to tax payers of $170,000 per year for all eight council members, or 2) raise their salary to $20,000 each with no health insurance option for a total tax payer cost of about $160,000. So they spent hours and hours, during meeting after meeting, huffing, and puffing, and flexing about a total difference of $10,000 which equates to $3.24 of compensation per day per council member. Basically they worked themselves up deciding if they wanted six eggs, or a half dozen. When all the dust settled, they decided to do nothing, keep it as is, status quo. That means the eight council members, who work part-time get what other part-time city staff employees don’t get, which is, 1) health insurance, and 2) the ability to determine, basically, their own salary if they choose to run for re-election in 2015 and get elected. That’s a sweet deal that any city staff employee would love to have.
Not surprisingly, the one option that city council members wanted no part of, was keeping their salary at $12,500 and eliminating health insurance. That would have been a good deal for tax payers and an equitable deal with other part-time city employees. City council members voted to keep the extra $10,000 and slam tax-paying residents to the mat.