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.
Proof positive that the only thing that interest politicians in time or money is their own basal issues. Power, money and ego prestige are what drives these folks not the honor and privilege to serve the community instead of lording over it. Based on past performance their worth to the community is a minus and they shouldn’t receive anything in salary or benefits!
Something interesting that I found out. The City is self insured for healthcare. So, they really don’t pay any premiums, they pay the costs of actual claims, including prescriptions. In effect, what the City says they pay for City Council healthcare may be much more than they are reporting – as in several times the reported costs. A FOIA asking for actual costs incurred by the group of City Councilmen, not individuals, over the past few years would prove interesting. Or, maybe one of the Councilmen would get the information and come clean?
Isn’t this kinda like the “pink slime” debacle? It gets public attention and outrage, the practice is dabated endlessly until the issue has time to go away. Suddenly when the coast is clear, the practice continues. If the sheep in Naperville, 80% of which didn’t even bother to vote for their School Board members at the last election, don’t wake up they will continue to get sheared in taxes and fees. The Council should be made up of people who know how to run successful business. Certainly they have insurance at these thriving enterprises or are retired. Why any of the Council members shift their Health Care Insurance burdens and risk on to the taxpayer is astounding. At the next election debates, have the moderators ask which of them still soak the taxpayers for their health insurance, a benefit not granted to most Ameicans, including the cities own employees who work part time.