There is a new ‘Sheriff’ in town, and he means business; just follow the procedure. The new ‘sheriff’ is Naperville mayor Steve Chirico, and he drew some definite lines in the sand during last Tuesday’s city council meeting; the first meeting for the new Naperville city council.
It didn’t take long for the first change to be noticed.It happened at exactly 7:00pm when the meeting started on time. The was no meandering in at 7:05 or 7:10 for council members. They were there and ready to do the peoples’ business at 7pm sharp.
The leader sets the pace, creates a benchmark, and leads by example. Chirico campaigned on his platform of a strong business background. He owns Great Western Flooring. The business opens at 9:00am, not 9:05 or 9:10. Opening and starting on time (punctuality) is respect for other peoples’ time.
Things were going great for the new city council, until about 45 minutes into the meeting when Michael Carpanzano addressed the city council during Public Forum:
It got worse for the city council about a half-hour later, when Basim Esmail respectfully addressed the council with his claim (supported by video and audio) that the City of Naperville has engaged in ‘silent discrimination’ against him for the last 30+ years:
Two things are interesting about this clip. First it appears Naperville city officials have kept this resident on the ‘bureaucracy bicycle’ since the last century, and secondly they don’t want to hear (or let residents hear) the final 20 seconds of his public forum presentation.
Anyone can Google ‘Napergate’ and learn why he spent over $100,000 fighting the city in court and winning, and purchasing 129 full page ads in the Naperville Sun and Daily Herald to explain his position. If he would have spent those dollars on campaigning for city council, he may have been our outgoing or current mayor.
One can understand why Mayor Chirico slapped the 3-minute rule on Mr. Esmail; he is the new ‘sheriff’ in town and wants to follow or enforce procedure, I get it, however there were two speakers during public forum that spoke for more than three minutes without hearing the dreaded words, “Mr. Mayor, the speaker’s time is up.” The mayor spent 45 seconds telling the speaker he couldn’t have 20 seconds to finish.
What is disappointing is that not one of the other eight city council members spoke up by saying, “Mr. Mayor, if you don’t mind, I would like to hear Mr. Esmail’s final 20 seconds.” Chances are the mayor would have said ‘no’, and that’s O.K, but at least that council member would have distinguished himself or herself by showing enough interest to at least listen to the resident.
Every single member of the city council at one time or another during the campaign or inauguration mentioned the importance of listening to residents’ concerns. Apparently they are only interested in listening for three minutes.