Trying to get people to agree on almost anything is a challenge. Imagine trying to get two people to agree on ten different topics. If you think that would be difficult, how about getting nine people to agree unanimously on 271 issues our of 295. Unheard of you say, well not when it comes to the Naperville city council.
A review of the voting patterns for the current city council since they took the oath of office in May of 2015, shows that out of the 295 issues voted upon, the council voted unanimously 271 times, or approximately 92% of the time.
We didn’t factor in the voting for the June 2, 2015 meeting, because the city website incorrectly shows the voting results for May 19 meeting also for June 2nd. The city was informed, but as of the date of this posting, the correction has not been made.
To say that this city council has a nearly non-existent diversity of thought would be an understatement.
Even more interesting, is the fact that out of 2,655 individual council member votes on the on the 295 issues, only 53 times did council members vote against the majority as this chart shows:
|Council Member||# of votes against the majority||# of votes with the majority (%)|
|Judy Brodhead||1||294 (99.7%)|
|Mayor Steve Chirico||2||293 (99.4%)|
|Becky Anderson||3||292 (99.0%)|
|John Krummen||4||291 (98.6%)|
|Kevin Coyne||6||289 (98.0%)|
|Paul Hinterlong||8||287 (97.3%)|
|Kevin Gallaher||9||286 (96.9%)|
|Rebecca Obarski||9||286 (96.9%)|
|Patty Gustin||11||284 (96.3%)|
It’s possible that members of this Naperville city council either have like-minded thinking and agree on everything just about all the time, or for whatever reason don’t have the courage to take a dissenting point of view.
During the last city council meeting, councilman Kevin Coyne expressed his opinion of not being in favor of having a council meeting on the night of the Illinois primary election. However, when it came time to vote, he voted in favor of having the council meeting on that night making it another unanimous vote. Coyne flipped his vote, rather than voting his conscious.
It’s also possible that council members don’t have the courage to take an opposing point of view from that of mayor Chirico. No doubt that Chirico seems to be the only council member who appears to know exactly what’s going on during meetings, and often times has to tactfully yet firmly set a council member straight on protocol.
This Naperville city council is a polar opposite of the previous city council when council members Fieseler, Wehrli, Miller, Furstenau, McElroy and Krause had no problem speaking their mind. Many a lively discussion occurred and issues were discussed in opposing fashion.
Considering the current council is in unanimous agreement 92% of the time, it would make sense to take the vote first, and save a tremendous amount of time in wasted and mindless talking. And only have discussion during the few times there is disagreement. But even in disagreement, as in Coyne’s case, it still results in a unanimous vote.
Here’s another thought, since independent thought is lacking, why not simply reduce the size of council from nine down to five, or three; now that would be a cost-cutting measure that residents would surely applaud.