No City Council Meeting, No Regulation, No Problem

The Naperville city council may need to be re-educated about conducting council meetings considering that between June 22 and August 15, a period of 55 days, there was only one Naperville city council meeting (July 19).  During that nearly eight week period of time, the city was working quite efficiently. Fewer meetings meant fewer ordinances, less regulation, fewer unwise decisions, and fewer problems. It sounds like a formula we may want to explore.

When you think about it, why do we need all those council meetings? Wouldn’t one per month be sufficient? And why do we need all those city council members? Nine seems to be redundant, when three council members would be more efficient. If council members spoke less, and residents spoke more, I think our Founding Fathers would be proud. Naperville has nine city council members, while our country had seven Founding Fathers (Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Madison, Monroe, Franklin and Hamilton). They built a foundation and framework for our country. One would think that if they could do that, then Naperville city officials could be more efficient and effective by streamlining their words and actions.

When the Naperville city council approves an ordinance, it often times has more words than any amendment in the Bill of Rights. In fact, there are more words in Naperville’s liquor ordinances than there are in the Constitution of the United States.

The Naperville city council is in a power struggle with a Naperville Township supervisor to reduce the inefficiency and redundancy of government. It’s a good idea. It would also be a good idea to do the same within the City of Naperville.

Show 15 Comments


  1. Gerard Schilling

    Since this cozy nine rereferendumized (new word) our referendum (which passed) to have district versus roaming councilmen (similar to judges in the old west) who never make it out of downtown and go to the hinterlands why not now lead by example and cut four of the positions?

    Since they all represent the same thing in collusion with the lawyers who actually run the city and pull the strings they could actually save the tax payers some money. We know that’s the very last thing on anybodies agenda in the hallowed halls comprised of politicians or bureaucrats.

    Cheers and take off another month as when you are not meeting you are doing no harm to we the patients.

  2. Bob West

    Sometimes I think you are just being ridiculous. With a City as large as Naperville, there is much activity and people petitioning need decisions to be made sooner, not later. In addition, if we had wards, which I was in favor of, there would need to be more Alderman than 8 to keep the ratio manageable. Why would you put the burden of this large of a City on basically 2 councilmen? The Mayor has other duties and shouldn’t count.

    Having said that, I am not a big fan of this latest Council and feel they could be more productive at the meetings. Lots of pontificating from most. I agree the citizens aren’t listened too and are in fact berated at times by some of the Councilmen. Maybe lawyers shouldn’t be allowed to run.

  3. Jim Haselhorst

    The problem with fewer council meetings is that builders would have to wait longer to get approval to start projects. These delays cost developers large sums of money and it would created and environment not conducive to attracting developers to our community. Along with the impacts to economic development that delays in changes to city ordinances would have on local businesses. Also just because council members are not having a meeting does not mean they are not busy behind the scenes doing things that help our city staff run the city so smoothly. They all also hold seats on other city boards like the River Walk, Downtown Economic Development, Liquor, etc. Finally they are also involved in planning, preparing and holding various workshops throughout the fiscal year that are critical to budgeting, staffing and keeping citizens informed about what is happening in our community.

    As to reducing the number of council members, the few council members the less diversity you have on your council, which means fewer differing prospective on the issues and challenges that face our community. Reducing the number of council members would also mean less access to council representation for citizens making it harder to have a voice in city government. Fewer city council members would also increase the risk of not having a quorum when a meeting is convened which means the meeting would have to be adjourned and no city business would be conducted (see above paragraph for impact this would have on our community). Finally, reducing the number of council members is not that simply, it would require changing the city charter which involves ballet referendums and public meetings.

    Admittedly this suggestion would reduce city operating expenses, but only by about $15K per member eliminated which works out to about twenty-five cents per household. So if you did reduce it to just three members each household would see about a $1.50 in saving each year. Is that enough savings to justify the increased inconvenience to residents, developers, builder, businesses, etc along with the negative impact on the city’s economic growth and community events? I personally believe the answer to this question is No!

  4. A. Jackson

    Naperville has more city councilmen/women then any other city of this size in the country. Cities of a larger size have even less council members and run quite efficiently. It just goes to show these councilmen/women / mayor think the more the merrier, spread the wealth on the backs of the citizens.

    • Bob West

      I don’t think you are correct. Aurora, Rockford etc are similar and have a lot more.

    • Jim Haselhorst

      The idea that our council members are getting in some way rich by through their service it simply ridiculous. As I pointed out in my own post they are paid $15K each per year, they could make more working for the Burger King down the street. As to “spreading the wealth on the backs of the citizens” I find myself asking “what wealth?”. Naperville has been in budget cutting mode for over seven years now, were is this great wealth to be shared? I have gone through the last few budget and I can not find any pots of gold to tap into. Perhaps A. Jackson could enlighten use as to were all this wealth is hidden in our city government.

  5. A. Jackson

    For some, the Naperville city council is merely a springboard for these wannabe career politicians, look no further than Grant Whirly, Darlene Senger, Steve Chirico, etc. It’s a tight little clique, campaigning for and promoting their supporters, just look at the current police chief /assistant city manager /. And while they only make $15,000 right now, they also receive insurance benefits for themselves and their families, and get a pension for the rest of their lives. Can you get that at the Burger King down the street?

    • Jim Haselhorst

      The city council eliminated both the insurance and pension benefits for council members a long time ago, so the $15K in pay is all the compensation they receive (not counting a phone, a share secretary, etc., which are more a need of the position then compensation). As to being a springboard to bigger and better things, yes that is possible, but it is disingenuous to imply that is their sole motive.

      Darlene and Grant both server multiple terms on the council as well as on other boards prior to council before being elected to State office. Both of these people demonstrated their sincere commitment to making our community better long before running for any state office. It was this sincere commitment that got them elected to these “higher” offices, since we have had several former council members who did not display this level of commitment that ran for these same offices and failed miserably in their attempts.

      Finally, to state that this is Steve’s sole ambition is also unfair. He has also served on other boards before city council and his present position as mayor. If he should chose at some future time to run for higher office then he has also demonstrated his commitment to the taxpayer and residents of Naperville and aren’t such committed people who we want serving our interest in these higher offices?

      • A Zee

        SC didn’t choose to run for council/mayor (or be on any committees/boards) of the great State of Naperville due to his commitment or love to or for the people of the city. Nay, my good friends, he chose to use this city as his springboard to bigger & better things—in his eyes, that is—go east, young man. Go east.

        So, he sucks up to the guv and offers to swallow Naperville Township in whole to show his loyalty….not as a cost-saving measure for the citizens of the city or the township residents. Nope, just to get on the good side of those who will get him to the promised land!!

        Let’s hope SC falters as he moves on just as DS did, and, in due time, GW will.

        • Jim Haselhorst

          First off eliminating townships in the state of Illinois is an initiative that has been around for decades and the state statue allowing the elimination of some local taxing bodies has been around since 1997, which is long before Chirico became a member of city council and later mayor. So trying to put any problems or issues you have with this initiative in Chirico’s lap is lame at best.

          Also since Resident of Naperville get all their services provided by the City not the Township most Naperville township taxpayer derive no benefit from this organizations existence, leaving all the benefits to a handful of unincorporated Naperville residents. When the townships are eliminated (by existing state statue) the County governments not any city government, well absorb the authorities and duties of these taxing bodies. So the implication that Naperville city government will in someway increase or grow is blatantly false and accusing Chirico of making so kind of grab for power is completely without foundation.

          Finally, wishing an elected representative of our city to fail is to wish our city to fail, since our community’s prosperity is intimately connected to the success of the people looking out for our interests in these government organization. It sounds like you really do not like Naperville, in which case why do you live here?

          • A Zee

            ….”eliminating townships in the state of Illinois is an initiative that has been around for decades,” yet it has rarely, if ever been attempted or accomplished!! Until now—now, when the current guv wants action, he goes to his patsies…GW & SC.

            “So the implication that Naperville city government will in someway increase or grow is blatantly false…” I’m sorry, I’ve read & re-read my post many times AND I’ve read & re-read between the lines, I see nothing in that post that comes close to your retort!!

            “….wishing an elected representative of our city to fail is to wish our city to fail,…” I just want them out of the way, so someone with more knowledge & common sense can come along to right the ship. Oh, and I live here, because I was raised here….a few more years I shall be out of here enjoying retirement in a land (or state) far far away.

          • Jim Haselhorst

            A Zee when I see a statement like “swallow Naperville Township in whole” its hard for me to imagine this would imply anything other than an “implication that Naperville city government will in someway increase or grow”

  6. Jim Haselhorst

    A Zee – The fact that the statue providing for the elimination of redundant taxing bodies, like the townships, are decades old makes it clear that people have been attempting to do away with them for almost two decades. Their failure to do so says more about these townships serving the needs of dynastic old school machine politics intent on preserving and perpetuating these dynasties then serving the public’s best interests.

    The lack of transparency by the Naperville township (budgets not available online, years old treasury reports only one currently available online, meeting schedule that conflicts with city council meetings, months old meeting minutes which can only be describe at best as brief and providing little in operations details or discussion.etc.) makes it appear more like a secretive Bone and Skull Society then public government organization and makes it impossible for the average taxpayer to access just how much benefit this organization is providing. What is clear from the online information available is that at least 12% of it’s budget is spent on elected officials compensation, compared to less than .05% of the city’s budget spent on this same type of compensation.

    Having grownup in this state it is easy to see how you would develop such a myopic view of township governance and its importance. I have lived in several state, none of which have township government, were the needs of the unincorporated residents were adequately meet by the county government and in those situation were these residents felt their needs were not adequately meet they simply voted to have their HOA contract with a private provider or their associated city government to fulfill these needs. In all these state the taxes were considerably lower. The most common reason I hear from people for choosing to leave this state and retire elsewhere is the high property taxes, which is a problem the townships contribute to. There elimination would be significant progress in reversing this problem.

  7. Jim Haselhorst

    As a person with no political party affiliations I have grown use to seeing both Democrats and Republicans using terms like “lap dog”, “suck up”, “boot licker”, etc to marginalize the beliefs and goals of their rivals or someone they disagree with. I see the use of these terms as a shallow attempt to marginalize a persons position on an issue and avoid a rational discussion of the issue based on facts and available data. Behavior like this makes me question whether the person using these terms has anything tangible to base there decision on or have simply chosen to practice blind loyalty to a party agenda, behavior they claim to loath when accusing other of practicing.

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