Just when you think you have seen the last of him, he pops up again, like gum on your shoe on a hot August day. I’m referring to Naperville’s ex-councilman Dick Furstenau. Like Senator Marco Rubio, who was referred to as ‘little Marco’, Furstenau is affectionately known as ‘little Dick’. He sat (not served) on the Naperville city council from 1999 until 2011 when he was unceremoniously dumped at the curbside by Naperville voters. This was prompted and preceded by a series of unsavory events between Furstenau and the City of Naperville, which involved the police, accusations, law suits, the court system, and all sorts distasteful actions, resulting in Naperville tax payers losing a lot of money, Furstenau losing his council seat, and the City of Naperville losing a lot of respect.
In the old days, a ne’er-do-well would get tarred, feathered and run out of town on a rail, but nowadays that person just moves on to another government job. This gets us back to Furstenau or ‘little Dick’, when he popped up at the last Naperville city council meeting during public forum and used his three minutes to pat himself on the back. Pay attention to the ‘mutual admiration society ritual’ between Furstenau, Mayor Chirico, and councilmen Hinterlong and Gallaher:
OK, so the Water Commission dug a $140 million hole and the Commission got out of the hole with a series of rate increases including 5%, 15%, 15%, 15% and then 17% according to Furstenau and he hangs his hat on this as an accomplishment? So while Furstenau, Chirico, Hinterlong and Gallaher were slapping each other on the back for a job well done, there was no mention of the ‘Forgotten Man’ who really filled the $140 million hole; it was the ratepayer.
Watch and listed to Naperville City Manager, Doug Krieger, as he explains how government fills a hole:
In Furstenau’s video clip, he proudly states the Water Commission has “more than an ample amount of money in every one of our accounts” and “plenty of money in reserve”. Inept government officials dig a huge debt-hole, fill it by increasing rates and tax dollars, resulting in government coffers over-flowing with money, while taxpayers (residents and businesses) accounts have their funds siphoned out.
Furstenau’s time is up at the DuPage Water Commission. Unfortunately, he’ll pop-up somewhere drinking from a government trough. It becomes a game of Whack-a-mole, pound him down and he pops-up somewhere else.
There’s no doubt that Furstenau knows a glass of water when he sees it, and he can identify water when he tastes it, but other than that what exactly did he accomplish on the DuPage Water Commission. It was probably the same thing he accomplished on the Naperville city council; which was filling an empty seat.
Amazing how politicians create the problems by their poor initial decisions and oversight or lack thereof of what they created. Run the agency or program into the financial ground then raise our rates or taxes or both to the point of bankrupting the constituents then claim success in bailing out agency.
Never is there a going back to basics and re-asking the questions(s) was this a good idea in the first place and if not get ride of it. Instead, it is always throw more money at it, grow it bigger and more wasteful and like cancer eventually kill the host.
If I remember correctly part of the Water Board hole was also filled with a .25% sale tax in addition to rate hikes. This is not the first time Dick has address council since joining the Water Commission. Two years ago he addressed the council and suggested the city solve it problems by eliminating water conservation policies and encouraging residents to use more water (Naperville was not using its full allotment of water). Not only was this suggestion socially irresponsible it was also not in the best interested of resident. Fortunately, no one on city council took the suggestion seriously.