Eight Naperville City Council Candidates For Four Open Seats

In just 44 days we will know which four of the eight Naperville city council candidates will transition from being a candidate to becoming a member of the Naperville city council. On February 8, the Naperville Area Homeowners Confederation hosted a forum for candidates to express their positions on a number of issues including:

  • 5th Avenue development
  • Utility rates
  • Housing vouchers
  • Opioid crisis
  • Ogden avenue corridor
  • Sanctuary city status
  • Affordable housing
  • Parking on Washington street
  • Reducing footprint of Naperville government
  • Home rule sales tax
  • Candidate election budget

Watchdog ranked the candidates 1 through 8 based on results by a very informal focus group of 10 people (out of the area) with strong people-skills, who were unfamiliar with all the candidates, hence making it a more level playing field. Their backgrounds were varied, including recruiting, management, financial, home maker, executive, energy, out-of-state council member, communications, human resource, and public relations. Watchdog did not participate in the rankings, but will endorse four candidates by mid-March. The grading scale went from:

Grading Scale
Letter Grade Number Grade
A+ 7
A 6
A- 5
B+ 4
B 3
B- 2
C+ 1
C 0
C- -1
D+ -2
D -3
D- -4
F+ -5
F -6
F- -7

Candidates were also graded on their opening and closing statements. Each candidate was given a composite grade/score based on the average of the ten focus group members. Each candidate’s total score was determined with a possible high score of 91 (13 X 7), and a possible low score of -91 (13 X -7). Straight C’s would have provided a total score of zero (13 X 0).

All eight candidates scored above average with a range of 64 down to 5. The candidates ranked as followed:

Rank Candidate Totals
1 Coyne 64
2 Isaac 62
3 Gallaher 36
4 White 33
5 Berkowicz 32
6 Strick 27
7 Brodhead 18
8 Krummen 5


If the election was based on the above results, two incumbents would be re-elected (Coyne and Gallaher), and two new council members would be elected (Isaac and White) replacing Judy Brodhead and John Krummen.

Both Berkowicz and Strick would be close to breaking into the top four, not far behind Gallaher and White for city council inclusion.

Brodhead’s and Krummen’s closing statements focused on accomplishments of the city council, rather than their own contributions toward the accomplishments, while Coyne listed his accomplishments on the council, Gallaher focused on values, White on issues, Strick on personal achievement, Isaac focused on vision, and Berkowicz added a personalized touch.

The three issues garnering the best cumulative average scores (answers) were:

  1. Candidate election budget
  2. Parking on Washington St.
  3. Housing vouchers

The three issues garnering the worst cumulative average scores (answers) were:

  1. Sanctuary city status
  2. Ogden avenue corridor
  3. Opioid crisis

Best opening statements were by Brodhead, Coyne, and Isaac.

Best closing statements were by Coyne, Isaac, and Gallaher.

Watchdog asked each member of the focus group for one, two, or three-word impressions of each candidate during the forum. Considering perception is reality, the following are descriptions (perception) of each candidate:

Julie Berkowicz

Supportive, cooperates with others, good listener, respectful, thoughtful, amiable, self-critical, helpful, friendly, innovator, open-minded, approachable, team player, takes partners, keeps it simple, sincere.

Judy Brodhead

Read opening statement, listed council accomplishment not hers, makes tentative statements, bland, past-oriented, conforming, wishy-washy, agreeable, indecisive, reactive, team player, goes off on tangents, flaky, time-waster, low-end performer, stays in comfort zone, follower, little initiative, over-matched, blends in, embraces diversity.

Kevin Coyne

Organized, pragmatic, assertive, can-do attitude, driver, focused, business-like, expressionless, controlled, time-disciplined, monotone, fact oriented, alliance builder, action-oriented, practical, abrupt, direct, prepared, trustworthy, collaborates, problem-solver, drives change, communicates clearly, to-the-point, negotiates win-win solutions, critical thinker, prioritizes, keeps it simple, incorporates common sense.

Kevin Gallaher

Read opening statement, thinker, informal and casual, stuffy, disorganized, complacent, lacking passion, relaxed, non-pretentious, promotes inclusion, anticipates ripple effect of decisions, thrifty.

Mike Isaac

Clearly stated platform, confident, energetic, good eye contact, spoke of his vision, expressive, animated, high quality verbal communication, stimulating, fast paced, future oriented, ingratiating, persistent, orderly, creative, independent, decisive, goal oriented, courageous, loyal, resilient, adaptable, communicates effectively, engages, inspiring, strong bias for action.

John Krummen

Analytical, shifty, intermittent eye contact, slow-moving, data-focused, lacking confidence, unsure, awkward, serious, harsh, cold, distant, overly cautious, manipulative, scowling, curious, values diversity, gives recognition, ill-at-ease, contemplates, current with information, challenges assumptions.

Mike Strick

Read opening statement, impulsive, demanding, strong-willed, vague, passionate, determined, obtains commitment, gives credit to others, shares personal experience, common sense, delegates, strong, forceful, fiscally conservative.

Benny White

Military background, amiable, task oriented, approachable, industrious, accountable, maximize productivity, good eye contact, comfortable with himself, respectful, honest, looks beyond the obvious.

The two-hour forum allowed each candidate approximately 15 minutes each, which is not much time, however that allows ten focus-group members a total of 150 minutes (2.5 hours) to evaluate each candidate making the number of impressions quite reasonable.

A big ‘thank you’ goes out to the ten focus-group members for investing their time and helping Watchdog to make this possible.

Item # – Category Berkowicz Brodhead Coyne Gallaher Isaac Krummen Strick White AVERAGES
1 – Opening statement -3 6 6 3 6 1 0 4 2.9
2 – 5th Ave. development 3 3 4 1 6 0 4 0 2.6
3 – Utility rates 5 0 5 3 3 2 2 2 2.8
4 – Housing vouchers 5 -1 7 0 7 0 7 6 3.9
5 – Opioid crisis 3 2 1 2 3 -2 3 -1 1.4
6 – Ogden Ave. corridor -2 -1 4 -1 5 -3 3 -1 0.5
7 – Sanctuary city status 4 -4 2 0 5 -5 -4 4 0.3
8 – Affordable housing 0 0 5 4 3 -3 2 1 1.5
9 – Parking on Washington St. 5 4 6 5 5 4 3 5 4.6
10 – Reduce footprint of Naperville government 5 -3 7 3 4 4 -3 4 2.6
11 – Home rule sales tax 0 4 6 5 5 4 1 3 3.5
12 – Candidate election budget 5 5 5 7 5 6 6 4 5.4
13 – Closing statement 2 3 6 4 5 -3 3 2 2.8
TOTALS 32 18 64 36 62 5 27 33 2.7
Show 5 Comments


  1. Kevin

    Spot on description of Brodhead.

  2. John

    I’m surprised that nobody addressed environmental issues . Our electricity relies heavily on fossil fuels and one supplier . Life is good .

  3. jay Motgan

    It would be interesting to learn what they based the ratings on for Sanctuary City evaluation. Drummer -5, Strick -4, Brodhead -4. Were these three the most in favor of Naperville becoming a Sanctuary City or the most against it?

    • watchdog

      It was based on the candidate’s position and the candidate’s presentation of their positions. All members of the focus group are anti-sanctuary city in their respective communities. None of the communities are currently considering sanctuary city status, nor are they considering the Welcoming Community concept (other than Naperville). The real focus group results will be made public in 11 days on April 4th. Thank you,

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