Naperville Survey, One Glaring Question Not Asked

The results from the City of Naperville’s Survey Report, have been gathered, totaled, certified, and now available in a 143 page report. It comprises almost everything you would want to know about how residents view their fine city. All sorts of bar graphs and pie charts depicting beautiful colors.

For the most part, the report implies things are hunky dory in Joe Naper’s city by the river, and frankly they are pretty good even though 6% of the folks think otherwise. Now 6% isn’t much, however with an election coming up in 61 days on April 4, just a small portion of that 6% can make or break a candidate for city council, especially an incumbent.

This election has four incumbents up for re-election including, Judith Brodhead, Kevin Coyne, John Krummen, and Kevin Gallaher. Incumbents tend to like the status quo, keeping things as they are, which means keeping themselves in office.

This year’s survey results show that the same top issues bothering residents now, are the same top issues annoying residents when the last survey in 2012 was conducted including,

  • Flow of traffic and congestion management
  • Public transportation services
  • Visibility of police in neighborhoods and retail areas

Other areas of displeasure and concern by Naperville residents included:

  • Overall value of electric utility rates
  • Maintenance of street signs, pavements, and markings
  • Overall value for water rates
  • Curbside bulk leaf removal service
  • Household hazardous waste disposal services

Another area of interest included ‘Perceptions of Safety’. Categories included:

  • In your neighborhood during the day
  • In your neighborhood at night
  • In downtown Naperville before 10pm
  • In downtown after 10pm
  • In commercial and retail areas
  • At train stations
  • In city parking garages
  • In your children’s school
  • Areas of assembly (worship, sporting events, etc)

Even though residents felt safe in each of the above, the area of feeling least safe was downtown Naperville after 10pm, twice as unsafe as city parking garages, and four times as unsafe than in their own neighborhoods at night.

Most interesting observation about the survey was that in a 143 page report, and hundreds of categories, with a thousand or more possible answers, there was not one question about how residents view and feel about city officials including the city council, the mayor, and the city manager.

One could say, that the ultimate survey about their effectiveness comes at election time, which is correct, however the city manager is not an elected position. Also if city officials really wanted a “mid-year” grade on their image by residents, wouldn’t a few questions about themselves be included in the survey? Apparently not.

Which gets us back to ‘status quo’. Politicians like to hear about change, unless change involves them.

Show 4 Comments


  1. Jim Haselhorst

    If the vast majority of residents are happy and they feel that everything in the city is “hunky dory”, does that not imply that elected officials and senior staff are doing a good job? Does personal feelings about city officials really matter if you believe everything in the city is good? What is more important, loving your city official or being happy with the results of their work?

    Questions about potentially controversial city officials would only introduce a bias to the survey that could defeat it purpose of finding out what city services resident believe are most in need of fixing. If resident want to express their feeling about elected official then simply vote in April (something 80% of the registered voters in Naperville decided not to do last city election).

  2. Bob West


    I disagree that just because things are running good, and people are satisfied that it is a direct reflection on the Council. Similar to the Federal government, there are skilled people in place to keep the day to day running smoothly, even if there is no one at the top.

    We have a very capable staff and employees, so I wouldn’t jump to the conclusion that the Council is doing good. In fact they can do more harm than good, as is evidenced from time to time.


    • Jim Haselhorst

      I agree we do have a very good city staff and part of the group the watchdog said should be in this survey is the top level city employees (not elected officials). My point being if people are satisfied with the services the city provides then they are in fact satisfied with the job these top level professional city employees are doing. Making including these individuals in the survey pointless.

      And elected officials get input from residents on how well they are or aren’t doing their jobs on almost a daily bases through TV, print media, websites (like Watchdog), email, meeting with residents and phone calls. So including them in the survey would not provide any new useful information and potentially bias the result.

  3. David

    Don’t allow Naperville to be a sanctuary city.

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