In 1986, author Robert Fulghum published the book, “All I Really Need To Know, I learned In Kindergarten”. Its message was the world would be in a much better place if adults followed the same simple rules as children do; sharing, picking up after yourself, being kind to one another, etc., in other words the Golden Rule. Government has warped the meaning of the ‘Golden Rule’ to ‘he who has the gold, makes the rules’ in this case the ‘he’ is government officials.
Apparently a lot of people never read the book, and if they did, they thought the rules applied to others and not to themselves, especially when it comes to harassment and bullying, which in many ways is the same thing. People in a position of power can use that power to bully and harass others. This happens at all levels. If the #1 weed picker has authority over the #2 weed picker, #2 could be in a difficult situation; acquiesce or lose the job.
Harassment has probably existed since time began, however it has openly exploded over the last few months in entertainment, government, sports, etc. HR departments are busy trying to formulate policies to address the situation. One would think that Fulghum’s book would be sufficient, but apparently not. Do we really need to be educated on how to be kind to one another? Apparently so. Do our elected and city officials not know how to behave properly with those they supervise. If so, how do they even get elected?
The Illinois General Assembly passed a resolution in mid-November 2017, mandating the adoption of a new policy on harassment, requiring local governments to create a policy prohibiting all forms of sexual harassment by January 15. Though the City of Naperville already has a watered-down version of a policy on the books, the new mandate is more specific including the Illinois Whistleblower Act which provides protection for individuals and prohibits retaliation for presenting allegations of harassment.
Considering the wave of sexual harassment allegations recently, and the updating and expansion of harassment training, it would be prudent for Naperville city officials including city council members to avail themselves of the training as soon as possible.
If a claim against a Naperville city official is substantiated, consequences can include additional training, possible suspension maybe without pay, and though unlikely, job termination.
Consequences against Naperville residents and taxpayers will be a guaranteed big-time settlement payout to cover inappropriate behavior by city officials.
It might be a good investment and form of insurance for the Naperville city council, if councilwoman Becky Anderson would provide other council members with a copy of Robert Fulghum’s book as a refresher.