Naperville’s Rogue City Council Member

Naperville has had its share of city council members that have said unusual things with odd requests, however the City may have the beginnings of its first rogue council member, that being Theresa Sullivan. During the October 15 city council meeting, council member Sullivan came out of nowhere questioning and wanting to change agreed upon parliamentary procedure. Watch and listen to Sullivan as she interjects something she doesn’t like about the council’s procedure and Mayor Steve Chirico quickly puts a lid on it and moves on with the business at hand:

This was definitely not the time to present the idea. You know that thing in your mind that tells you something is a bad idea. Somebody needs to get Sullivan one of those things. She has a propensity to act as a loose canon, against expectations and instruction, and pursue her own interests which is a definition for ‘rogue’.

A better time to bring up the idea would be under ‘new business’, but no, she blurts out the idea during an inopportune time. How long before she continues to express things she doesn’t like about parliamentary procedure, such as:

  • Why should the majority vote rule.
  • Why does the mayor sit at the middle of the dais.
  • Scrap parliamentary procedure and let chaos be the order of the day
  • Shouldn’t a council member be in motion when making a motion.
  • If a council member is missing from a meeting, why not allow a coin flip determine that person’s vote.

Sullivan is one of the new kids on the block on the council, along with Patrick Kelly, maybe it would be in her best interest to invest more time in learning how things work on the council and why they work, before trying to change what has been determined to be best practices. It definitely would be in the best interest of those she was elected to represent.

Show 8 Comments


  1. Ben

    It is so refreshing to have a Council member speak her mind against they Mayor (and others) antics on the Dias.

  2. Jim Haselhorst

    I have to agree with Ben. She was not being rogue. She was pointing out, without name, how Coyne has been us council parliamentary rule to interject his own personal political agenda (he is running for 5th District DuPage County Board seat) into council meetings. And I agree with her it is annoying.

    I would further point out that the existing parliamentary rules were adopted shortly after Chirico was elected. Part of Chirico’s plans to simplify and update city policies and ordinances included making changes to city council rules.

    • Kevin Piket

      Jim, you really seem to have an axe to grind with Councilmen Coyne. Each of your posts lately seem to attack him personally (I saw one where you called him a sexist). He wasn’t even mentioned in this current post and you bring him into it just so you can smear him again. Why such hard feelings? You are both Jaycees and you both seem to want to do right by the community. It’s ok to disagree from time to time, but there is no reason to make it personal like you have. This is what is wrong with politics today, everything has to be these smear tactic social media type posts to gain attention. Why can’t the conversation start with “I respect you for your hard work, but I disagree with you on this point because…”. Then have a civil conversation based on facts and not base on conjecture.

      As a fellow retired Jaycee myself, I would hope you would show more respect for another member, especially in a public forum. I don’t always agree with Councilmen Coyne myself, but I appreciate his hard work, his candor and his ability to stand by his principles regardless of how popular they are. Kind of like what you do with each of your posts on the Watchdog site. They aren’t popular, but that doesn’t stop you from posting and standing up for your principles.

      • Jim Haselhorst

        First I did not call Coyne sexist. I stated that there is a group of women, active in political circle, that believe Coyne is sexist and that this group intends to do everything they can to see that he is not elected to the DuPage County Board.

        Since you want to bring the Jaycees into this conversation I will oblige. You and I know how important SECA funding is to the continued operation of the Last Fling (the event that raises most of the money the Jaycees give to worthy causes in our community each year). It was Coyne that made the motion to reduce this funding from $2.1 Million with a COLA to $1.9 million without a COLA. It was that cut in funding that eventually lead to SECA adopting a policy of not longer fully funding Grant Requests by the Jaycees (we now only get 80% of what we request to cover the expenses the city charges us). That difference means less funds available for our donations. So Coyne put a massive knife in the back of the Jaycees and has left it there to bleed.

        Coyne has on several occasions over the last year used his position on City Council to prompt himself, his causes and his campaign for DuPage County Board. All of this to increase his presents and name recognition in our community to improve his election chance for the 5th district which is mostly Naperville. We do not need people on our city council who politicize our city offices and use them as stepping stone to higher profile and higher paying elected offices. This is the type of behavior that turned Chicago’s city council into the partisan and corrupt government body it is today. When elected officials use their elected office to advance the “political careers” they stop doing what is best for the community and start doing what is best for them. I it gives me major heartburn to watch a member of our city council behave this way.

        I know when Coyne was first elect he was not this way. But somewhere along the line he got the idea he wants to be a career politician, which is fine with me that is his choice. But when he decide to you his position on city council to promote, showcase and advance his personal political agenda all the time cloaking himself in the claim he is doing what is best for our community I will not remain quite. He needs to be called out at every opportunity so people can see him for what he has become and not continue to support he because of what he used be and what some still believe he is.

        If my calling him out is to you disrespectfully there is nothing I can do about that. I will not stand by and silently watch as a member of our city council exploits their position to advance their political agenda. And no he is not the only one currently doing this there is at least one other, but I will get to that person after the November elections.

        • Kevin Piket

          Jim…when you use a nameless organization as a way to call someone “sexist”, you own the comments yourself. There are no facts behind it and it is just conjecture. If this organization is so angry and has these grand plans to stop his campaign, why don’t you just name them? It’s obviously not a secret if you know about it. Since you brought the topic up, let’s discuss this with actual facts. I find it laughable that someone or some nameless organization would call Kevin Coyne a sexist. His only child is a daughter. His wife is actively involved in the community and fighting for women’s causes. She’s breaking the glass ceiling in her industry as an executive. He coaches his daughters sports teams. Every night he sits down for dinner, he is the only male at the table. He wouldn’t survive a night at dinner if he were sexist like you say he is. My guess is whoever this nameless organization is, they just don’t like his views and instead of having a civil discussion on the different points of view, they resort to name calling which is very common in today’s world of politics. It was cheap shot by you and you have to own that. Stop hiding behind some nameless group. You made the choice to bring that very statement into the conversation. No body forced you to do it.

          In regards to the Jaycees Last Fling, I happened to know a lot about this topic considering my past involvement. For as long as I can remember (dating back to 2006 when I first joined the Last Fling Executive Committee) the Jaycees always knew that some day the SECA fund might not cover some of the costs to maybe none of the costs for the event. That is something that each executive committee has planned for. When I was Co-Executive Director of the event in 2009, we actually created two budgets; one with SECA funding and one without SECA funds. That is called being fiscally responsible. What Kevin Coyne did was help solidify the funds for SECA as there are many in this community who feel the Jaycees shouldn’t get SECA funds at all. This was the compromise. Getting something is better than nothing. I was actively involved with the Jaycees for over ten years. I was President for 19 months, longer than anyone else. We would tell the various NFP’s that would submit donation requests to us that we can’t guarantee that you will get a donation just because you did the previous year. We can’t guarantee it because the organizations membership turns over so much (by design) and the priorities can change. That is no different than what the City is telling the Jaycees, we can’t guarantee that you will get your full funding every year. There are no guarantees in life Jim, you know that. To say that Kevin Coyne “put a massive knife in the back of the Jaycees” is insulting considering all of the work he has done for the Jaycees over the years. He has done so many positive things for that organization, I’m just shocked that you would characterize him in the way you just did.

          Kevin hasn’t changed over the years on City Council either, he is who he is, which is his appeal as a politician. He always stands up for his principles and he won’t compromise them because some group pressures him to do so. You just happened to be in the group who is upset this time. I have more respect for him because he stands strong in what he feels is in the best interest for Naperville. Again, I don’t always agree with him on every topic. We have spirited debates, but I never question his motives or call him names such as “sexist” because I don’t agree with his positions. It’s pathetic when people resort to name calling and use conjecture instead of facts when posting on blogs. Also, there have been many City Councilmen who have gone from the City Council to other elected positions. Kevin isn’t the first and he won’t be the last as you mentioned. That is naive to think that no one would use their success in one office to run for another.

          Based on your previous comments on the Watch Dog site, this seems to come down to you just don’t agree with his stance on being able to sell marijuana in Naperville. That seems to be when your support of Kevin changed. I happen to think you have many legitimate points in your argument. Kevin and I have had many conversations about this topic and we just agree to disagree. I see his side of the argument and I’m in the camp of needing more information before I fully land on one side or another. What I have found is that Kevin is always willing to have the conversation. He doesn’t back down or shy away from it. He doesn’t resort to name calling when we don’t agree, he listens to my side. I respect that and you should too. I have a rule, if I agree with about 80% of what that politician stands for, I can support them. I will never agree with 100% of what anyone thinks. Those who do make me very nervous.

          I’m not saying you calling him out is disrespectful, I am saying you calling him names (whether you said it yourself or you repeat what some nameless organization says) is disrespectful. You used to be the “fact” police on this site and you called anyone out who didn’t use facts in their argument. This is obviously an emotional topic for you and being able to sell marijuana in Naperville seems to be important to you. What I find is when emotion enters a debate…you lose. Stick to the facts, you have a better chance to persuade people when you do. You are better when you stick to the facts Jim.

          • Jim Haselhorst

            I did not claim this group of women made up a organization, they are just a group of women I got into a conversation with one night about Coyne running for DuPage County Board. I can not give you the name of their group because they do not have one. Further I never stated I agreed with their claim. I can not think of a single thing Coyne has done in my presents that I would call sexist, but being a man I can accept the possibility that I could have a blind spot when it comes to this issue. None of this will change their opinion of Coyne or what they intend to do to stop him from winning the 5th district election.

            I have been involved with the Jaycees long enough to remember when the SECA fund was created. Before that time the city provided services to these events without charge because they were requiring the groups putting on these events to use city services rather then hire less expensive private contractors. When the new Chief of Police started complaining about providing police officers for security for these events without charging the event hosts because it was significantly impacting his budget the city got together with all the groups holding these events (Jaycees, rotary, women’s club, exchange club, etc) to discuss this issue. After much discussion it was decided to create SECA and fund it with a new food and beverage tax. Their was some dissension from some members of these groups. They were concern about two possibilities. The first was that the city would start claiming the amount of money this tax raised was to great to be spent only on SECA and that the city would start siphoning off some of these fund for other city expenses. The other was that eventually they would stop using SECA to fund events like the Last Fling, Art Festivals, Parades, etc and use it instead to fund things like the Riverwalk, Carillon, DuPage Children’s Museum, Naper Settlement, City Band, Organizations to Promote downtown Naperville (which is were close to 60% of SECA funds are going today). At the last city council meeting Coyne was one of the members that stated SECA funds would be better used on these type of organizations in the future. So basically what is happening to SECA and its funding is exactly what these dissenting voices said would happen.

            No my dissatisfaction with Coyne did not start with the dispensary issue. If you look back it started with his SECA fund motion. Yes, I disagree with him on dispensaries and if I honestly believed he was only motivated by this personal beliefs of what is best for our community then I would have no problems with his position on this issue, but his actions do not indicate this to be true.

            Coyne has never, in all his years on city council, set up special community meetings (kind of like town hall meetings) on issues facing our community until just about a years ago (after Gustin lost her bid for DuPage County Board). And only a few months after he started setting up these meetings, he announces his candidacy. Sorry not buying a coincidence here, especially since he had also started ramping ups his campaign fund raising after already winning the city council election (something he again has not done in the past). If he were being honest he would have told residents while he was running for city council that he intend to run for DuPage County Board. So they would have know if he won the DuPage election it would mean him leaving city council after completing less then half of this elected term and making it necessary for residents to pay the costs of an election to have someone complete the remaining 2 years of his term. These are the action of a politician that has no problem using our city council as his stepping stone.

            Getting back to the dispensaries. Coyne setup a couple of “informational'” meetings on this issue that he promoted in a way that gave the impression they were city endorsed and would be unbiased, both of which were not true. When I called him on this he said speakers supporting marijuana use were welcome at these meetings, and invited me to speak. When I asked him for an agenda so that I would know who was speaking, what they would be speaking about and how long each speaker would be given to speak he never got back to me and never again offered me a change to address the people attending these meetings to provide information on the other side of the issue. Not the action of the kind of persons you have described and also not the actions of someone truly interested in helping the residents of our community make an informed decision on the issue, but the actions of a career politician looking to use his elected position in the community to advance his own political agenda.

            Further the people that did speak at these meetings were all affiliated with the Opt Out group (a group claiming to be a grass roots Naperville organization). This gives the impression that either Coyne is acting as a proxy for the Opt Out group or the Opt Out group is acting as a proxy for him. The speakers at these meetings have spoken at most of the city council meetings in the Chicagoland area for the Opt Out group (which if you look at the news clips, photos and online videos of these council meetings you see the same core group of people wearing the same Opt Out t-shirts in the council audiences). The web pages for the Naperville, Lisle, St Charles, Downer Grove, Aurora, etc Opt Out groups are all the same, using the same logos, color scheme, fonts, and talking points. They are clearly all getting support and guidiance from the same overseeing organization or person. It is so obvious that even the news reporters on the evening news last night commented on it. The first rally for the Naperville Opt Out group, which was held at Central Park the same day as the Labor day parade, was promoted on Facebook with an post that stated their affiliation with the Illinois Family Institute (in small print). After being called on this the statement disappeared and they have denied this affiliation every since. No matter how you feel about the IFI it is a GOP PAC. Coyne’s familiarity with this “grass roots” group is to much of a coincidence to accept seeing how he is running as a Republican and the GOP has done polling in Naperville on this issue that indicates being anti-legalization might play well with Naperville voters (it won’t hurt him). Again he is acting more like a politician then a concerned elected official and resident. There seems to be the belief among members of the GOP that so long as you do not admit something it is not true no matter how much evidence there is indicating it is true.

            I have never been the fact police on this page. I do not always comment on every post to this Webpage (even when I do not agree with what is being said). There are issues however that I feel strongly about and when this page addresses those issues I will speak out and present the other side. Yes, I generally feel more comfortable when I can present data and statics to support what I am saying but not all issues allow for this or make it possible. The issues we have been discussing all fall into that group.

            You claim my calling out of Coyne is personal, I say it is about holding elected officials responsible for their actions and choices. If you truly have read very thing I have posted on the Watchdog then you know I have defended Coyne against attacks I felt were not justified, even when I did not agree with the decision or action that triggered these attacks. And he is not the only member of city council I have done this for.

  3. Anonymous Man

    Why is the author of this post not named?

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