The Naperville city council had a unique opportunity to offer a helping hand to a city (Cancun, Mexico) in need of an ambulance, even an old beat-up one, but withdrew the offer at the last hour, and slammed the door on the good folks in Cancun in order to save Naperville taxpayers $7,000. Naperville councilwoman Theresa Sullivan did a good job presenting her case to save the taxpayers money; good for Sulliivan for speaking-up on the issue.
Earlier this year, the city decided to purchase a new ambulance for $261,800 which included a trade-in of an old ambulance worth about $7,000. Afterwards, Naperville city officials decided to cancel the trade-in (upping the price of the new ambulance to $268,800) in order to donate the vehicle to Cancun, but it required approval of six of the nine council members; It fell one vote short with a 5 to 4 vote.
The five members of the council voting ‘yes’ to help Cancun, were Mayor Steve Chirico, Kevin Coyne, Patty Gustin, Paul Hinterlong, and John Krummen. The four council members voting ‘no’ to helping sister-city Cancun were Theresa Sullivan, Pat Kelly, Judith Brodhead, and Benny White.
Sullivan and Kelly stated their position on the issue during the October 6 meeting prior to the vote, however neither Brodhead or White, both educators, said a word, nothing but crickets. If either would have voted yes to helping Cancun, the old ambulance would be on its way to Cancun which had agreed to cover the cost of transporting it.
Why both Brodhead and White decided to turn their backs to helping a city-in-need, in unknown, since neither had the courtesy or courage to state their positions for the record.
Saving Naperville taxpayers money is applauded, however this is an example of being ‘penny-conscious’ to an extreme. Chances are good that Brodhead and White would pass a kid on a street corner selling lemonade for a dime a cup because s/he doesn’t have a city-issued permit.
Watch and listen as mayor Chirico states, “to say we get nothing in return is not accurate. We get a lot in return. This is a very, very inexpensive way to make a huge impact on another city”.
If this was just about money, then $7,000 divided by 144,500 residents comes to about 5-cents per person. Other than Brodhead and White, and the other two, who wouldn’t be willing to toss in a nickel so a city-in-need could have an ambulance. I would gladly toss-in an extra 20-cents to cover all four of them.