Naperville city officials, in an effort to run council meetings more efficiently, are making it more difficult for certain groups of people, for various legitimate reasons, to be heard. Some folks are concerned about COVID, others are physically challenged, while some are unable to access transportation to meetings.
Not that long ago, folks were allowed to submit written comments, which were read by staff, for all to hear. At times there were quite a few, but for the most part, written comments were more than reasonable in number. Most importantly, it allowed people to have their viewpoints heard. Shouldn’t that be a major focus of every governing body, especially local city councils; encouraging participation with open communication.
The Naperville city council withdrew the opportunity for written comments to be read. Now the city council makes written comments to be formally part of the record by burying the comments in the city website. Frankly, it’s an insult.
A former member of the city council admitted during a meeting that she leaves research to the city staff. You have to give her credit for being honest, however how many current council members, have the same position on pulling information (or not) to better understand the sentiments of residents.
Watch and listen to resident Tim Messer present his concerns, followed by Mayor Steve Chirico making a comment “balance of running a meeting efficiently while providing as much assess as possible”, which is followed by newly elected councilwoman Jennifer Taylor, asking for clarification:
Good for councilwoman Taylor for pressing the process, in essence protecting public participation. Burying comments by the public may be expedient and good for the council, but if better is possible, then good is not enough for the public.