It’s not just ‘boys’, and it’s not really ‘old’ and it’s definitely not ‘good’, but it is a club, that likes to recycle former city officials and bring them back into the fold at the expense of inviting new people to participate in local government.
It happened recently when long-time Naperville city council member Judy Brodhead was termed out of office May 2nd and shown the front door out of the Municipal Center only to be reappear June 16th (44 days later) at the back door as a member of SECA, the Special Events Cultural Amenities Commission. Brodhead was the first city council member to experience the wrath of voters when they overwhelmingly approved a term limits referendum by a landslide. Brodhead is like gum on your shoes on a hot August day; you simply can’t get rid of her.
Naperville has 11 boards, 9 commissions, and 2 task forces. When an opening occurs the mayor selects appointees to fill the vacancies, which must be approved by the city council. Typically it’s a smooth, quick process, little if any discussion on the appointees, and the result is rubber-stamped. However this time, to the credit of four members of the city council (Paul Hinterlong, Jennifer Taylor, Paul Leong, and Patty Gustin) there was a lively discussion on approving Brodhead, resulting on a split 4 to 4 vote with the deciding vote to approve made by Mayor Steve Chirico. In essence he approved his own appointee.
After the meeting Brodhead said, “It was just very disappointing to see that kind of unnecessary division”. As is typical with Brodhead, if anything involving her doesn’t go her way, or involves discussion, she sees it as ‘disappointing’ and ‘unnecessary’.
Why Mayor Chirico wanted to appoint Brodhead to the SECA Commission is puzzling, other than the possibility that Brodhead brings years of out-dated experience, hence what can she possibly offer, other than more of the same-old same. The mayor missed an opportunity to bring in a fresh perspective by appointing someone new.
And why the SECA commission? If he wanted to give her something to keep her busy, there were seven other open vacancies to fill including:
- Advisory Commission on Disabilities
- Building Review Board
- Historic Preservation Commission
- Naper Settlement Museum Board
- Naperville Public Library Board of Trustees
- Sister Cities Commission
- Transportation Advisory Board
And why did Brodhead want a seat on SECA vs one of the other seven? Could it be because SECA is responsible for pushing a lot of dollars to many different groups.
Brodhead is ‘just’ one of nine voting members of the commission, however she does come with a huge shovel, capable of pushing a lot of dollars in directions she would like it to go.