The answer probably is yes for naming the mayor, and likely yes for naming most if not all Naperville city council members. If you have enough interest to read posts about the Naperville city council, then chances are very good you know the names of the council members along with the mayor. But how about if you don’t have much interest in local city politics.
Watchdog decided to go to downtown Naperville, with my trustworthy little clipboard and ask 30 residents of Naperville two questions; 1) can you tell me who the mayor of Naperville is, and how many council members can you name? Somebody walking around with a clipboard always stirs some interest.
Interestingly, 23 people out of 30 knew the name of Naperville’s mayor (Steve Chirico) though a few couldn’t pronounce it correctly, they got the ‘Steve’ part correct but hammered the ‘Chirico’ part. If you know the mayor’s name, then you’re probably surprised that only 23 out of 30 could correctly name the mayor. However, if you didn’t know the name of the mayor, then you’d probably be surprised that 23 actually knew the mayor’s name.
It was a different story for people being able to correctly name one or more council members. 16 could correctly name one council member, and it became increasingly more difficult for people to name two, three or four members of the city council. The name more often correctly mentioned was councilman Paul Hinterlong, but that was to be expected since he is currently the longest serving council member. Credit was given for ‘Phil’ and ‘Pete’ Hinterlong. The names Patrick Sullivan and Theresa Kelly, also surfaced rather than Patrick Kelly and Theresa Sullivan. Patty Gustin’s name came in a distant second place behind Hinterlong.
Both Grant Wehrli and Dick Furstenau were mentioned as still being council members, proving that you don’t have to be remembered for doing something good, you just have to be remembered for doing something.
Not including the current nine city council members, how many former council members can you name since January 2011 when Watchdog started posting?
Here they are including former Mayor George Pradel:
- Jim Boyajian
- Judy Brodhead
- Bob Fiesler
- Dick Furstenau
- Doug Krause
- Kenn (the second ‘n’ is silent) Miller
- Grant Wehrli
- Joe McElroy
- Dave Wentz
- Becky Anderson
- Kevin Coyne
- Kevin Gallaher
- John Krummen
- Rebecca Obarski
Being a council member is simply being a place-holder and care-taker for all those who will follow. In nine years, Naperville will celebrate our bicentennial (1831 – 2031). By that time we’ll have a new mayor, and probably all new council members. We all serve a purpose of keeping Naperville strong for those who will follow, just as those before us have done for us.