State Of The City, Almost

Mayor Steve Chirico recently presented his State of the City address to the Naperville Area Chamber of Commerce. In two words, everything sounds ‘hunky dory’ in family-friendly Naperville, almost as good as Mayberry. Are things really that good, or are we hearing only what city officials want us to hear. Wouldn’t it be refreshing to hear the real story.

It seems like everything we are hearing from everybody is either better than it actually is, or it’s worse than what we hear. It’s as if the powers-to-be are assessing the situations in narratives they want us to believe, rather than the way it really is. Apparently authorities think we can’t handle the truth and maybe they’re right.

There must be things happening in Naperville that city officials would rather not tell us.. What would happen if the mayor would have sprinkled some not-so-good news into his annual message. Things such as:

  • How many law suits against the city are pending?
  • What keeps the mayor up late at night?
  • How many, if any, city workers and staff got fired for screwing something up?
  • What is the worst decision the council made last year?
  • Who are the real idiots on the city council?
  • What is stopping the City from being better than it actually is?
  • What actually happens in closed-door meetings?
  • Does anybody really listen to public forum speakers during council meetings?
  • On a scale of 1 to 10, how happy are council members when there are no public forum speakers?
  • How long does it take you to work up the courage to listen to your voice mails every morning?

Inquiring minds would like to know. We can handle the truth….I think

Show 6 Comments


  1. Kevin Coyne

    We would get surprisingly few voicemails.

    Oh to the contrary, the public forum comments were often the most interesting.

    Closed door meetings usually related to lawsuits or real estate matters.

    Worst decision I saw on council was landmarking Nichols library. It didn’t need to happen and we could have worked something out with the developer to preserve much of the library building. The configuration of the development now looks ridiculous.

    Biggest problem holding back Naperville is the same one our country has nationally…getting involved in politics is rough business these days and the nasty discourse and social media bullying scares many, if not most, good people away from getting involved in the process.

    Getting elected to city council is very hard and the vetting process is intense….you have more candidate forums and scrutiny running for Council then you do for many higher office. Not sure I’m aware of an idiot that has pulled off getting elected to council here.

    We never had many firings. Naperville by and large usually had good candidate pools to choose from. The lawsuits are all public record and surprisingly low in number given our city size.

    • watchdog

      Finally, an inquiring mind (mine) gets clear and concise answers. I’ll get a good nights sleep tonight. Thank you,

  2. Steve

    1) Naperville has very few lawsuits and we have an amazing record of winning. Most law suits are constitution issues resulting from police arrests. We choose to use money to train our officers so we can avoid lawsuits, instead of using our money to pay for lawsuits.
    2) What keeps me up at night are loud motorcycles and cars ripping down Washington Street and 75th Street. Huge problem that we are trying to fix.
    3) 2/3 of city workers are in public safety, Naperville is a destination employer with very high standards and resident expectations, but we also have a huge pool of talent to choose from, so we get the best of the best. As a result, we have very few employees who fail due to incompetence.
    4) Worst decision was not supporting the resolution to oppose the State Crime Bill, which was passed at 3 am with no debate. Fortunately there have been several amendments to this law since, but it should have never been supported in it’s current form.
    5) I believe City Councilmembers all love Naperville…we just have different views.
    6) The biggest thing stopping Naperville from being even better is fear. Fear of change, fear mongering, fear of taking a chance.
    7) Most closed session meetings are collective bargaining discussions, land sale negotiations and settlement of work comp claims.
    8) Public forum speakers usually provide the most entertainment…regardless of one’s position…and often times leads to policy changes (think chickens and bees).
    9) On a scale of 1-10 I would say depending on the agenda, probably a 10…for me anyway.
    10) I do not get many voice mails…in fact very few. But, when I do, I usually enjoy them.

    Extra credit answer- Naperville is in an amazing place right now. We have governed through a very difficult time and are now in a more secure position than we have been in 50 years.

    • Kevin Coyne

      Good call on the 5-4 against opposing the resolution against the crime bill. A disappointing night for sure and to this day an outcome I hear brought up often (and never as a positive).

  3. Jim Haselhorst

    I agree with everything Kevin said except one. The worst decision of city council in recent history was not the Land Marking of the old Nichols Library, it was voting to provide close to $500,000 to Little Friends to sale their property to a developer that would preserve the Kroehler Mansion rather then tear it down and simply start over.

    Close to half a million dollars in taxpayer funds to “restore” a mansion to a state that is not close architecturally to what it was when it was originally built, that is private property close to the public (i.e. the taxpayer that paid for it)and had no real historical value to begin with was not just the dumbest thing but the most fiscally irresponsible thing, I have seen council do in recent history.

    • Kevin Coyne

      Jim and Kevin almost agree … a Naperville first ?

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