Do We Really Need Two Monthly Meetings

Every year during July and August the Naperville city council has one meeting per month rather than the typical two meetings per month. Between June 20th thru August 14th, Naperville has been functionally operating as efficiently as ever, which begs the questions, do we really need two council meetings per month? Why have two when one works?

Some will say ‘that’s what we have always done’, or ‘we are required to’, to which I say ‘who says so’. Fewer meetings means less cost, less wasted time, less endless talking, and more time to accomplish something useful.

We have a city manager, Doug Krieger, who seems to be getting the job done, just like the Chicago Cubs manager David Ross. He’s getting the job done too. Sometimes less is better. Cut the bureaucracy, increase the efficiency.

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  1. Jim Haselhorst

    When I first moved to Naperville council meets were only once per month, but the city was growing fast and so were the number of PUDs and variance requests causing meetings to consistently run over. Also developers were complaining about delays in developments.

    At one time the city staff was directed to look at alternative means for approving these requests to reduce delays and council agenda. They came up with a recommendation that involved city staff being able to approve some requests under certain conditions. If staff could not approve it then it would go to Planning Commission. If they approved it then it would not need to go to city council unless it was appealed. So City Council would be the “court of last resort”.

    This idea was well received by many on council but some were against this change, saying this was a duty of elected officials and should not be delegated to others. Of course this begs the question that if a council member believed this then why vote to waste city staff time researching and developing an alternative in the first place. In the end the nays won out.

    I still think council should blow the dust of this alternative approval process and put it in place. It is just a tremendous waste of time and resource to first have staff evaluate and make a recommendation, then go to planning commission for review and recommendation then finally to city council. This process not only drives up the operating cost of the city but also the homeowner or developer without any quantifiable benefit to anyone.

    Implementing an alternative like this would reduce city council agenda items to a point that one meeting per month would likely be doable year round.

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