Monday, November 15, 2010

Naperville's Dumb and Dumber

Fraternal Order of Police
In the role of 'dumb' we have the Naperville Fraternal Order of Police Local 42. With the economy in full retreat and the city of Naperville facing ten million dollar deficits for as far as the eye can see, our cop shop thought they were entitled to a raise.

Wah! I want a Pony!!

In the face of these large deficits, did the city insist on a salary reduction from the Police union? No. Did they seek at least a salary freeze? No. Instead, on the eve of arbitration, the city offered the boys in blue a 3.3% salary increase for FY 2009/2010 and a 3.0% increase each year for the next two years.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Say No to Naperville Lobbyist

English: Entrance of City Hall, 400 South Eagl...
Dear Naperville City Council Members,

While the Watchman is sure the path of least resistance would be to simply approve the $60,000 Springfield lobbyist fee for next year, please consider these factors.

Do we really know what kind of bang for the buck we have received from this lobbyist?  Yes, we know about the Rt 59 widening and some other state funds coming our way.  But can the lobbyist really claim credit for those?  I think the legislators from districts that encompass Naperville had a much bigger impact.  Do we even know how many hours we get each year for our $60,000?  How many hours with staff?  How many hours in Springfield?  Without some better metrics, the value of a lobbyist is dubious.

The State of Illinois is bankrupt.  Lobbyists will be unsuccessful in pulling down any more money for the city for years to come.  Massive across-the-board cuts are coming and no lobbyist will be able to ameliorate them.

The dome on the Illinois State Capitol in Spri... Tomorrow a very large portion of the general assembly will be kicked out of office.  Our lobbyist admits that but what they don't say is that a substantial amount of their influence goes out the door with those departing relationships.  It takes years to build new relationships, so the value of our lobbyist is certainly less than what it was last year.

Taken together, and in light of the city's own fiscal crisis, I think these are good reasons not to retain a lobbyist for next year.  The city can always pick up the service again in a subsequent year if conditions change.

If you decide to retain a lobbyist, at a very minimum this contract should be put out for bids.  It's nice that they have held their fees constant over several years, but the present economic conditions call for reducing that fee.  I would bet money somebody would do the job for $50,000 per year.  You might say, "So what's $10,000 in a $100,000,000 budget?"  It's freakin' $10,000 -- that's what it is.

And finally, if for no other reason than the fact we face $10 million dollar deficits as far as the eye can see, NO CITY CONTRACTS SHOULD BE NO-BID.

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