ARTICLE

Date
2/15/2013
Naperville Chamber Endorses At-Large Elections

NAPERVILLE CHAMBER ENDORSES AT-LARGE ELECTIONS


Influential Business Association Supports April 2013 Referendum Question

Naperville, Ill. (Feb. 15, 2013)- The Naperville Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors recommends that its membership and the community vote to retain the at-large system of electing individuals to the Naperville City Council at the April 9 election. Citizens have the option to retain the at-large system by voting yes on a referendum question.

“The Chamber believes the implementation of an aldermanic-ward system is not in the best interest of Naperville’s economic future and that we should retain the at-large approach to city elections,” said Mike Evans, president & CEO of the Chamber. “There are several reasons why we continue to oppose wards, but everyone should take note that increased taxes and higher debt levels have been associated with ward-based government.”

In addition to the threat of higher taxes and debt, the Chamber believes that the institution of an aldermanic-ward style of government will also:

    • Create an incentive for fractionalization and “horse-trading” of votes among the council when dealing with issues like infrastructure spending, development and zoning matters, and transportation decisions;
    • Interfere with the administration of city services through the Council-Manager form of government;
    • Impair the ability of residents to raise issues or concerns to all members of the city council; and
    • Limit the ability of voters to hold all council members accountable for their actions and decisions as public officials.

“We vehemently disagree with the assertion that limiting the ability of voters to select and hold city council members accountable is a positive step or makes officials more responsive to concerns – wards do the exact opposite,” continued Evans. “Over time, the Chamber’s been on the winning side of issues and we’ve also lost our share of votes; that’s democracy, but we – like anyone else – had a fair chance to make our case. We don’t think making the council more narrowly focused helps the city council make decisions that are in the best interest of the community.”

The Chamber has studied the issue extensively over the past 30 years as the issue was proposed. During 2010 the Chamber hosted numerous debates at its Legislative Committee and issued several papers. The board recently adopted a position paper that affirmed the Chamber’s 2010 findings in support of an at-large system, asserting that those conclusions are still valid today.

“We’ve listened to proponents and opponents, conducted our own research, and are offering our recommendation,” concludes Evans. “The Chamber hopes that our voice is one of many on this topic, and that there is plenty of debate and discussion on this issue before everyone heads to the polls.”

The Chamber has posted a link and its research papers on the homepage of their website. Individuals can access these materials on www.naperville.net.

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About the Naperville Area Chamber of Commerce: The Naperville Area Chamber of Commerce is the largest suburban Chamber in Illinois with an active membership of 1,400 organizations of every size and from every sector, who participate in more than 400 briefings, committee gatherings, events, and programs annually. Through its programming, the Chamber provides leadership for the benefit of region’s business community by promoting economic growth and advocating the interests of business. For its efforts in promoting free enterprise and the business community, the Chamber has been recognized with 5-Star Accreditation from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, an honor bestowed on only 1 percent out of the nearly 7,000 chambers in the nation.

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