League of Women Voters State of the City Panel

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The League of Women Voters Naperville recently hosted a state of the city panel, giving residents the chance to ask questions of public officials.

Marcie Schatz from the City of Naperville, Police Chief Robert Marshall, Fire Chief Mark Puknaitis, District 203 Board Vice President Donna Wandke, District 204 Board President Mike Raczak, and Park District Director of Recreation Brad Wilson spoke to the assembled crowd about different issues in their respective organizations.

Many topics involved multiple panel members, including how they’re embracing Naperville’s growing diversity.

“When we take a look at recruiting overall, we’re continually looking from a staffing perspective, the goal is to try to mirror the community that we live in and we are continually trying to do that overall,” said Schatz.

“Like District 203, we have a very diverse population. It surprises people outside of Naperville when they hear we are a majority minority district,” said Raczak. “We consider this diversity one of our significant strengths.”

Residents also asked about a perceived increase in violent crime.

“First off all, I want to correct a misconception,” said Chief Marshall. “Our violent crime in Naperville for the last four years has dramatically gone down. We don’t have a crime wave, we have a communication wave. We have been doing an outstanding job as a city and as a police department by letting the residents know what type of crimes are occurring in the city.”

The goal of the panel was to give voters perspective on the state of the city from public officials who aren’t currently running for office.

“Everybody who was here tonight is part of making Naperville run. Whether they’re hired, whether they’re appointed, whether they’re elected, they spend our tax dollars and they make our city work. So it’s important for citizens to hear what they do,” said Becky Simon, president of the League of Women Voters Naperville.

All the panelists encouraged the attendees to vote in the upcoming elections for mayor, city council, and the school board.

Naperville News 17’s Casey Krajewski reports.