#16: Bloomington, IL 5/9/16

Every seat was filled at the Bloomington city council meeting–with Boy Scouts no less! Either those fellas were getting their Sitting-Through-An-Ordeal merit badge OR something special was happening.

Turns out, it was a little bit of both.

Mayor Tari Renner started off with a long string of proclamations:

  • National Nursing Home Week (theme: “It’s a Small World with a Big Heart”)
  • Emergency Medical Services Week (theme: “EMS Strong”)
  • Economic Development Week (theme: “Uhh…pass”)

And finally, said the mayor, “something that’s near and dear to the heart of our citizens who have driven on our streets, who have flushed our toilets–” uh, National Street Toilet Week?–“and that is Public Works Week.”

Then his eyes lit up. “Oh, man! Our star of all stars! Delvar Dopson! Good to see you, man!” Mayor Renner’s smile was so big, it was like he was staring at his long lost brother.

Instead, he was staring at the public works director and sanitation worker Delvar Dopson. “Delvar was able to reach out to this young girl in the route that he goes,” the director explained. “And she made this great comment about him, ‘the awesome smiley garbage guy,’ and she wanted for her birthday to just meet him. And so it was just one of those cute, sweet stories. The sucker went viral!

Local hero Delvar Dopson

Dopson got wild applause and the proclamation from the mayor. “I remember you before I was mayor for being at the gym together,” he swooned. “I was just using regular weights and you were bench pressing the trucks from the public works department.” The two muscular men parted ways and the meeting continued.

There was a proposal on the table to give city manager David Hales a new contract with a raise. But Alderman Kevin Lower rained down a Hales-storm.

“It certainly does not reflect our current economic conditions in the municipality,” he warned. “I feel my thumb on the pulse of many of my constituents who just don’t feel like they can afford” to pay for a raise.

Alderman David Sage was offended on behalf of the city manager. “I’m always amazed we simply do not extend the courtesy of publicly saying ‘thank you’ for the job that you do.” He gazed longingly into Hales’s peepers. “I’m extremely proud to have you as the city manager of Bloomington.”

The vote was 8-1 for the raise–Alderman Lower being the one.

Alderman David Sage: “I wish I could quit you, city manager.”

Mayor Renner was ready to wrap when Alderman Jim Fruin remembered something important. “I assume you’re going to say something about–” he gestured–“the Boy Scouts?”

“Oh!” the mayor suddenly recalled. “Okay…Alderman Lower?”

The alderman finally drew attention, at the end of an hour-long meeting, to the antsy and exhausted young audience. “The city council will probably agree with me…sometimes they don’t,” he acidly glanced at his colleagues. “The lessons that you are learning right now in Boy Scouts…I have put many of those lessons to work in my adult life and it’s something you can’t find anywhere else.”

The council, for once, agreed with him.

Clearly the meeting was an endurance test for more than just the Boy Scouts

Final thoughts: At the end of the day, the city manager got his raise, Delvar Dopson got his proclamation, and Alderman Lower got to drop some wisdom on the youth. Win-win-win! I give this meeting 10 out of 10 stars.


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