Richie D And The Council Pass The Buck… Again


President Harry S Truman got a lot of attention for the sign he kept on his desk in the Oval Office which read: “The Buck Stops Here.”

While watching Ald. Rich DiPietro (2nd Ward) discharge the self-proclaimed “high honor” of reading the aldermen’s “unanimous response” to Mayor Dave Schmidt’s recent “State of the City” address Monday night, we noticed two major differences between his words and those of the mayor; and they both involved where the buck doesn’t stop.

First, the Council, through DiPietro, accepted no – none, zero, zip, nada – responsibility for the City’s current economic condition.  Where Schmidt claimed blame for his votes, as First Ward Alderman, for the last two deficit budgets, DiPietro threw blame at everybody but himself and his fellow aldermen.  It’s the city manager, city staff, our state government in Springfield, and especially “the recession” that are the causes of the City’s financial troubles.

Second, the Council, through DiPietro, did not even commit to the mayor’s demand for an honest, legitimate “balanced budget.”  In fact, the only time those two words – “balanced budget” – escaped his lips was when he was referencing the City’s obligations under state law.

So when DiPietro grandly announced that he and his fellow aldermen agreed with Schmidt, all they actually agreed with him on is Schmidt’s idea of starting the budget “process” earlier. 

Big whoop.

Frankly, we’re tired of all of the “processes” that continue to produce bad results.  What the taxpaying residents of Park Ridge deserve is an honest, legitimate balanced budget based on real numbers, not smoke and mirrors…one that the City will actually live with rather than ignore.  Unfortunately, that’s not something DiPietro promised Monday night.

Instead, he issued a call for “departments within City government [to] be combined, services…to be streamlined and delivered more efficiently.”  

Calling for such sweeping changes less than three months before the budget must be adopted can only mean that DiPietro and his alder-mates, knowing full well those things can’t reasonably be accomplished in time to include their effects in this year’s budget, are simply looking to buy another year of deficit spending by holding out the idle promise of something better.  Next year.

That’s just plain dishonest…and cynical.

Equally dishonest and cynical was his call for a “fiscal commission – a body of citizens that can advise this Council and future Councils on the financial health of this City more often than just once a year.”  As we’ve said before, such a commission is a transparent attempt at off-loading the Staff’s and Council’s budget responsibility onto some group of unelected, unaccountable citizens whom these politicians and bureaucrats can use to deflect criticism of unpleasant financial decisions with the words: “The fiscal commission told us to do it.”

DiPietro also defended further drawing down of the City’s already-depleted reserves to keep on paying the costs of “community-supported projects like the redevelopment of our Uptown area.”  That’s the Uptown project the voters never got a say about (but Richie D. avidly supported) and that accounts for tens of millions of dollars of City bond debt while continuing to suck cash out of the City’s coffers to cover the debt service on those bonds.

DiPietro didn’t explain how those reserves will be built back up again, probably because he knows that will require more taxes.  And neither he nor his Council cronies wanted to talk about increased taxes or fees Monday night.

Ironically, DiPietro is the only alderman to have been on the Council for all of the past 9 years in which the City booked annual deficits in every budget year but one (2006-07), totaling approximately $13 million – yes, $13 million! – in deficits.  And he was also there to rubber-stamp a former Council’s gift of $650,000 of our money to Bensenville and Elk Grove Village for the proposed Peotone airport.

From observing his career on the Council, we sadly conclude that DiPietro is a poster child for what has been wrong, and what remains wrong, with City government: the clueless acting witless while striving to remain blameless.

16 comments so far

I find it hard to comment with complete expertise on DiPietro, or at least the expertise that you appear to have. Ya see, I have not lived here for all that long and I do not even live in his ward. Suffice it to sy that I would not give him high marks from what I have seen. I would probably give him a low “C” which ironically is about what I would give the Mayor at this point.

Your last last paragraph brought a smile to my face. “……..poster child for what has been wrong, and what remains wrong, with City government: the clueless acting witless while striving to remain blameless”. He has been this bad since 2000-2001??? wow!! Maybe if you keep writing about it you can work up enough fervor in the Second Ward where someone will actually run against him!

The time draws nigh when we will start to hear the names of those who will run in each ward.

Rorschach is giddy.

DiPietro has been an alderman since 1995!!!!!!! What has he done since then? He’s the chairman of the finance committee, and he’s only coming up with these ideas NOW??????

Has he had one original idea in the past 15 years?

This year’s budget will be like last year’s, same spending and same deficits. These clowns can’t even agree on the price of water.

We’re screwed.

DiPietro for Mayor!


Are you talking about John English’s “Citizens For Non-Partisan Local Elections” running a slate of candidates?

Are the Taste of Park Ridge people running candidates now that they’ve changed their tax designation to permit political contributions?

11:25, what the heck are you talking about?

1:17, thanks for asking 11:25 what they’re asking. Rorschach doesn’t know, either. I’m giddy only at the prospect of people stepping up. The more the merrier.

anonymous 10:49 am,

DiPietro for Mayor?

Well, he wouldn’t be the worst choice ever to hold the office, but do keep in mind, DiPietro unfailingly and unflinchingly supported the worst choice ever to hold the office.

Glad it’s behind us now.

Who is John English and why does he have his own political party?

He is an old HO.

Because nobody else wants to play with him.

anon on 02.17.10 1:02 pm:

Other than in 2003, I don’t think anybody has ever run against DiPietro. Most of the people up in this ward probably don’t even know who DiPietro is, and some of them probably don’t even know what ward they’re in. They’re just a bunch of sheep.

but most people in EVERY ward don’t know who their alderman is, let alone the mayor… let alone their congressman, let alone their state rep, let alone their state senator, let alone their senator! people get the government they deserve…

But considering the political involvement of the people on the blogs (you got the Mayor elected, remember) and considering the opinion that this guy has been screwing us all for 15 years and is basocally worth nothing, I am shocked that not of you long timers or “insiders” could find a single person to run against him. I mean if you think he has been that bad for that long why the hell did you just sit around and watch???:


Maybe you’re right, but except for the 7th ward having sent Bartolone to the Council for about 20 years, the 2nd ward’s sending “The Grandfather” for 15 years is about as bad as it gets.

To echo what somebody else has asked, has this guy come up with even one good thing for this city in 15 years?

What do you expect from the chairman of the Finance Committee?

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