The Lesson, the Culprit and True Victim in the Furstenau Saga

I’ve been thinking a great deal about the ongoing saga involving Naperville City Councilman Richard Furstenau and the rapidly expanding cast of players in this sad chapter.  I’ve been reluctant to chime in on this debate because quite frankly the whole situation is truly an embarassment to our community. 

Though, at the end of the day, all of the talk about retaliation, threats, assault, lawsuits, civil rights violations, accusations, hostility, intimidation and other vindictive animosity is really about one thing, and one thing only…. POWER.  Regardless of which side you believe, the reality is this whole story is rooted in the struggle for and over power. 

The problem of power is how to achieve its responsible use rather than its irresponsible and indulgent use…   – Robert F. Kennedy

The fact of the matter is I cannot pass judgment on anyone as there are only a handful of people who know in their hearts and minds the real truth.  Truth is the foundation of trust and integrity.  All public servants, public officials and members of law enforcement alike, are entrusted as tenants of power which is to be used responsibly in upholding the public’s trust.  

Power is corrupted whenever it is used for the purpose of personal indulgence, advantage or to exact revenge for whatever reason which departs even in the slightest from the public’s interest and trust.    

Revenge converts a little right into a great wrong.  – German Proverb

Who is truly the innocent victim here?  Who will lose?  The answer is we are the victims and regardless of the outcome we will lose.  We, being the hard-working, taxpaying residents of Naperville who have placed our trust in our public servants with the only expectation that they would serve with integrity, uphold truth, work in the public’s interest and accept responsibility for the entrusted powers they are granted. 

I once heard that “integrity” is the most important characteristic of leadership because it is the one which ensures all the others.  There has been much talk about people’s integrity being under fire in these proceedings.  I say, now is the time for the ultimate integrity in public service to be shown by those who have used power in one form or another to exploit the public’s trust in assuming responsibility for the truth in placing the greater interest of our community before their own and taking appropriate action.  Otherwise, the community of Naperville as a whole stands to suffer on both a financial and public trust level

Power is both a privilege and an alluring vice which must be handled carefully.  In the end, I believe it is the indulgent vice of power which is truly on trial here.  Let it be a lesson to us all.  SM   


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