Naperville mayor to welcome Chinese dignitary with ceremonial citizenship

<p>File Photo</p>

File Photo

Susan Frick Carlman | @scarlman
May 2 3:46 p.m.

Naperville will play host to a dignitary from the other side of the world in a couple of days.

Mayor A. George Pradel is slated to present honorary citizenship to Consul General Zhao Weiping of the Consulate General of the People’s Republic of China in Chicago during Tuesday evening’s City Council meeting. Zhao is stopping in Naperville as part of a several-day tour of Midwest destinations.

Consul general for the Chicago district since 2013, Zhao is stopping in Naperville at the invitation of Bill Liu, the city’s chairman of Chinese community outreach. His visit will include a luncheon Tuesday at Sikich LLP, where he will be the featured speaker. Zhao’s comments will focus on the future of Sino-U.S. economic relations. Attendance at the free luncheon is limited to 50 guests; those interested in taking part must send an email to by Sunday. The event will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at 1415 W. Diehl Road, Suite 400.

“This will be Mr. Zhao’s first official visit to Naperville,” Liu said in a news release. “It is our sincere hope that his visit will open an important window for you to learn about China’s development and its friendly relations of cooperation with Midwest.”

Liu, appointed to his position by Pradel last fall, has said promoting business involvement by the area’s Chinese community is among his top priorities as a cultural ambassador.

The Consulate General of the People’s Republic of China in Chicago has a district that spans nine Midwestern states in which more than 300,000 Chinese nationals or Chinese Americans and about 50,000 Chinese students reside. The agency’s mission is to safeguard the legal rights and interests of the Chinese citizens in the consular district, and provide consular services related to passport, visa, notarization and authentication, and to promote exchanges and cooperation in extensive areas between China and the American Midwest.

Pradel said he is looking forward to welcoming Zhao and bestowing the honorary distinction.

“By extending our hands in friendship to our brothers and sisters overseas, we develop new opportunities for better cultural understanding and economic development,” Pradel said in a prepared statement.

The City Council meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Tuesday in the council chambers of the Naperville Municipal Center, 400 S. Eagle St.


Up for a vote

Issue: Adjusting compensation for the City Council and mayor positions.

Background: Officials have been discussing discontinuation of the health insurance benefit option for their part-time positions, to take effect following the next election round in spring 2015.

What it means: Council members will hear the first reading of an ordinance eliminating their position’s access to the coverage and increasing its salary to $24,000. They also will vote on eliminating city-subsidized health insurance benefits and pension eligibility for the mayor’s position, and enacting a $42,000 all-inclusive annual salary for the combined duties of mayor and liquor commissioner, after next year’s local elections.

Issue: Releasing the minutes from closed session.

Background: State statute requires the council to review the records periodically and release them if it is determined they no longer need to remain confidential.

What it means: Ten agenda items from closed portions of the council meetings since 1989, dating from February 2013 and earlier, are proposed to be made public. If the council approves, several hundred other items discussed during executive session over the period will remain restricted.

Issue: Trying out the ePortal system from Lowfoot Inc. recommended by consultants West Monroe Partners at no cost, via a sample of 100 electric utility customers.

Background: The city filed a lawsuit in January when Calico Energy fell short of satisfying its contract to develop software enabling customers to draw information about their energy use through the city-installed smart meters in their homes. WMP proposes allowing the portal produced by the Canadian firm Lowfoot to be tested as a way of gauging its compatibility with the municipal utility’s shift to a smart grid distribution system.

What it means: If approved, the three-month trial will involve City Council and Public Utility Advisory Board members, smart grid ambassadors, city employees, representatives of the city’s top 20 consumers of electric power and the general public, selected by lottery.