The city of Woodstock will have a lobbyist for another year after the City Council voted 6-1 to approve a contract extension for its Springfield-based legislative advocate.
Joyce Nardulli will receive $60,000 from the city of Woodstock over the course of the one-year contract. She has served as the city’s lobbyist since 2014.
Most council members said they were impressed with Nardulli’s work over the past several years, particularly in the area of transportation. Mayor Brian Sager said Nardulli was instrumental in securing funds for the recently completed construction on Highway 14, among other things.
But Councilman RB Thompson said he opposed the contract, citing the expense to the city. He questioned the value of having Nardulli on Woodstock’s payroll when her firm also represents the McHenry County Council of Governments, of which the city is a member.
“You guys are impressed by [Nardulli],” Thompson said. “I’m impressed by her salary.”
Councilman Mike Turner said he didn’t take the $60,000 expenditure lightly but called the hiring of a lobbyist a “necessary evil” for the municipality, especially as city officials aim to make progress on the expansion of Route 47 through Woodstock.
“Experienced people that deliver cost money,” Turner said. He added he doesn’t want a lobbyist to remain on the city’s payroll indefinitely.
“I saw her in action in Springfield and I think we would be largely invisible without her day-to-day presence there,” Councilwoman Maureen Larson said.
Thompson said elected officials should fill that role.
“Our lawmakers that represent us need to have us to get on their case,” Thompson said. “That’s what they’re supposed to do.”
Reached by telephone following the City Council meeting, Nardulli said she will focus primarily on securing appropriations from the state for the widening of Route 47.
“I think squeaky wheels get grease. To be there and constantly be present and talk about the issues that are important to Woodstock gives the town a big leg up on other places that don’t have those resources,” she said.
Sager, Turner, Larson, Dan Hart, Joe Starzynski and Mark Saladin voted in favor of the contract Jan. 17. Thompson voted no.