Home Rule Question on the November Ballot?


Nary a Woodward or a Bernstein would dare to make my newest prediction:

The 2012 Annual Meeting of the Electors of DeKalb Township will set a 20-year (at least) record for attendance.

That’s because at the April 10, 2012 meeting the following questions to be placed on the general election ballot to be held November 6, 2012 are on the agenda as action items.

  1. “Shall the City of DeKalb continue to operate as a City Manager form of government?”
  2. “Shall the City of DeKalb continue to be a Home Rule city?”
  3. “Should the DeKalb Public Library become a library district instead of a municipal library?”

If approved by the DeKalb Township Electors one or all three of the above questions will be on the November ballot as advisory referendums.

All Townships in the State of Illinois are required to hold an annual township meeting on the second Tuesday of April (60 ILCS 1/30-5). By law the majority of electors present at that meeting vote on action items on the agenda including the authorization to place questions of public policy on the ballot at the next regularly scheduled election in the Township.  The meeting must be conducted in accordance with 60 ILCS 1/30-15 of the Illinois Township code.

So who is an Elector of DeKalb Township? If you are a registered voter and resident of DeKalb Township then YOU are. That’s right. Township government is the purest form of democracy we the people have, even if it’s only once a year. One person. One vote. It don’t get much better. If the majority of Electors vote to put one or all three of the ballot questions on the agenda on the ballot then so shall it be. Questions of public policy can only be advisory.

The ballot questions were submitted by Mark Charvat a critic of high taxes and excess government spending.

“These topics [Home Rule, City Manager form of government, DeKalb Public Library] have been discussed and debated quite a bit in the public,” explained Charvat. “Why not provide our elected officials with a real sense of direction on how the voters really feel on these issues?”

Charvat said that he requested that the DeKalb Public Library question be included because Mayor Kris Povlsen suggested it at a city council meeting.

The DeKalb Township Board of Trustees approved the requested advisory ballot questions as agenda items at its March meeting. Notice of the meeting and the agenda including the ballot questions were posted to the DeKalb Township website.

DeKalb Township has no jurisdiction over the City of DeKalb. Neither does an advisory referendum. But most of the voters living within the Township borders are also residents within the City of DeKalb. This initiative provides the vehicle for a large number of voters participating in the November 12 Presidential Elections to give direction to the Mayor and City Council members elected to represent them.

Most importantly it will put the issues of Home Rule, the City Manager form of government and the DeKalb Public Library as a component or stand alone unit of government into full public discourse. The citizenry will become better informed. It’s all good!

Good job, Charvat!

Editor’s Note: I had nothing to do with this but that does not make it any less enjoyable.


  1. Update as of 3/23/12 1:00pm: I have received word that Mayor Povlsen and the city are looking to disqualify these three referenda on the grounds that the township encompasses areas outside of the city and that the township should not be making POLICY decisions for the city of DeKalb. I remind the mayor that these are advisory refrenda, not binding referenda.

    It has also come to my attention that Mayor Povlsen is having city legal staff look in to these items in an attempt to disqualify. Another fine example of Mayor Povlsen’s waste of taxpayer money and staff time in an effort to silence the residents of the city of DeKalb and DeKalb township.

    • In 2006 the mayor’s party requested (and was granted) that the Township put it on the ballot as a referendum the POLICY decision that the USA should pull out of the Iraq war. Talk about jurisdictional issues!

      Seems these 3 questions are much more germane for the township level than that question was that THEY put to referendum IMO.

      • Here is the exact wording of that DeKalb Township Advisory Question put to referendum in 2006:

        Resolution adopted at Annual Town Meeting April 11, 2006 for Advisory Question of Public Policy:

        “Shall the United States Government immediately begin an orderly and rapid withdrawal of all its military personnel from Iraq, beginning with the National Guard and Reserves?”

      • Yeah, Gracie, if the Mayor gets legal staff to declare the township advisory referenda as “illegal”, it would appear he at the same time indicts himself and anyone who helped place the “Iraq pull-out advisory” as also having already accomplished an “illegal” act. Seems like the Mayor has painted himself into the corner! If I was a politician or legal staff, I’d stay far away from this one and let the township proceed unhindered.

  2. It should be noted that The township does NOT select the moderator. The Moderator is selected and voted upon by the registered voters present at the meeting. The moderator is usually a registered voter in the township and not usually an elected official. Although an elected official can be come the chosen as the moderator if the elected official LIVES within the borders of the township. I believe, however, the interests of the those voting at the township meeting would best be served by having a moderator who is not serving in a public office.

    Since it seems very likely that Mayor Povlsen is most likely gathering his cronies to thwart the will of the people, by packing the meeting with individuals who will seek to silence those who wish to have the proposed referenda voted upon, it is very important that we get as many individuals (registered voters) to show up to support getting these advisory referenda on the November Ballot.

    Mayor Povlsen has gotten wind of the fact that I have been spreading the word to citizens of DeKalb township to encourage them to show up to the Annual meeting. He was clearly not happy with my publicity that he sent me a nasty UNSOLICITED E-mail from his official city of DeKalb E-mail account. In this E-mail Mayor Povlsen lashed out at me and engaged in childish name calling. This was totally uncalled for by a public official, especially a sitting mayor. For those who want copies of this E-mail, please E-mail me or send me a message on Facebook. I have FOIA’ED Mr Povlsen’s E-mail for an official copy that will be matter of public record. I should have this official record in my possession within the next few days. Copies of this E-mail have also been forwarded to several local media outlets at web journalists.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if Mayor Povlsen were to attempt to find a way to silence the citizens of DeKalb and DeKalb township sort of legal trickery or behind the scenes arm twisting.

    Mayor Povlsen puts on phony dog and pony show when he sits at his chair in city council chambers and tells the citizens of our community to get involved and speak up. What he truly means is: Speak up “ONLY IF YOU Agree with his viewpoints on the issues”. if you do not, then you deserve to be silenced.


    By showing up April 10th at the Township offices (7pm) YOU can vote vote to put these three advisory referenda on the Ballot in November. That way we all will get a voice! Pass the word on!!

    • This is the email Mark Charvat is talking about…

      — On Mon, 3/19/12, Povlsen, Kris wrote:

      From: Povlsen, Kris
      Subject: So much for Transparency
      To: “‘markcharvat@yahoo.com'”
      Date: Monday, March 19, 2012, 2:30 PM
      Guess this says a lot about your character and walking the talk! You are a hypocrite CITIZEN CHARVAT!

      You wrote:

      The township HAS agreed to put these items on the Annual Meeting Agenda to be voted on by anyone who is a REGISTERED VOTER in DeKalb Township. (if you live in DeKalb, IL you reside in the township)

      It is important that we get as many people who feel as we do who and would be interested having the attached items voted on in the General election in November in DeKalb township.

      ***Please only pass on the information to people who you feel will vote “YES” on placing these items on the ballot***

      Let me know if you can make it and how many people (registered voters) you can get to come. Obviously, I would like those who are inclined to vote YES to put these on the ballot.

    • Mark, Thanks for stirring the stick. The more that is done to get people to pay attention to and participate in local government the better.

      Since it seems very likely that Mayor Povlsen is most likely gathering his cronies to thwart the will of the people, by packing the meeting with individuals who will seek to silence those who wish to have the proposed referenda voted upon, it is very important that we get as many individuals (registered voters) to show up to support getting these advisory referenda on the November Ballot.

      If the mayor, you or anyone else packs the place with likeminded registered voters of DeKalb Township then as Electors they will make a democratic decision. One aspect of democracy that is as true as it is unsettling? Those who participate rule those who don’t.

      That’s how the City of DeKalb, ironically enough, is debating exercising its Home Rule authority to fast track a ballot question for making the City Clerk an appointed versus an elected position. If four of the seven aldermen vote to place the question as binding public policy on the November 2012 ballot, so shall it be. That item is on the agenda for the City Council meeting Monday night.

      The same statute that allows the city council to place the city clerk question as binding public policy on this November’s ballot would also allow them to place each of your questions on this November’s ballot as binding public policy questions.

      But I don’t agree with your use of the word ‘cronies’ in the context of the rest of your message. If I did I’d paint myself as one of Charvat’s ‘cronies’ for showing up to vote yes to your questions as an Elector.

      Proper contextual use of the word ‘cronies’ (imo): Legal and professional thugs who use their credentials to manipulate the law to unjustly favor or disqualify a policy initiative.

  3. Thanks to the Township supervisors, too. At the last regular township meeting, they voted to approve the agenda, and they already asked John Arcado to moderate the annual meeting, someone who obviously knows something about elections.

    In other areas, people keep talking about dissolving the townships, especially in Evanston and Belvidere. Here the township, as an ungerrymandered example of democracy in action, will be front and center.