DeKalb voters: This is your City. Take it back.

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Editor:

Liz Cliffe Peerboom holding an award she received from the Illinois Municipal League for her work as a city clerk.
Liz Cliffe Peerboom holding an award she received from the Illinois Municipal League for her work as a city clerk.

When the City of DeKalb was founded in 1865, the City Clerk was full time. Of course, at the time, there were fewer residents and the Clerk did everything from the statutory duties to that of water billing clerk, payroll clerk and accountant. They even did birth and death certificates.

Fast forward to 2012, when the City of DeKalb found itself without a Clerk after then City Clerk Steve Kapitan resigned. The reaction of the City Council was to slash the budget for the City Clerk for the next election to $5,000 per year, making it a part-time position. That’s where I came in…

In 2003, I ran as a write in candidate and won the election. When I was sworn in, I was ready to work and bring the City Clerk’s office back to the office it had once been. Even though it was part-time, and I worked another part-time job, I came to meetings in the evening as required and came during the day to attest documents and oversee what I thought was my office. Right away, they moved me into an office with the Deputy City Clerk, and although it was small I made due because I was a team player. Then, when the Clerk’s office was moved down the hall to where it is now, suddenly I did not have a desk, but only a filing cabinet where I kept my recorder (used for closed session meetings) and the City Seal. The City Seal is used to attest documents and is supposed to be under the control of the City Clerk.

It did not take long to realize that the new City Manager did not want the City Clerk’s office to be autonomous. The reason that a City Clerk is elected as opposed to being appointed is to speak for the residents without fear of retribution. That was not the case in my office. The deputies were under the control of the City Manager and answered only to her (which is against the state statute, by the way). It became so outrageous that I had to resign. And whether or not you like the way that I resigned, I would like residents to know that it got to the point where I realized that I could not continue taking taxpayer money and be a Clerk without any power. When I say power, I mean the power to speak for the residents.

I believe that the City Clerk’s position should be fulltime. I believe that the deputies in that office should be hired only by the City Clerk and not under the control of the City Manager. I believe that the office can get along with one full time City Clerk and one full time Deputy City Clerk.

The City Clerk’s office would then take back the licensing duties that it once had; they would also take back the FOIA requests. There is no reason that the City of DeKalb should have a full time employee that only handles FOIA requests. There are too many high paid “Friends of Anne Marie” at the city, but I digress.

The City of Sycamore and the Town of Cortland, both smaller municipalities than DeKalb, have full time Clerks.

A petition with over 200 signatures was presented to the DeKalb City Council asking them to make the position full time and they ignored it. The petition suggested getting rid of the full time employee that does only FOIA requests (who, by the way makes around $70,000 per year) and give those duties to the Clerk for $55,000 per year. It is just common sense.

I am appealing to the residents of DeKalb. Please contact Mayor John Rey and contact your alderman. If you don’t know who your alderman is, call the City of DeKalb at (815) 748-2000 and they can tell you who your alderman is and how to contact that person. AND get out and vote! It is important that the residents tell the City Council what they want to see in City government. This is your city, take it back!

Liz Peerboom

DeKalb Illinois

1 COMMENT

  1. DeKalb Residents, Prior to voting for DeKalb County State’s Attorney on November 8, please remember the murder of Antinette “Toni” Keller. Remember the lenient 36-year prison plea deal Richard Schmack brokered for William Curl, the man who raped, murdered, and incinerated Ms. Keller’s body beyond even human DNA recognition. Remember the plea deals Richard Schmack has brokered for murderers, rapists, and pedophiles during his term as DeKalb County’s State’s Attorney. As a result of the hastily built plea deal granted to William Curl, he now again has legal representation, which has filed an appeal to overturn the verdict to release him from jail and retry his case. This appeal is working its way through the DeKalb County court system now; the next court date is November 30, 2015. Curl’s appeal was made possible by mistakes made by Richard Schmack; Schmack hastily brokered this deal because he had never prosecuted a criminal jury trial in his career as an attorney until the Keller murder case. As DeKalb County State’s Attorney, Richard Schmack has brokered far too many underhanded, unjust plea deals for murderers, rapists, and pedophiles in DeKalb County Court. Schmack’s agenda as DeKalb County State’s attorney has been to avoid criminal jury trials at all costs because of his lack of experience and because he believes he’s saving time and money by running cases through a “conveyor court” court system, while sacrificing law and justice. Richard Schmack has repeatedly shown a complete disregard for justice, for the victims of violent crimes, their grieving families, and for the entire community. Richard Schmack’s plea deals benefit only Schmack and the heinous criminals he was voted by the citizens of DeKalb County to prosecute. PLEASE PUT AN END to Richard Schmack’s brokering of plea deals, put an end to his “conveyor belt” handling of even the most heinous crimes brought before the court in DeKalb County. Stand up and support victims of violent crimes in DeKalb County. Demand change, demand a just, legal, competent State’s Attorney who will hold violent criminals accountable in DeKalb County instead of simply moving them expeditiously through an inept, apathetic court system. On November 8, vote for absolutely ANYONE else on the ballot for DeKalb County State’s Attorney; it’s time to put an end to the heinous negligence and incompetence of Richard Schmack.

    http://www.daily-chronicle.com/2016/10/28/dekalb-county-states-eattorney-candidates-spar-over-plea-deals/ajn4rz6/

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