Who Do You Trust?

City Hall Sign

Is it possible that public trust and confidence in local government has hit an all-time low for the City of DeKalb? Many remember a time when most people had a healthy distrust of national government, but local government usually got the benefit of the doubt.

Over the last few years, however, there have been so many scandals and questionable decisions made by DeKalb government and NIU officials that it is hard to remember them all. It seems like the hits just keep coming one after the other.

Here are just some of the more recent “alleged” activities (in no particular order):

NIU Police Chief Grady cover-up
NIU Convo Director misuse of funds
Eddie Williams land project via NIU
DeKalb School Board promised limited tax hikes
NIU BOT recent Board Member selection
DeKalb Sanitation Department 52 million dollar project
City of DeKalb multiple excessive consulting fees
NIU Coffee Fund scandal
Jack McCullough debacle
Cortland Elementary landfill incident
Open Meetings Act violations
Ron Walters travel reimbursement ethics probe
District 428 Superintendent Sexual Harassment Scandal
Doug Baker severance payment controversy
Kandis Talley DFSA Embezzlement
DeKalb School District Non-Resident lawsuit
Unfair Property Tax Assessments
DeKalb Library Board Tax Levy Abatement Controversy
Possible misuse  of TIF Funds

Just about every major government organization in DeKalb has been plagued with controversy and scandal in recent years: City Government, State’s Attorney, School District, Library Board, Northern Illinois University.

What can be done to regain the trust of DeKalb residents in their local government officials? Or is this just a good reminder to always stay vigilant in holding government leaders accountable so they will not be tempted to engage in unethical behavior?

Please share your thoughts! (Keep your posts respectful.)


  1. Thank you Mac Swan…. your comments are spot on. Questionable leadership from City of DeKalb (Mayors and City Managers) and NIU (Presidents and select Administrators) has driven trust to an all time low. The City is moving in the right direction with recent elections. Instead of demeaning current efforts … be part of the new future. The new city leadership is trying extremely hard to be open and transparent. he number of FOIAs are down and more vision of how and why money should be spent.

  2. No, the trust was at an all-time low during the Rey administration who inherited a mess from the Povlsen era and then multiplied it. The trend is now upwards. That momentum will build when the city council fully restores the office of the elected city clerk and those functions are performed by a clerk versus an attorney. DeKalb and NIU both need to revamp their image to one of success but that won’t come from fancy new buildings or yet another marketing schism. Success breeds success. The more successful its people, students and/or businesses become the more successful DeKalb and NIU will appear.

  3. Thank you Dekalb County Online for reminding us of all the issues with local government. A very valuable history lesson here. People need to remember the past, otherwise we are destined to repeat it. I hope that Dekalb County online will continue its coverage of local government, and look forward to more great things going forward.

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