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DeKalb 4th Ward Alderman Bill Finucane pitches compromise to keep city clerk elected

DeKALB – Fourth Ward Alderman Bill Finucane said he still wants the people to be able to elect a city clerk and is looking to compromise with those who want to see those elections end.

Finucane’s proposal, which he laid out Friday, would keep the clerk an elected position with part-time hours and salary. Additionally, he proposes that the mayor appoint a deputy clerk in consultation with the City Council and city manager, from a group of trained city employees. Currently, the deputy clerk is appointed by the city clerk, but chosen from an approved list provided by the city manager.

Finucane said he plans to present the proposal at Monday’s council meeting, when the council is slated to consider a measure that would allow the mayor, rather than voters, to select the city clerk.

Finucane said he already had approached several council members individually and hoped the compromise plan would be voted on as an amendment to the ordinances up for vote Monday, which could see the position move from an elected to an appointed one.

“There were some things I didn’t like,” Finucane said about the proposed ordinances. “I do not like the idea of it not being an elected position, particularly in light of the two referendums we’ve had in the past years. I think the public’s been pretty clear they want it to remain an elected position.”

He also asks that the clerk have a set, 101/2-hour-a-week schedule, working 8:30 a.m. to noon Tuesdays through Thursdays.

“This would better define the requirements for any potential candidates [ahead of the next election],” Finucane said. “Remember one of Bill Nicklas’ complaints was that the morning after council meetings, that the clerk and seal wasn’t available. So this makes it easy.”

He also asks for clarification language to be added to the DeKalb Municipal Code, such as ensuring the deputy clerk can perform all duties the clerk can, including use of the city seal in the clerk’s absence.

The city clerk position has been a topic of controversy in the last few weeks, after Mayor Jerry Smith, with consensus from the council, asked Clerk Lynn Fazekas to resign from the role after a closed session meeting July 22. She refused, and has since alluded to a growing rift between her office and that of City Manager Nicklas.

Source: The Daily Chronicle

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