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DeKalb City Clerk remains undecided about running for reelection one year after lawsuit

DeKALB – A year after the DeKalb City Council passed an ordinance that amended the powers of the embattled city clerk’s office, the current city clerk said Tuesday it’s unclear whether she will run for reelection.

DeKalb City Clerk Lynn Fazekas wrote in a Tuesday social media post she has not decided whether she will run for the city clerk’s office ahead of the April 2021 election.

“There are several considerations, some of them personal, but a large part of it is the eternal question about whether I can have a more beneficial impact on city government from the inside or the outside,” Fazekas wrote. “That is largely dependent on the shape of the next City Council, and my crystal ball is foggy.”

The update comes one year after the DeKalb City Council voted to pass an ordinance that eliminated the deputy clerk position and assigned those duties to the executive assistant to the city manager, a role held by Ruth Scott who formerly served as deputy clerk. The ordinance amendment also formalized the ability for both the clerk and executive assistant to use the City Seal.

Fazekas later filed a lawsuit asking a DeKalb County judge to declare the changes to the powers of her office to be unconstitutional. Nearly a year later, the lawsuit has stalled in court due in part to the COVID-19 pandemic, but is due back in court later this month.

The clerk’s office has been the topic of debate since June 2019, as city emails obtained by the Daily Chronicle revealed a growing rift between City Manager Bill Nicklas and Fazekas. Smith asked Fazekas to resign after a closed session meeting July 22, to which she refused.

Fazekas said early Tuesday afternoon among the considerations in her making the decision of whether to run for reelection include additional work considerations, the current work environment at City Hall and some pandemic-related concerns. She confirmed either she or someone she knew personally had the illness but declined comment on which it was, saying she didn’t want to publicize her unique situation.

Regardless, Fazekas said, signatures for candidate petitions still must be obtained in person going door-to-door, and they cannot be provided online as of yet. Right now, she is trying to work out adequate space accommodations to allow for social distancing for the morning of Dec. 14 – the first day of the filing period – in case there are a dozen candidates for various municipal roles trying to file at once, she said.

“How to do that during a pandemic is something that I have to consider very carefully,” Fazekas said.

At any rate, whether Fazekas runs for the seat, she said she still believes a lot of matters, including office culture and procedures, still have to be looked at.

“The big picture is that things can be way, way better,” Fazekas said.

• Daily Chronicle editor Kelsey Rettke contributed to this story.

Source: The Daily Chronicle

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