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DeKalb council to consider making city clerk position appointed over elected

DeKALB – The City Council on Monday will discuss a proposal to make the city clerk an appointed rather an elected position.

It has been a tumultuous few weeks since Mayor Jerry Smith asked City Clerk Lynn Fazekas to resign – a request she refused.

The elected, part-time position will be the subject of discussion and two votes at Monday’s meeting, set for 6 p.m. at the DeKalb Municipal Building, 200 S. Fourth St.

According to city documents, one proposed ordinance would clarify that a deputy clerk – in this case Ruth Scott, who is also executive assistant to the city manager – can perform all duties of the city clerk. The second would make the clerk an appointed, rather than elected, position.

Voters have twice rejected proposals to make the clerk an appointed position, most recently in November 2012. After the referendum failed, the city in turn expanded the appointed deputy clerk to full-time with benefits, and the elected city clerk role was made part-time.

In city documents, Nicklas argues that DeKalb’s council-manager form of government embraced that “the increasing economic role and legal complexities of government required more professionally trained officers.”

Nicklas says that for the past five years, the primary duties of the clerk’s office have been performed by Scott, not the Clerk, and that Scott is capable of performing the duties alone because she is already a full-time city employee.

“Given the importance of the duties, do we want to hold the person who performs them to a professional standard, or do we want to trust in their popularity at the polls?” Nicklas wrote.

This is a developing story. Check back in for updates.

Source: The Daily Chronicle

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