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Retiring DeKalb County Board members recognized ahead of incoming election winners

SYCAMORE – A month before a new DeKalb County Board convenes for the first time, retiring or leaving board members were recognized for their work in the county during the board’s meeting recently.

The leaving board members who were recognized during the county’s virtual forest preserve district commission meeting on Wednesday, Nov. 18 included Tracy Jones, Chris Porterfield, Jeff Whelan and Paul Stoddard.

DeKalb County Board Chairman Mark Pietrowski Jr., who also will be retiring from the board, said he appreciated Jones’s friendship and support and was glad they both got to leave the board on their own terms.

“Together, I feel like you and I helped create a culture of partnership and respect between the chair and vice chair positions and have the roles treated truly as a leadership team for the county,” Pietrowski said.

Jones said his eight years on the County Board has been a tremendous learning experience and that he learned more on this job than he ever thought he would have. He said he was happy he got the chance to serve, but he felt it was time to go.

Jones said he encourages current and incoming board members to build relationships with each other and with county staff. He urged county officials to remember their roles, even when they’re all different or not easy.

“That’s how you learn, is by building those relationships,” Jones said.

Porterfield, a Democrat, and Whelan, a Republican, lost in their eighth and 10th district races, respectively, during the general election earlier this month. Pietrowski said he knew both leaving was not necessarily by choice but that he knows he’ll continue to see both of them serving the public going forward.

Porterfield said he lost the election to a fine man, Republican opponent William Charles Cummings. He said he thinks Cummings will be a very good addition to the board and he thanked those who have voted for him in the past.

“Maybe someday I’ll come back to the board,” Porterfield said. “We’ll see.”

Porterfield said he has always been impressed by how well the County Board has worked together and listened to each other. He pointed to how the County Board handled discussion and action about the proposed ordinance amendment to allow backyard chickens on unincorporated property that is two acres or less as a more recent example of that.

“I think that was a great example about how any deliberative body should work together,” Porterfield said. “So I think that you all should be commended for that and I hope that kind of attitude continues.”

Whelan said it has been a pleasure with the whole County Board and county staff. He said it was a close race between Democratic opponent Mary Cozad.

“I’m sure Mary will do a good job for the people of the county,” Whelan said.

Stoddard, who was the board’s longest serving member and has been on the board since 2007, deferred his comments to the County Board’s organizational meeting scheduled for 7 p.m. Dec. 7, in which he will serve as the County Board chairman pro tempore.

Pietrowski, who served on the board for eight years and as board chairman for six of those years, also provided parting words for each individual County Board member directly and thanked them for their service as part of his farewell. He said he wanted elected officials to never lose sight of the fact that they have been bestowed an honor by the public and he shared a John F. Kennedy quote, “Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer, but the right answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past; let us accept our own responsibility for the future.”

“I think that is a very important quote for everybody on the County Board,” Pietrowski said. “To seek out good government, seek out the right answers, put your partisanship aside in doing what is right for the county.”

Source: The Daily Chronicle

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