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Illinois

Tensions At DeKalb City Hall Get Attention Of State's Attorney

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DeKalb County State’s Attorney Rick Amato is wading into the conflict at DeKalb City Hall that is related to the role of the city clerk.

The Daily Chronicle reports Amato sent a letter Friday to the city of DeKalb, saying it is in his reading of state rules that the city should not pass ordinances to make the city clerk an appointed position rather than elected.

The decision comes after a contentious relationship with city administration and City Clerk Lynn Fazekas. The position of city clerk has seen tremendous turnover in the last decade in DeKalb, prompting calls for a clearer interpretation of the role.

WNIJ also obtained a copy of the letter addressed to City Manager Bill Nicklas, Mayor Jerry Smith, and John Donahue with Rosenthal, Murphey, Coblentz & Donahue.

In it, Amato says he has been contacted by citizens and elected officials regarding efforts to turn the office into an appointed position.

According to the letter, Amato writes, “While it was my hope that intervention by this office would not be necessitated, the events on August 12, 2019 demonstrate that the City is on the cusp of committing an egregious error in regard to the elected offices within the City, and in doing so, raising the need for my office to consider taking action to cease these developments before they damage your municipality further.”

Amato also raised concerns of a possible violation of the Open Meetings Act for which he says the state's Public Access Counselor is taking a closer look.

The Daily Chronicle reports that city attorneys believe state statute does support the city’s ability to change the role. They characterize Amato’s interpretation as “limited.”