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Local Column

Olson: Make me DeKalb's next city manager

This week, local developer Jim Mason became the first candidate to be DeKalb’s city manager.

Count me in as the second, DeKalb City Council members.

I figure I’m as qualified as Mason. Now, you might say neither of us is qualified because neither of us has experience actually running a government of any size, let alone one with a $93.7 million budget serving more than 44,000 residents. But why focus on relevant experience? We can offer opinions, platitudes and generalizations.

Look, everything is very bad right now in DeKalb and everyone who lives there should be very upset. Sycamore has been taking advantage of them for years. All of that will change once I become city manager.

We’ll bring a lot of new jobs to town, and we’re going to do it in a very smart way. Believe me.

DeKalb’s finances are a mess. They’re not spending enough on road maintenance. In three years’ time, all the roads in DeKalb will be repaved in smooth, beautiful asphalt, and Sycamore will pay for it. They will.

Mason said he’s about due diligence, but I’m next-level. When it comes to diligence, I’m like Double Stuf Oreos (Reports that they don’t have double the creme are fake news, folks.).

After I’m hired, we’ll take a hard look at the number of employees at City Hall, see who else can be replaced by volunteers.

Plenty of people in town want to be cops, and many of them already have their own guns. I’m sure we could find a police chief more affordable than the experienced and capable chief DeKalb has now.

We can cut the police force down, too. We’ll park squad cars in the streets with mannequins behind the wheel. Whenever there’s a major crime, we’ll round up a posse of volunteer investigators. Somebody’s got to own some bloodhounds in this town.

Those are but a few of my plans. There will be more, council members – a lot more. Hire me, and Barb City will start winning and winning big. Trust me.

You might be wondering whether I’ll keep working at the Daily Chronicle after I’m hired to run DeKalb’s city government. The answer is, absolutely.

I don’t think Mason plans to sell all the buildings Mason Properties owns in town, so why would I quit the newspaper? Sure, it’s a blatant conflict of interest, but no worse than putting one of the city’s biggest landlords in charge of city government.

In some ways, Mason is more qualified than I am. He is a successful business owner and developer. He builds things in the community. He is good at what he does.

I’d like to think that I’m good at what I do, too. I know words. I write the best words.

That doesn’t make either of us qualified to run City Hall, however.

On second thought, council members, please don’t consider my application. But that idea with the mannequins in the squad cars – that works.

• Eric Olson is general manager of the Daily Chronicle. Reach him at 815-756-4841 ext. 2257, email eolson@shawmedia.com, or follow him on Twitter @DC_Editor.

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