DeKALB – DeKalb City Clerk Lynn Fazekas said the new ordinance proposals recommending the City Clerk position remain elected are good, however, she doesn’t like the proposal that would make the deputy clerk answerable to the City Manager and not to her.
Fazekas’ comments come after City Manager Bill Nicklas reversed course on two proposed ordinances set to change the nature of the clerk position.
“The simplest way we can fix this would be that the council authorizes for me to hire my own deputy,” Fazekas said Friday. “Part-time would be fine. I would have no problem delegating authority to use the city seal to a deputy who answers to me, which is how it should be for an elected clerk.”
Set for what would be the deciding second-reading vote on the matter, Monday’s City Council agenda shows changes to two proposed ordinances which would better clarify the clerk and deputy clerk roles in the DeKalb Municipal Code and take the clerk off future ballots.
The changed ordinances would leave the position an elected one, and also ensure the deputy clerk has her own seal, and any person who serves as the deputy clerk would also remain a city employee under the supervision of the city manager. Nicklas cited city municipal code section 3.14 in his ordinance explanations.
“It is good news that the city is not trying to take the clerk from an elected position to an appointed position without a referendum,” Fazekas said. “That is fantastic news. The downside of it though is that if this new ordinance passes, they will be taking away statutory duties from the elected clerk by taking away my delegation authority.”
She said the city should “go back to the drawing board.” She said she met with Mayor Jerry Smith Friday afternoon to discuss next steps.
Nicklas has said the deputy clerk, Ruth Scott, who has served in the role in addition to being the executive assistant to the city manager, for many years, is the best person for the job.
Fazekas removed Scott from her deputy position Monday, and two hours later, Nicklas reappointed her. In a post to her City Barbs Blog Facebook page, Fazekas indicated she does not consider Scott her deputy any more.
A growing rift between the city manager’s and clerk’s offices surfaced after Fazekas notified local media late July that Smith had asked her to resign
July 22, to which she refused.
Smith said Fazekas had “impeded” city business by keeping the city seal locked up, which is used to approve documents. He said that the action kept Scott, who also is the executive assistant to the city manager, from doing her job.