'I will not comply': DeKalb City Clerk promises legal action against city for approving clerk changes

Fazekas say she won’t follow new rules, promises legal action

DeKALB – City Clerk Lynn Fazekas said she won’t comply with the ordinance approved Monday night, which gives some clerk responsibilities to the executive assistant to the city manager, and said she plans to seek legal action against the city.

Fazekas said the 5-2 vote to approve the ordinance on second reading – with 1st Ward Alderwoman Carolyn Morris and 5th Ward Alderman Scott McAdams voting no – was not unexpected.

“The ordinance and the matter of the seal particularly is illegal and specifically unconstitutional,” Fazekas said when asked if she would follow the approved policy. “And I will not comply with that illegal ordinance.”

The measure passed with relatively little fanfare compared with past meetings over the last few months, with sparse council discussion and two residents, former City Clerk Steve Kapitan and former Mayor Bessie Chronopoulos, echoing their past comments in opposition to the vote. The ordinance eliminates the deputy clerk position and assigns the duties to whoever fulfills the role of executive assistant to the city manager, currently Ruth Scott. The clerk will remain a part-time elected role, and will designate the City Seal, used to approve documents, to both the clerk and the executive assistant, who would be allowed to use it in the clerk's absence, acccording to the new ordinance.

“I’m just looking forward to moving forward and doing the best work I can for the city,” Scott said after the meeting.

Chronopoulos called the ordinance “unacceptable.”

“This whole thing is about the will of the people,” she said. “This ordinance is really not necessary, and it kind of circumvents and undercuts the whole purpose of the city clerk’s office. Alderman Morris did a remarkable job of trying to pull together the various entities in trying to come up with a resolution, and that was undermined. I find that appalling.”

Morris reiterated her past points in her opposition to the vote.

“I believe that the city has not demonstrated what the harm is with the current situation,” Morris said. “And for this reason, I don’t see how it’s possible to identify a solution. Furthermore, I believe this solution degrades the role of clerk, which I believe the community has made clear they did not want through referendum.”

Fazekas said she will continue to bar Scott from using the seal, however, and said it’s because she does not have authority over Scott, who answers to City Manager Bill Nicklas.

She said she does not have details yet on what her legal action will look like, but plans to file legal repercussions against the city.