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Povlsen plans exit with no regrets

Published: Saturday, Sept. 22, 2012 5:30 a.m. CDT

DeKALB – When Kris Povlsen looks back on his 16 years in city government, he has no regrets.

There may have been some business developments that didn’t work the way he envisioned, but Povlsen said he has no lingering doubts about any of his votes.

“Overall, I can’t think of anything that was on the table that we lost on and was a failure,” Povlsen said.

Povlsen announced Friday morning that he would not seek a second term as mayor of DeKalb. He said it was a difficult decision that he has pondered for months, but he said he feels now is the time to move on.

“I’m going to sit back and see what other kinds of interests pop in terms of public service and social service,” Povlsen said.

He added that he would like to spend more time with his wife and four grandchildren.

Povlsen is the second member of the DeKalb City Council to announce he will not be on the ballot in April. In August, 4th Ward Alderman Brendon Gallagher said he would not seek another term.

Povlsen began his career on the City Council in 1996 as the alderman representing the 2nd Ward. Back then, Povlsen made a vow to himself to vote in the interests of the residents, and to not let criticism, controversy, friendships or his re-election prospects sway his vote.

“If any of that would ever influence my decision, I would step down from my position,” Povlsen said.

He added that had any of those elements influenced him, especially criticism, he would have stepped down a long time ago.

Povlsen was appointed mayor in 2008 after Mayor Frank Van Buer died from pancreatic cancer. Sixth Ward Alderman Dave Baker described Povlsen as being “the right guy for the job at the right time.” In April 2009, Povlsen was elected to a full term.

By April 2013, Povlsen and Baker will have shared 12 years on the council together. Baker said he and Povlsen have often have taken the same positions, even though they might have different reasons.

And when they do disagree – as they do on the city government’s role in ensuring safe and quality housing in DeKalb – it’s a professional one.

“One of the great things about Kris Povlsen is, when we have a disagreement, it has never been personal,” Baker said.

Povlsen counts passing a citywide smoking ban before the state did the same thing, and increasing the city’s General Revenue fund from $30,000 to just over $3 million among his accomplishments as mayor.

By the time he leaves office, Povlsen said he hopes the council passes an overhaul of the city’s extensive liquor code and improvements to the city’s housing.

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