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Local Column

Schrader: Alfred E. Neuman for DeKalb City Clerk?

After my column about the DeKalb City Clerk flap two weeks ago, I received mostly negative feedback for “trivializing a serious issue” and also was told that “one must be sure to announce that humor is involved, unless it is so outrageous that no sane person could construe it as a valid message.”

Another blogger added, “Your sense of humor is bad so you should feel bad.”

I may have missed the mark last time, but my bruised ego compels me to take another crack at it.

About three dozen people on social media castigated the DeKalb mayor, the city manager and even mentioned me for handling this poorly. Then about a dozen of them showed up to picket City Hall on Aug. 9 to express their opinions.

The city fathers (and mothers) have gone to great lengths in exhaustive detail to explain to the citizenry why we need to change the system and appoint a city clerk. It is more than a little ridiculous that we have gone through seven clerks in the past decade, including a waitress, a supermarket worker and now a blogger.

Before the last election, I told friends that if a reputable candidate did not emerge, I would promote write-in candidate Alfred E. Neuman.

At the time he still was fully employed as the mascot for Mad magazine, but now that the magazine has folded, he could use a new gig.

Next, some may want to elect the police chief, fire chief or even the city manager, but they had better do some research – it might not be legal under state statutes or even Home Rule.

I would prefer a professional in key positions. If people want a professional holding the city clerk’s position, then don’t throw it open to every Tom, Dick and Sally to run. Voters might even elect an old newspaperman who can’t take notes worth a darn.

On Monday night, the City Council took a lot of heat, but the majority stuck to its guns. A delaying tactic (technicality) forced them to go to a second reading, which will mean more public testimony, probably from the same dozen people who already have spoken.

But that’s democracy, and we should all support freedom of speech, even if we disagree.

On that point, Bessie and I can agree.

• Barry Schrader can be reached via email at barry815@sbcglobal.net or by writing to P.O. Box 851, DeKalb, IL 60115. Past columns can be found on his website at www.dekalbcountylife.com.

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