DeKALB – DeKalb’s City Council welcomed a new member Tuesday, as lifelong resident Gregory Perkins was sworn in as the new Ward 4th alderman was accompanied by family.
Perkins works as operations manager at Ryerson Metal Processing and Distribution, and said he’s hoping to use his native DeKalb experience to benefit the council.
“I’m just looking forward to the opportunity to serve the 4th Ward in the city of DeKalb,” Perkins said in an interview after the meeting. “As a lifelong resident, I believe I have some knowledge about the community and want to share.”
After the City Council voted unanimously to approve Perkins’ appointment, his first meeting consisted of voting yes to approve a tax levy request that could see DeKalb residents pay 4% less on the city portion of their 2019 property tax bill. It was an evening of unanimous votes, with the council also voting yes on a final vote to amend city code and welcome all types of recreational marijuana business in 2020, including growers, sellers and cultivators.
Perkins said he volunteered for the position after former 4th Ward Alderman Pat Fagan resigned from his role at the end of September because Fagan was moving out of the ward. It wasn’t an easy decision, however.
Perkins is married to Shelly Perkins, executive director of the DeKalb County Housing Authority. They have three children, Hayden, Michaela and Jacob. His family was present Tuesday night to witness his swearing in ceremony by City Clerk Lynn Fazekas.
“I don’t think that’s something anyone wants to race into,” Perkins said. “It was an interesting opportunity. I talked it over carefully with my friends and family, because it does impact a lot of things. It certainly changes things.”
DeKalb Mayor Jerry Smith was tasked with finding someone to fill the role and serve the remainder of Fagan’s term – through April 2021. Smith said six people volunteered for the job, although one was not considered because they lived outside the ward. After interviewing the candidates, Smith chose Perkins because of what he said is a lifelong devotion to DeKalb.
Perkins is a graduate of DeKalb High School, Northern Illinois University, where he earned a degree in finance, and has worked with sports teams, including as a founder of the Northern Illinois Football Club. He was a treasurer at First Baptist Church of DeKalb, and is a member of the board of trustees for The Benevolent and Protective Elks Lodge No. 765.
While Perkins declined to identify a priority for projects he wants to get behind, he said he thinks any progress for the city is good.
“I was a finance grad from NIU, and involved in the business community here in town,” he said. “And I certainly have some interest and experience in that direction. But not in any one particular area, no. I just want to help out in any way I can.”