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Write-in candidates create race for DeKalb city clerk

DeKALB – A DeKalb city clerk who resigned under controversy is running for the same position as a write-in candidate in the April 9 election.

In February 2012, Steve Kapitan resigned from the position he was elected to in 2009 after failing to comply with the state’s Open Meetings Act.

The controversy around Kapitan’s exit led to the ­DeKalb City Council reducing the clerk’s salary to $5,000 a year after DeKalb voters defeating a referendum to make the elected office an appointed position. Meanwhile, a deputy clerk will become a full-time position with benefits and likely will be assigned to handle much of the clerk’s duties that are not prescribed by law.

No candidate petitions for DeKalb clerk were filed, but Kapitan and three others – Lynn Fazekas, Liz Cliffe Peerboom and Leonard LeGrand – registered as write-in candidates. They are among 33 people who registered as write-in candidates for elected positions throughout DeKalb County.

The trio said they knew about the reduced salary when they registered.

As someone who writes about local issues on her blog, City Barbs, Fazekas said she felt the clerk needed to be someone who respected taxpayers and residents. In addition to building her own website, Fazekas said she is well-versed in the Open Meetings Act, the Freedom of Information Act and research.

“I do see myself as a citizen watchdog,” Fazekas said. “I think that is something that is needed.”

Peerboom said she also knows what it takes to be clerk; she’s actually the village clerk of Maple Park. A lifelong resident of DeKalb, Peerboom worked in different departments within the DeKalb government from 1991 to 2010.

Both Peerboom and Fazekas felt the reduction of the city clerk’s pay and duties were unnecessary.

“The pay didn’t affect my decision. $5,000 a year isn’t enough, but I am willing to do it,” Peerboom said. “It should be a full-time position, but I’ll do my best to fulfill any duties.”

LeGrand said he saw the clerk position as being a way to explore his interest in politics. He is the office manager of Student Athlete Academic Support Services at Northern Illinois University.

“I thought this would be a good way to get myself in the door,” LeGrand said. “See how [DeKalb government] works.”

LeGrand said he used to own a travel agency, but had to discontinue Allied Travel in 2005. He is working toward getting his bachelor’s degree in theatre studies.

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