DeKALB – City Manager Bill Nicklas said he’s preparing to welcome three new faces onto the City Council as part of a wave of newcomers elected Tuesday, both in city government and the DeKalb School District 428 Board.
Although the election results will not be final until the vote is canvassed by the county clerk’s office later this month, the unofficial totals make it clear DeKalb voters wanted fresh faces, and they will get them. The newly elected officials will undergo some transitional training before they begin their four-year terms.
Three new faces for city council
Seventh Ward Alderman Tony Faivre easily won a second term in an uncontested race, but the 1st, 3rd and 5th Wards are set to be represented by Carolyn Morris, Tracy D. Smith and Scott McAdams, respectively. This will be the first office held by all three aldermen-elect.
“I’m excited to work with them,” Nicklas said. “They all were supported by their constituents, and have a lot of enthusiasm for serving their wards well, and they’re very interested in the issues of the day.”
Nicklas said the current council has two more meetings before new aldermen will be sworn at the beginning of the May 13 council meeting.
Nicklas also is planning a strategic retreat for the new council, which will likely be a daylong planning meeting to get new council members up to speed on the budget and other items.
Set to exit are longtime 1st Ward Alderman David Jacobson, 5th Ward Alderwoman Kate Noreiko, who served one term, and 3rd Ward Alderwoman Joyce Stupegia, who served the remainder of former Alderman Michael Marquardt’s term, after he resigned in December.
Morris said she already has been in contact with Jacobson, and they held a ward meeting together.
“I was very thankful this was an uncontested race, so I could focus on learning more and really researching [tax increment financing], understanding how I can be useful in this position and be a decent public servant,” Morris said.
Nicklas said he already has meetings set up with the incoming aldermen, including Scott McAdams, who said he also met with Noreiko.
“I was shocked when she dropped out,” McAdams said. “We sat down and talked, and the first question she asked me was ‘Why did you run against me?’ and I said ‘Well, you know it’s important to have opponents and not have these uncontested races, because they don’t feel very democratic.’ ”
McAdams, the executive director of the county Democratic Party, said Noreiko offered to help him with the transition.
“I told her it was never about her, it was about the city and finances,” McAdams said. “I feel really good about what’s coming up, I have a good grasp on the issues. The ward has been extraordinarily open, so that’s good, because I need to know what they want me to do.”
Tracy Smith, a retired DeKalb police officer who spent 31 years on the force, is already using his experience to his advantage.
“I’ve looked at the budget,” Smith said. “I think I have a little bit of an advantage, because I worked in that environment for 31 years.
“I think it will be a really smooth process for me, because you have to talk to people and that’s what I’ve always done. They know who I am.”
DeKalb School District 428 Board
According to the Illinois State Board of Education, newly elected school district board members will be sworn into office within 30 days of the election.
That means the group of board member-elects – all new faces holding public office for the first time – will be sworn in by April 30.
Sarah Moses, Samantha McDavid, David Seymour, and Jeromy Olson will undergo board certification before the swearing-in, District 428 Superintendent Jamie Craven said.
“The Illinois Association of School Boards has some mandated training that any school board member must go through,” Craven said. “Part of that is the Open Meetings Act training, and a four-hour professional development and leadership training course.”
Olson currently serves on the Finance Advisory Committee for the board, and the other board members-elect have talked about attending board meetings in preparation.
Craven said at the special board meeting planned for April 30, a new board president, vice president and secretary will also be chosen.
“School business is different than other municipalities and there is that transition period,” Craven said. “But myself and my staff will do our best to acclimate new board members to how we run meetings, how we present materials, and try to keep the board in an informed position.”