Letter to City Officials Updated: Mayor Responds

Update: Mayor Povlsen responded to my letter. The e-mail exhange (so far) appears at the end of this post.

The city manager responded to the statements I made Monday at the Council meeting. Here is my reply:

Mr. Biernacki:

The Re:New DeKalb documents you mailed to me July 15, I assume in response to dissatisfaction expressed last Monday, are indeed copies of the same documents mailed earlier this year in response to a Freedom of Information Act request.

However, as I stated at the July 13 council meeting, they are only a tiny portion of what I asked for.

Please note on the original FOIA I asked for two fiscal years’ worth of Re:New DeKalb documents specified in the contract between the City of DeKalb and Re:New. The bundle you sent contains only a few of the documents for only one of the years requested. There is also the issue of the meeting minutes. The only meeting minutes sent are the minutes from one meeting in which a Re:New budget was approved. The contract calls for Re:New to submit meeting minutes whenever a meeting is about use of city money. It is not specific to the amount allocated by the city but applies to TIF funds as well; therefore most, if not all, of Re:New DeKalb’s meeting minutes should be submitted by Re:New to the city within the specified time limit and accessible to citizens.

When I first sat down with our former city clerk and she read the original FOIA, her exact words were, “We don’t have anything like that.” It is difficult not to reach certain conclusions about how — or, more to the point, when — the documents she did send were obtained. However, my primary concern is that the Re:New and similar contracts are enforced as they should be. To this end I did inform my caseworker at the Attorney General’s office yesterday that I intend to submit a FOIA afresh and see what comes of it. Also, I will be submitting FOIAs for the same types of documents submitted by other agencies with the same contract provision.

Another area where the city’s enforcement seems to be lacking is the requirement for these agencies to follow the Open Meetings Act whenever use of city funds of any type are discussed, particularly the posting of board meeting schedules and agendas. Since Re:New, CVB, PET, etc., have websites this would be a very easy place to begin corrections. I hope that you will keep me informed of these improvements that I may help pass them on to the DeKalb Citizens for Transparency and other residents.

Thank you.

Yours truly,
[blah blah]

Update: Mayoral exchange

Subject: Re: New DeKalb documents obtained via FOIA request
Date: Fri, 17 Jul 2009 10:43:07 -0500
To: dlmfazekas@msn.com
CC: Mark.Biernacki@CITYOFDEKALB.com

I will also follow up. I would really like to sit down with you sometime and learn just what the real issues you have with the city. I would like to be able to assure you that it is not an entity filled with corruption and secret activities to decieve its residents. Kris

From: Fazekas Family (xxxxxxx@xxx.com)
Sent: Sun 7/19/09 10:49 AM
To: kris povlsen (kpovlsen@cityofdekalb.com)
Cc: mark biernacki (mark.biernacki@cityofdekalb.com)

Dear Mayor Povlsen:

I do not believe I’ve ever used the words “filled with corruption” or “secret activities.” I am entirely convinced, however, that the city is going backwards in some areas when it comes to openness and transparency and, as a citizen, I have a stake in this.

People who know me understand they can take what I say at face value. I would be glad to meet with you, but first you must understand this, too. It will do us no good if you approach the table with the assumption that I have ulterior motives.

Lynn Fazekas

7 thoughts on “Letter to City Officials Updated: Mayor Responds”

  1. This just proves that Mayor Kris Povlsen is completely out of touch with what is happening in this community and what it is that he is supposed to be doing as Mayor.

    First and foremost, Mayor Povlsen’s job is to run the council. To keep the council moving forward and accomplishing what it must do in order to protect the citizens of the DeKalb community. Pure and simple. His job is not to decree bankruptcy but to make sure that ALL is done to prevent bankruptcy. This means solving problems not just fixing it for today and worrying about tomorrow when it gets here. Well Mr. Mayor, tomorrow has been here for sometime now.

    I’m still upset with Mr. Povlsen not answering my questions put forth in the Daily Chronicle during his mayoral run, instead he felt he should try to criticize me but Mr. Mayor, it is not me sitting in the Mayors chair proclaiming that this community is going bankrupt. You have been a member of the city council for over 23 years and I feel you are a very big part of the fact that no one seems to be responsible for getting to this point so we elect you the lighning rod.

    Not has the council neglected it’s duties with regards to making sure that the Renew:DeKalb papers and accounting is in order, they go ahead and extend their contract and give them additional money. No wonder DeKalb is headed for bankruptcy Kris.

    Also, neglected is the city councils responsibility to have School District #428 file annual reports as to how impact fees are being used in the community. Paperwork is a son of a gun Kris but it is your duty as Mayor to make sure that staff do theirs.

    Also again, the Park District receives impact fees. The city council has not demanded the annual reports as to how the Park District is using impact fees. Darn paperwork again! Where was Donna Johnson during all of this? Who is actually supposed to collect and file these reports? Mr. Kapitan surely needs to get things in order.

    Don’t feel bad Kris, you are not alone. Sycamore has for years neglected to ask for the annual reports from the Schools, Parks, and Library there. The council is responsible for these annual reports because it is the city councils who gave the schools, parks and library (in Sycamore) the power to collect impact fees and monitor what they are doing with those monies.

    Paper work! Get your act together Mr. Mayor or this city will definitely find itself bankrupt.

  2. That was pathetic on Kris’s part. I’ve seen more sincere letters from the Best Buy rebate team when you’ve missed the two week window to apply. You’ve clearly outlined the issues you have with requests for information going unanswered or stagnated in nomenclature of the request. Which part of this didn’t he get? Now he feels the need to have a heart to heart after you’ve contacted the attorney general? Opinions are what they are but open the books and minutes. It’s that simple. If they have nothing to hide they have nothing to fear. Prove me wrong.

  3. This story with the old Kris and the new Kris sure reminds me of the story of the man who sold his soul to the devil. I know many responsibilities come with the Mayors chair and gavel but to throw away everything you are and believed in overnight?

    Biernacki’s downtown dream along with the riverwalk dream is going to hurt many in this community. Many of the locals have no clue the direction all of this is heading. This community just can’t support this plan right now. I would be happier to see Shodeen here breaking ground on the east side along with prepping his site for the downtown project while we are tearing up streets and sidewalks.

    I’m afraid all of this infrastructure will get built and no new businesses will be here to help support it. I’m a “spec home” builder and have been over the years or should I say I was. The build it and they will come attitude has to be erased and now we should wait for the time to be right.

    Dissolving TIF right now would be great for this community. Over $21 million sits in the account as of now which is supposed to be the city’s share of the $100 million to be spent overall on this Renew:DeKalb construction. RIDICULOUS at this time. They are spending and hoping to build like they plan on having a casino here, NOT HAPPENING!

    Most of that $21 million would of course go to the school district which would make a huge difference in the taxes property owners are and will have to pay.

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