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Barry Schrader


I have been writing a column for the Chronicle most of the time since December 2007, with two breaks, one in 2016 and the other in 2017 when my wife Kay suffered a stroke. They are all archived here.


If you've missed any please follow the links on the dates to catch up.

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Columnist unfazed by the Fazekas feud

By Barry Schrader Senior Columnist....................................Aug 2, 2019

Never a dull moment during Dog Days for news around here, what with the DeKalb City Council and City Clerk Lynn Fazekas feuding over who has control of the official city seal. The August 12 council meeting should be very entertaining—and long.

It should not come as a surprise that there would be another controversy centering on the city clerk’s position. There have been no less than eight city clerks in and out of that office in the decade since we moved back to DeKalb.

I’ve known Lynn through her City Barbs Blog for most of my time back here. Like me, she fancies herself as a government watchdog; some would call us “muckrakers,” but that has become a derogatory term for yellow journalism.

When she was appointed city clerk a year ago I wondered out-loud if they were “inviting the fox into the henhouse” so I waited for the feathers to fly. I have enjoyed her blog posts over the years and think she is best at critiquing government and officeholders, rather than handling the duties of rubber stamping official documents.

What I hope doesn’t happen is a legal hassle, which will cost the city and taxpayers thousands in attorney’s fees and possibly even the potential for a lawsuit by the city clerk for causing her undo stress or harassment, not an unfamiliar allegation around city hall. Then we are talking big bucks, even if an out-of-court settlement is reached.

I hope the city leaders don’t decide the unused space in the bowels of the old Nehring bank building, where city offices are moving, would be a good place to relocate the city clerk’s office. I asked local historian Steve Bigolin to give me a guided tour of the bank basement and found a walkin vault, plus a number of deadend passageways, even rooms carved out under the front sidewalk on Lincoln Highway. The biggest

Converting this old bank basement vault into an office for the city clerk is not being considered at the next council meeting.This signage was not created at taxpayer expense, but rather placed over the doorway by the columnist so he could remember which vault of the four in the building he had photographed. Looking deep inside you will find artifacts from DAAHA's museum stored there.
(Schrader photo for ShawMedia)

DeKalb’s official city seal depicts barbed wire, corn, a scroll representing education, an eagle, and the date 1856 when the city was incorporated.
thing that would deter them from moving the city clerk’s office there are Americans with Disabilities Act compliance issues and lack of restroom facilities. So our City Clerk may be spared from that fate.

In any case, I have come up with an easy solution to settle the controversy before the city racks up thousands in legal costs. Spend $159 and purchase a second city seal embossing device, then give it to the Deputy City Clerk Ruth Scott or even City Manager Bill Nicklas to keep locked in another drawer.
Now isn’t that a no brainer!

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Barry Schrader
PO Box 851
DeKalb, Ill 60115