City of DeKalb seems to have a lot more trouble than usual lately with day-to-day operations. Let me count the ways.
1. I turned on my laptop at 5 pm last evening to watch Mayor Smith’s State of the City address, but the meeting was not streaming — some kind of technical issue. Later I found out this has been a problem since January 8.
2. Bright and early yesterday, I put in a request for accommodation of a disability during Wednesday’s special council meeting, because it’s not being held in council chambers (where the disability is already accommodated). Whenever I’ve made the request before — of anyone, anywhere — there’s never been a problem with getting what I need. But not only was there lag time in responding, today I opened up an email that says the city will be “investigating” my request.
3. The water at the local schools recently have tested positive for lead, so I’ve been looking at local water analysis reports. There is a special page on DeKalb’s website for them, but it only contains reports and analyses for 2014 and 2015. To find the latest report, you have to do a search of the site.
4. And speaking of the city’s website, a neighbor alerted me that the Freedom of Information Act archives are not being regularly updated with responses. There should be one or more downloadable response files available for each request. I’ve scrolled through a few pages, and it looks like the neglect has been worsening over time.
5. DeKalb canceled two meetings at the last minute, the Annie Glidden North task force and the finance advisory committee meetings that were set for January 16. Apparently nobody factored Monday’s holiday into their Open Meetings Act calculations for giving advance public notice. The people who paid for it, of course, were those who showed up to the nonexistent meetings. To add insult to injury, the city actually pays a person to maintain social media accounts, but no one thought to post cancellation notices there.
6. The Annie Glidden North project seems to be a disorganized mess in general. There are no meeting minutes posted for the September and November meetings. There are, weirdly enough, meeting minutes posted for the December 5 meeting, but with the January 16 meeting being canceled, it’s unclear when the task force might have approved them.
So here’s my take. After four years under city manager Anne Marie Gaura, City of DeKalb should be humming, but it’s not. It appears, instead, to be unraveling. The expensive website is still crap on rye, the city clerk’s office broken into a dozen pieces, the good people from IT either booted out or hog-tied, and the city manager’s office itself bloated and preoccupied with pet projects instead of the people’s business.
And they intend to investigate my workings. That’s fun.