Alderman ejected from city meeting

By Paul Wagner

The DeKalb City Council ejected an alderman from a closed session Monday, after he demanded a roll call vote on a salary increase for City Manager Mark Stevens that was approved late that night.

DeKalb Mayor Greg Sparrow said the council voted to censure 7th Ward Alderman Mark Powell after he demanded a roll call on a vote to grant Stevens a merit salary increase. The manager’s pay will increase from $53,293 to $56,539 annually.

The council voted 6 to 1 to have Powell removed from the meeting, Sparrow said. DeKalb Sgt. Charles Kross escorted Powell out of the meeting.

Powell said that Illinois State law gives an alderman the authority to demand a roll call vote in which each council member must vote separately. He said he asked for the roll call when the council took a vote on the increase in closed session.

Sparrow said the council took the vote for Stevens’ pay increase in closed session and later ratified it in an open session.

Sparrow cited Robert’s Rules of Order in his decision not to allow the roll call vote. The mayor said Powell could have appealed the ruling, but that would have required a second from another council member.

“The city council agreed not to go to roll call (on the salary vote),” Sparrow said. “He (Powell) just wants to see his name in print.”

Sparrow said Powell was making derogatory remarks about city officials and staff members.

At one point during the closed session, Powell yelled loud enough to be heard outside the meeting, “You, Mr. Hanna (3rd Ward Alderman William Hanna), are a pathological liar!”

“I requested he (Powell) be quiet several times,” Sparrow said. “I think the council had enough.”

This is the second time Powell has been expelled from a city council meeting. Police Chief Joe Maciejewski ushered Powell out of a June 27 meeting after the alderman interrupted testimony from DeKalb businessman John Castle.

Castle had called Powell’s behavior during meetings irresponsible and unwarranted.

Powell is running for mayor against Sparrow in the April city elections. Sparrow said the alderman’s behavior is meant for political reasons. “Never have I seen such a show (at city hall),” the mayor said.

“He (Powell) has no respect from staff and council members, and he expects to lead the community?” Sparrow said.