DeKalb Plan Commission members resign

By Jessica Wells

Two members of the DeKalb Plan Commission have resigned following the removal of now former Commission Chairman John Guio.

DeKalb Mayor Kris Povlsen said he removed Guio on Sept. 22 after Guio voted to settle a deadlock concerning the expansion of Hope Haven. Guio’s wife, Sue, works on the board of directors for the organization. Guio was unable to contact the city attorney before voting to clarify the code of ethics.

“John saw a deadlock and decided to vote,” Povlsen said. “He, however, could have postponed a decision until a later meeting so he could get legal counsel before the next meeting. He chose not to do so.”

The decision to remove Guio was made final on Sept. 27 by a 6-2 vote from city council not to override Povlsen’s removal of him from the Plan Commission.

Following this removal, city staff received letters from now-former commission members, Joe Gastiger on Wednesday and Tom Specht on Thursday. Both stated that they were resigning their positions. Gastiger stated the removal of Guio as his reason for resignation.

“Mr. Specht stated it was for personal reasons with no explanation,” Povlsen said.

Attempts to reach Gastiger and Specht were not successful.

Povlsen said John and Sue Guio were able to separate their relationship from the job at hand and their positions in the city were never considered a conflict of interest before.

“I was never aware that either ever acted in a way or made a decision that could be considered a conflict,” Povlsen said. “I have much respect for both, and they always acted in a very professional manner.”

Despite the controversy, Povlsen said he stands by his decision to remove Guio from the Plan Commission.

“It was legal, and I strictly followed the City Code related to ethics,” Povlsen said.

According to the city’s website, the Plan Commission is to be made up of seven volunteers. Guio’s removal and Gastiger and Specht’s resignations as well as a vacant position leave only three members. Povlsen said he is in the process of talking to several candidates for the open positions.

“A decision will be made as soon as I can determine it is in the best interest of the commission,” Povlsen said.