Welsh statements deemed inaccurate

By Michael Berg

The mayoral debate Wednesday night took a strange twist, dragging 1st Ward Alderman Amy Polzin into the fray.

The debate, sponsored by the Student Association, was between incumbent DeKalb Mayor Greg Sparrow and 2nd Ward Alderman Michael Welsh.

The candidates were asked what they have done to benefit NIU. One of Sparrow’s responses was that his communication channels are open to NIU through his teaching in the finance department and relationship with the SA.

Welsh responded by saying Sparrow’s relationship with the university was not conducive to good communication and provided an example.

“The last time he (Sparrow) had to choose a candidate (to fill an empty city council seat), he provided a list of three people to the SA,” Welsh said. The empty seat was in the 1st Ward, typically a student-dominated ward. “The SA found none suitable and sent back a fourth name.”

Welsh said Sparrow responded to this by saying, in reference to the NIU students, “Who the hell do they think they are?” This is not the kind of relationship the mayor and the university should have, Welsh said.

Sparrow said the accusation was a lie. “Michael’s providing revisionist history,” Sparrow said. “He wasn’t involved. I worked with the SA and asked them if they had a problem with Polzin (the person Sparrow ultimately chose), and they said she’s fine, no problem.”

Sparrow said this was another case of Welsh using secondhand information as a basis for his accusations.

Welsh responded to this by saying he had read the quote in The Northern Star. “I question your recollection of what happened,” Welsh said to Sparrow.

Further investigation by the Star proved Welsh was inaccurate.

The search for a new 1st Ward alderman began in July of 1990 when Christine Hoagland resigned. Originally, 12 people applied to fill the post.

In the Wednesday, Oct. 10, 1991 issue of the Star, it was reported that six of those applicants were chosen for further consideration. Among those six names were Amy Polzin, as well as Kevin “K.O.” Johnson, who is now running for the 6th Ward alderman seat.

In the Tuesday, Oct. 16 issue of the Star, it was reported that “Sparrow said he encourages input from the SA and other student organizations.”

In the Wednesday, Oct. 17 issue of the ]Star, it was reported that the SA recommended four candidates for the seat, and Amy Polzin’s name was on the list.

In the Thursday, Oct. 18 issue of the Star, Sparrow was reported as saying “he was pleased with the SA’s cooperation and input, and will weigh all recommendations in his final choice.”

In the Tuesday, Oct. 23 issue of the Star, it was reported Polzin was chosen by Sparrow to fill the empty seat.

The quote alleged by Welsh to have been said by Sparrow to put down NIU students and the SA did not appear in any of the articles listed above. Also, Polzin was one of the SA’s choices. Welsh, however, claimed Polzin was not one of the original choices.

Polzin said she was angry over the whole episode. “What really kills me is after I was appointed by the mayor, Welsh came up to me and said I was his first choice.”

From other people at city hall, Polzin later learned this was not the case. “I wish the lies and deception would stop and he (Welsh) could get on with the issues, if he has any issues to discuss, instead of the negativism,” she said.