‘I see it as a community service’

May 7, 2019

SYCAMORE – It was a family affair Monday night at the Sycamore City Council meeting as newcomer Josh Huseman was sworn in as 1st Ward alderman, surrounded by his wife and three children.

Huseman, 37, director of wealth management at First National Bank, introduced his wife, Shelly, 37, and kids Charlotte, 8, a second-grader at North Grove Elementary School, Caleb, 6, in kindergarten at North Grove, and Caroline, just 7 weeks old.

He won the seat unopposed when former 1st Ward Alderman David Stouffer did not run for reelection because he moved out of the state. Huseman was joined in the swearing-in ceremony by reelected aldermen Chuck Stowe, 2nd Ward, Nancy Copple, 3rd Ward, and Rick “Spider” Kramer, 4th Ward.

“I see it as a community service,” Huseman said after the meeting, on why he decided to run for office. “Where I grew up in Dwight, my dad was involved as a volunteer fireman. So to me, the goal is just to take what’s happening at the council level, get to know it, make sure my neighbors understand it and be a conduit between the two of them.”

Mayor Curt Land said Huseman brings similar attributes to the table as his predecessor.

“Josh is going to be awesome,” Lang said after the meeting. “He’s young, he’s full of life, he’s educated, he’s got great ideas. He’ll just round us out perfectly, so we’re really excited about it.”

Huseman said he and Shelly met while attending Northern Illinois University in 2000, and are proud to call Sycamore their home. He’s worked at the bank for 12 years. Huseman got to know fellow 1st Ward Alderman Alan Bauer before running for office.

“We live out in the northern part of Ward 1, and with Alan being in the southern part, it made for nice continuity,” he said. “We plan to be here for a very long time. Our kids are getting involved in school, and our daughter came for a City Council visit with the second-graders and started asking questions about it. One thing lead to another and we’re looking forward to it.”

Getting to work

Huseman’s first meeting made for a smooth transition, as all voting items were passed unanimously and without comment by the council.

The council voted on a number of governmental restructuring, as recommended by Mayor Lang, who said it was in an effort to better facilitate community involvement in city committees.

“As we’ve kept these committees and commissions full, it’s nice to have some meat on the bone when people say they’ll help and do things,” Lang said. “So I think this gives us more sustenance when we ask people to serve.”

Per the mayor’s suggestions and an 8-0 vote by council, the Board of Appeals and the Planning Commission will be consolidated to form the Planning and Zoning Commission. The Board of Appeals meets about once a year, according to Monday’s meeting agenda, because most items up for discussion are often also considered by the commission.

The Board of Local Improvements was deleted from the city code because it has not been used since 1988 and was mostly used before Sycamore evolved into a council-manager form of government, the agenda shows. If the need were to arise for a committee of the sort, the council could form an ad-hoc board.

The Economic Development Committee will change from a 10-resident body to include a mix of Sycamore residents and business representatives, along with a representative from the City Council, Sycamore Chamber of Commerce and DeKalb County Economic Development Corporation. The mayor, city manager and city attorney will serve as ex-officio members.