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Effort to Repeal Oswego Election Resolution Fails

Dec 16, 2014 10:16PM ● By Steven Jack
Oswego trustees hoping to repeal a July resolution that changed the village's election procedure failed in their efforts at Tuesday night's Village Board meeting. 

The vote failed with a 3-3 tie, and candidates Terry Michels and Diane Selmer will remain the only two candidates on the April ballot — at least for now. Trustees Pam Parr, Gail Johnson and Judy Sollinger voted to repeal the July resolution, while Michels, Tony Giles and Village President Brian LeClercq voted no. Trustee Scott Volpe was absent. 

Tuesday night's vote was the latest in the election controversy that erupted three weeks ago when Michels, a candidate for village president, and trustee candidate Selmer were the only two to file during the filing period for non-partisan elections that ended Nov. 24. 

Several other candidates who plan to run for village offices believed they had until Dec. 22 to file their petitions, as has been past village practice and is erroneously stated in the village’s candidate election packet and on its website. 

If the other candidates are not eventually allowed on the April 7 ballot, Michels and Selmer will be the only two names to appear for village president and three open village trustee seats.  

Michels has said he became aware of the earlier deadline two weeks after picking up his candidate petition packet from the Village Clerk’s office and while reading information contained within the packet from the Illinois State Board of Elections. Those documents state non-partisan election filing ended Nov. 24.

Oswego Trustee 'Smells a Rat' in Election Snafu

Giles, who has announced his candidacy for village president, said despite the fact that repealing July's resolution may have personally benefitted him, he voted no because he felt it wasn't right to change the village's election procedure "half way through the game."

"I don't think I would have been able to sleep at night," he said. "If that means I have to wait a few years to get another chance, I guess I'll have to live with that."

Giles may not have to wait, as the controversy is far from over. Johnson, who is also running for village president, said after Tuesday's meeting she still plans to file her election petitions with the Village Clerk's office by the Dec. 22 deadline originally announced by the village. 

Giles and trustee candidate Karin McCarthy-Lange, both have said they will file this week, as well. Village Clerk Tina Touchette, who has hired her own attorney, has been advised to accept and certify those petitions. 

Whether Michels and Selmer will remain on the ballot also remains to be seen. The village's Electoral Board, made up of LeClercq, Sollinger and Library Board Trustee Terry Tamblyn, will meet Dec. 22 to determine the validity of the petitions filed by Michels and Selmer. Those petitions face an objection from Joe West, another trustee candidate. 

The legal wrangling isn't likely to stop there either, as petitions filed by candidates during the December filing period also will probably face objection hearings.