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Oswego Trustees Force Election Battle into Court

Jan 09, 2015 08:17PM ● By Steven Jack

Oswego Village Hall Courtesy Flickr Creative Commons/Village of Oswego Tourism Bureau

Oswego Village Trustees voted Friday night for the village to enter into a lawsuit against the Village Clerk and Kendall County Clerk in an effort to solve the ongoing election ballot battle. 

According to Village Attorney Karl Ottosen, after he met earlier this week with Kendall County State’s Attorney Eric Weis and County Clerk Debbie Gillette all three agreed a suit will be the fastest way to resolve the controversy that erupted in November. Ottosen said the suit will force a judge to determine the type of election the village will carry out on April 7. 

Trustees Terry Michels, Tony Giles, Scott Volpe and Village President Brian LeClercq voted to move forward with the lawsuit while Trustees Judy Sollinger and Pam Parr voted against it. Saying she believed the vote was a conflict of interest for trustees running for office in April, Trustee and Village President candidate Gail Johnson refused to vote.

Parr, Sollinger and Johnson also all objected to the suit, saying yet more taxpayer money will be spent trying to resolve the issue. Johnson asked if there was another way for the impasse to be solved without spending more in legal fees. 

“Yes we are spending money. There’s no doubt that we will spend some more money, but I believe we need to see this through to fruition or it will be challenged every two years,” LeClercq said. 

RELATED: Board Allows All Candidates on Oswego Ballot

The legal wrangling over the April election began in November after a July resolution passed unanimously by village trustees changed the village's election process to non-partisan. Non-partisan elections require a November filing period and a possible February primary if enough candidates file. 

Village President candidate Michels and Trustee candidate Diane 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.

An end to the legal battle over who belongs on the ballot will have to come soon, as a primary election may be triggered by the existence of three write-in candidates who filed during the primary election write-in period that ended in late December. 

If a judge should rule the village conduct a non-partisan election in April, a primary election could take place Feb. 24.