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Only Oswego

Letter to the Editor: Trustee Candidate Not Responsible for Election Expenses

Jan 30, 2015 09:26AM ● By Steven Jack
I have read at least one letter to the editor and one statement by Terry Michels that suggested that my election objections  have caused the Village to spend thousands of dollars over the election issue.  

Nothing could be further from the truth.  

From the very beginning of the issue, I and my attorneys sought a resolution that would allow all candidates to be on the ballot.  The only reason that I filed the objections to Mr. Michels, and Ms. Selmer,  was that there was a very short time frame to file such an action and I believed in order to protect the rights of myself and others to run for office, it was necessary to file the objections.

At a Village Board meeting on December 2, 2014, my attorney David Silverman, stated that I was interested in all candidates being on the ballot.  Mr. Silverman warned the Village that a lot of money was going to be spent if the matter is not resolved.  Mr. Silverman again appeared before the Village Board on December 16 , 2014 and asked that the Non-Partisan Election Resolution be repealed.  

Mr. Silverman read from an opinion letter issued by an attorney retained 
by the Village to represent the Village Clerk that the Resolution was invalid . Mr. Silverman urged the Village Board to follow the suggestions of this special counsel to allow ballot access.  

Mr. Michels and Mr. Giles refused to follow this path. These matters can all be found in the Minutes of the Village Board meetings. When my attorney Jim Murphy reviewed documents related to the past elections he suggested to the Village Attorney Karl Ottosen that an attempt should be made to resolve the issue by putting all the candidates the ballot. Mr. Ottosen suggested that this could not be done.

My attorneys suggested numerous times to Mr. Michels’ attorney that a resolution be reached where everyone could be on the ballot.  All attempts to resolve the issue were rejected by Mr. Michels. 

On January 5, 2015, the Electoral Board questioned whether the parties would be interested in resolving the issue, Jim Murphy responded that all of the candidates that he represented (myself, Gail Johnson, Karin McCarthy-Lange, and Ryan Kauffman) would be interested in a resolution whereby all candidates were on the ballot.  In short, we always remained open to a compromise that could have avoided the expenses incurred by the Village and the candidates. 

Should anyone have any doubt of who caused the fight and who was not looking for a resolution one need only look to what occurred after the Electoral Board reached its conclusion. Terry Michels continued to seek the exclusion of both Gail Johnson and Tony Giles.  I, on the other hand, filed no appeal to remove Mr. Michels from the ballot.  

I had accomplished my goal in 
ensuring that everyone was on the ballot. In the process, I learned that Mr. Michels was unwilling to compromise.  It was Mr. Michels that caused the Village to expend substantial sums of money in order to give the Village only one option for Village President.  

Now that the Court 
has ordered the Village to have races, Mr. Michels wants no part but instead supports Mr. Giles who would not even be on the ballot if not for the actions of myself and my attorneys.

Joe West, candidate for Oswego Village Trustee