Petition challenge at center of New Lenox SD 122 election saga
BY SUSAN DEMAR LAFFERTY email@example.com January 17, 2013 5:39PM
Nick DiSandro, District 122 School Board President, leaves a press conference at the district headquarters in New Lenox, IL on Tuesday January 15, 2013. He said what School Board 122 member Maureen Broderick in photo at left, did was unfair, she should have recused herself from the electoral board after she was involved in filing an objection to fellow board member Kathy Miller's nomination petition and then voted to take Miller off the ballot. | Matt Marton~Sun-Times Media
Updated: February 19, 2013 1:52PM
With a change in the board majority at stake in the upcoming New Lenox School District election, questions have been raised about how one candidate got kicked off the ballot.
Board member Kathy Miller, who was running unopposed for a two-year term, will appeal Friday’s decision to take her name off the April 9 ballot after issues were raised about the filing of the objection to her nominating petitions.
In a news conference Tuesday, board President Nick DiSandro said Miller did not get a fair hearing with the district’s electoral board, which voted 2 to 1 to remove her name from the ballot.
The election board included DiSandro, board secretary Maureen Broderick and board member Sue Smith. The latter two voted to remove Miller.
Broderick should have recused herself from the board because she was “involved” in filing the objection against Miller, DiSandro said.
“No one should be judge, jury and executioner,” DiSandro said. He said he has contacted the Will County state’s attorney’s office and the state board of elections in the matter.
According to DiSandro and the district’s election official, Carolyn Zimba, Broderick reviewed the nominating petitions on Jan. 3, left and returned with objections against candidate Thomas Hottinger, which Broderick signed, and against Miller, signed by district resident Nicole Sanders. The objection against Hottinger later was withdrawn.
DiSandro said Broderick told him she had someone else sign Miller’s objection so she could judge the issue as a member of the electoral board. But Broderick said she didn’t even know she was on the electoral board.
“If they had a concern, I would have recused myself,” Broderick said Tuesday. She also said Miller is “(Supt. Mike) Sass’s puppet,” and that Miller has attacked her on the school board “every chance she gets.”
Although Sanders signed the objection against Miller’s petition, she did not look at it, according to Zimba, who said Broderick and Smith were the only ones who viewed the petitions after they were turned in.
Sass said Broderick took pictures of the petitions with her cell phone. Broderick said she has “no clue” how Sanders was able to view Miller’s petition.
“I’m not even going to address that,” she said. “The issue is that Kathy (Miller) did not fill out things the right way.”
During the electoral board hearing, DiSandro said the board’s attorney cited case law indicating that errors like Miller’s were “minor clerical errors” that were not made maliciously and did not warrant removing her from the ballot.
Miller needed 50 signatures and turned in 56, but eliminating the page that Sanders objected to left her with 44.
Miller said if her appeal is unsuccessful, she will run as a write-in candidate.
If no write-in candidate wins, the board would appoint a member.
Four other incumbents are seeking re-election: Pat Martino, Deborah Kedzior, Smith and William Pender. Newcomers are Hottinger, Phil Adair, Gregory Loock and Rhonda Starklauf.