Objection Overruled in JJC Trustee Race — Five Candidates Remain on Ballot

Members of the Joliet Junior College Board of Trustees voted last night to overrule an objection filed by trustee candidate Jeffrey Vickery to remove another candidate, Thelma Kirkland, from the April 5 consolidated JJC trustee election ballot.

Vickery had filed two objections Jan. 5 against Kirkland and Kathryn M. Freeman of New Lenox, stating inaccuracies in their filings. Freeman withdrew her petition Jan. 7. After review of the objection by college attorney Jim Harvey last week, the public hearing was held in the board room to determine a ruling.

Specifically, Vickery contended that Kirkland, of Joliet, should be removed from the ballot because she did not file a statement of economic interest along with her petition papers during the required filing period between Dec. 13 and Dec. 20.

State law requires candidates to file a statement of candidacy, nominating petition sheets totaling 50 or more signatures that must be notarized, and a receipt for filing a statement of economic interest with the Will County Clerk’s Office, specifically for the office of JJC trustee.

Kirkland ultimately did file the statement of economic interest, which was postmarked Dec. 21, a day after the filing period ended.

According to Harvey, the economic interest statement is required to ensure that candidates do not have conflicts of interest with the public office they are seeking.
Vickery’s attorney said that because the statement was late, she should be removed from the ballot.

Board Chair Robert Wunderlich and board members Dan O’Connell and Andy Mihelich comprised the college’s panel. Wunderlich and O’Connell voted to overrule the objection; Mihelich voted to uphold it. Both Kirkland and Vickery were not present at the public hearing.

Harvey added at the close of the meeting that Vickery can appeal the decision to the circuit court.

Originally, seven candidates filed to run during the weeklong filing period in December. Since then, Janet C. Silosky of Plainfield and Freeman have withdrawn from the race.

Five candidates are on the ballot for the April 5 JJC trustee consolidated election. They are: Jeff May, Minooka; Vickery, Joliet; Mike O’Connell, Elwood; Kirkland, Joliet; and Brad M. Baber, Joliet. Candidates are listed here based on how their names will appear on the ballot.

This year, two terms are up for election, that of current trustees Jeff May and Mike O’Connell. O’Connell was appointed to fill the vacancy when former Trustee Dick Dystrup passed away in August 2009.

JJC is directly governed by a seven-member Board of Trustees, all of whom are elected from within the district for six-year terms. A student representative, elected annually by the student body, is a non-voting member of the board.

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