Cunningham’s D135 Election Petitions Challenged
The Orland School District 135 incumbent’s petitions to run for re-election were objected by another candidate, due to him also running for Moraine Valley’s board. The hearing will take place Tuesday.
Michael Carroll, an Orland Park attorney seeking one of the four open seats on Orland School District 135’s board in April, has filed a challenge to D135 board member Tom Cunningham’s petitions to run for re-election.
Carroll claims in his Jan. 4 filing that with Cunningham also filing to run for Moraine Valley Community College’s Board of Trustees, his petition to run for D135 again is invalid because the two boards are incompatible.
Carroll cites in his objection sections of the Illinois Election Code that state a candidate must withdraw from “all but one of such offices” if “2 or more offices which are incompatible so that the same person could not serve in more than one…”
He also cites a portion of the Public Community College Act that refers to what is required of a member of a “common school board” who is elected to a community college board.
In the event a person who is a member of a common school board is elected or appointed to a board of trustees of a community college district, that person shall be permitted to serve the remainder of his or her term of office as a member of the common school board. Upon the expiration of the common school board term, that person shall not be eligible for election or appointment to a common school board during the term of office with the community college district board of trustees.
Carroll said since the Public Community College Act makes states just one situation when serving on both a common school board and a community college board is allowed – when a person is elected or appointed while in the middle of a term on a common school board – any other situations where a person would serve on both are not allowed. In other words, Carroll said the code doesn’t allow for a person to start new terms at both a community college and a common school district at the same time.
“In my reading of the election code and law books, the two offices are incompatible,” Carroll said. “I’m not an election lawyer, but as a lawyer, my reading of the statutes says if you file for more than one race, and the offices are incompatible, you must withdraw. If a person files to run in several different elections, their loyalty may be divided. The focus should be on one race.”
Cunningham said he will continue to run for both boards leading up to the objection hearing 6 p.m. Tuesday at the D135 administration building, and said that decisions in elections should be left to the voters.
“One board has nothing to do with the other,” Cunningham said. “This is nothing more than a political move. I graduated from Moraine, and I love education. That’s what this is all about. I ran eight years ago for District 135 because I wanted to make sure it was running well, and now I’d like to do the same with Moraine.”
D135 board president John Carmody, as well as board secretary Tina Zekich and board member Lynne Donegan, will serve as the electoral board for the district, and preside over Tuesday’s hearing.
Carroll’s objection is the only one filed in the D135 race. No objections have been filed in races for Orland Park Village Board, Orland Park Library Board and the Orland Fire Protection District Board of Trustees, as well as boards of education for Community Consolidated School District 146 and Consolidated High School District 230.
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