JOHNSBURG – Johnsburg voters won’t decide whether their village clerk should be elected.
The Johnsburg Village Board voted, 4-3, at a special meeting Sunday morning against putting the question on the April 9 ballot. The village president, Ed Hettermann, broke a tie vote.
Much of the discussion centered on the legality of placing the question on the ballot, said Trustee Ron Zanko, who voted for the ordinance.
When Johnsburg resident and village president candidate Maggie Haney first raised the issue at the Jan. 8 board meeting, Village Attorney Michael Smoron said he didn’t think the board had the authority to put the measure on the ballot by itself. He said residents could petition it on to the ballot, and, with research, has maintained that position since.
But Haney has been doing research of her own.
She points to the Illinois Constitution, which lays out the powers of municipalities and in particular says that municipalities can by referendum decide the manner of selection and term length of its officers.
It also states that referendums can be placed on the ballot two ways, voter-initiated petitions or a resolution adopted by the local governing board.
Haney is the president of Haney Construction, which primarily works in remodeling. She is studying to become a registered medical assistant.
Smoron provided case law to the board showing that when a discrepancy exists between Illinois Municipal Code and the state Constitution, the court has gone with the code, according to a news release from the village.
Hettermann, the village president, was joined by Trustees John Huemann, Kevin McEvoy and Mary Lou Hutchinson in voting down the measure.
Hettermann said that because the clerk’s position couldn’t be voted on until 2017, there will be plenty of other opportunities to get the question on the ballot.
Unless something changes – Haney has vowed to bring up the issue again if she wins her bid for village president – the duties of village clerk will continue to be managed by Village Administrator Claudett Peters.
Peters takes minutes at meetings, with assistance from other employees, signs paperwork and has election duties.