ISLAND LAKE – Electoral uncertainty reigns in Island Lake as the political saga involving the race for village board president drags on, with weeks left before the April 9 election.
Earlier this week, a Lake County Circuit Court judge reversed a ruling from the Island Lake electoral board that knocked village president candidate Charles Amrich off the ballot.
Amrich served as village president from 1985 to 2005 and is seeking the office again in the upcoming election. In Tuesday’s judicial review, Judge Christopher Starck declared Amrich eligible to run. Furthermore, the McHenry County and Lake County Clerk offices were ordered to allow his name on the ballot.
But an appeal to keep Amrich out of the race already is under way.
“We hope to get it filed by Friday, but certainly by Monday,” said Anish Parikh, an attorney who represents Daniel Field and Louis Sharp, two residents who initiated the electoral board hearing process in January.
The legal feud began when Field and Sharp filed objections against Amrich’s candidacy. In their filing, Field and Sharp said Amrich was ineligible to run for office because of an overdue $174 garbage bill. Amrich paid the bill after he signed his statement of candidacy form, but before he filed his nominating papers in December.
Amrich’s attorney argued that as long as the bill was paid by the time nominating papers were filed, Amrich met the requirements to be qualified.
Electoral board Chairwoman Shannon Fox and board member Thea Morris voted to disqualify Amrich. Board member Laura Rabattini cast the lone vote in support of Amrich. All three board members also are village trustees.
Field and Sharp’s appeal will seek an “expedited cycle,” even though the timeframe technically allows 30 days, Parikh said.
“We want to act diligently and request the appellate court to enter an expedited briefing schedule,” he said. “The purpose is to get a decision prior to the [April 9] election.”
Island Lake, a town of 8,000 residents, straddles McHenry and Lake counties.
For now, both county clerk offices are expected to print Amrich’s name on the ballots in accordance with Tuesday’s circuit court order.
“Normally these things are all firmed up at this time,” McHenry County Clerk Katherine Schultz said. “Plus we had just finished [wrapping up] the February election.”
“My problem is solved at the moment,” Lake County Clerk Willard Helander said.
Amrich leads the “For The People” slate, which includes clerk candidate Teresa Ponio and trustee candidates Mark Beeson, Anthoney Sciarrone and Keith Johns. The competing slate, “United for Progress,” is led by incumbent Debbie Herrmann, who is seeking re-election as village president. Incumbent Connie Mascillino, who is seeking re-election as village clerk, and trustee candidates Josh Rohde, Ken Nitz and Ed McGinty round out the slate.