WOODSTOCK – Following a court challenge, a judge ruled Monday that two candidates for seats on the McHenry County College Board can remain on the April 9 ballot.
Chris Jenner and Erik Sivertsen are among a field of nine hopefuls for the college board, but issues arose because they also both were running for their local elementary school boards.
Last week, McHenry County Clerk Katherine Schultz filed court documents questioning "compatibility" in holding both offices.
But Judge Thomas A. Meyer said there was nothing in the statute that made them inherently incompatible.
"I'm not getting from the language that there is an absolute bar from preventing someone from running for both offices," he said.
State law says that if a school board member is elected or appointed to a community college board, he or she can serve the remainder of the term, but once that school board term expires, cannot hold both offices.
Sivertsen is seeking a seat on the McHenry District 15 board. He said he already had considered compatibility issues with simultaneously running for the college board but found none.
"During the November election, there were compatibility of office issues, so I looked into it then and decided it wasn't an issue between the two," he said.
Jenner, who had been running for the Cary District 26 board, which he already sits on, questioned why the issue came up now, just a few weeks before the election.
Jenner said he was pleased that the focus can now be on the "attempt by the current board of McHenry County College to rob taxpayers of their right to vote before being saddled with $45 million in property-tax debt."
Jenner said he withdrew March 11 from the District 26 race on advice from the McHenry County State's Attorney's Office.
"He withdrew because the state's attorney's office told him if he withdrew from the school board election race, he wasn't going to have a problem," said Jenner's attorney, Robert Wagner. "That's why he did it. He would have preferred to continue to run for that office as well."
Schultz, the county clerk, said she would definitely put both men's names on the college ballot and Sivertsen's on the District 15 ballot. However, she said an issue still remained unresolved for Jenner and the District 26 ballot because he did not withdraw by the deadline.