The Worth Township Electoral Board tossed an objection to remove two fellow board members and slate mates from April 9th ballot.
Concurrent hearings were held Monday morning to determine whether Worth Town Assessor John Toscas and Town Trustee Jack Lind were in violation of state election codes prohibiting both from running for two offices simultaneously.
Toscas is running for mayor of Crestwood and seeking reelection as assessor for Worth Township. He is also an elected trustee on the Crestwood Village Board.
Lind is seeking reelection as a trustee on the township board while currently holding office as an elected trustee in Chicago Ridge.
An objection filed by an Oak Lawn resident said the offices are incompatible because both communities are within the same township and could present a potential conflict of interest. The objection hinged upon an opinion on a similar case made by then-Illinois Attorney General Roland Burris in 1993.
The 2013 Illinois State Board of Elections guidelines require candidates to withdraw from all but one office within five business days of the deadline to file nominating petitions if the offices are incompatible.
Candidates who fail to do so are barred from running in both elections.
Lind’s attorney Patrick Bond said the objection was irrelevant because Lind is only running for one office in the April consolidated election.
Bond further argued that it “was beyond the scope of the electoral board" to decide if Lind's elected offices were in conflict.
“If that is an issue that someone wishes to raise than the appropriate time would be once Mr. Lind wins election to township office and not at an electoral board hearing,” Bond said.
The electoral board also threw out the objection filed against Toscas, even though he is running for two offices in the April election. Bond argued that the town assessor provides help and information to residents—not assess property values within the township.
The Worth Township Board’s legal counsel Burt Odelson concurred that the electoral board did not have the authority to decide if Toscas is violating the eletion code becuase the two offices he is running for are in the same township.
After the hearings, which lasted a combined 30 minutes, Lind said he was relieved that his name was still on the ballot.
“I love my work with the youth in the township and I don’t know why this came about,” Lind said. “My main function with the township is to work with the youth commission. This political move is sad because we are not basically politicians. We provide a good function.”
Toscas also decried the lawsuit filed against his dual candidacy as a “frivolous” attempt to get him tossed off the ballot by the opposing Worth Township Community First slate.
“I would never attempt to run for an office which already had two legal opinions that said the particular case they’re talking about doesn’t apply to me,” Toscas said. “Obviously the people who filed knew that before they filed it and did it anyway. It’s just a way to get [Lind] and I to spend money on this kind of hearing.”
Jim Nally, representing the objector, said he would wait for Monday’s written response before deciding whether to file an appeal.
“I don’t think there is any issue about compatibility. [The town assessor] still has to certify and verify parcels in the township to the county assessor,” Nally said. “[Town assessors] do have input. It’s not like all they do is file appeals.”
Also present for the hearing was Worth Township Democratic Committeeman John O’Sullivan of Oak Lawn, who's backing the opposition slate.
O’Sullivan said Monday’s results were to be expected.
"I think it’s just appalling that at this time with the economy like it is that people think they can hold multiple public offices within the same township,” O’Sullivan said. “I think voters are completely disgusted.”