The field of candidates running for the Des Plaines 6th Ward alderman seat has been narrowed down to two, after the city's electoral board dismissed one hopeful from the April 5 ballot while allowing another to remain.
The three-member electoral board heard objections Thursday afternoon to the candidacies of Richard Hissong and Mario Palacios. Hissong was removed from the ballot for not having enough valid signatures of registered voters, while Palacios will be certified, City Clerk Gloria Ludwig said.
Last week the electoral board removed another candidate for the 6th Ward over discrepancies in his nominating papers. Candidate Cliff Matthews was dismissed over apparent errors in his petition, including unnumbered pages, improper binding and questionable signatures.
Hissong, 82, said he was thrown off the ballot for being one signature shy of the required 41 signatures. He added, the lone objectionable signature on his petition was that of a longtime city resident whom he has known for 30 years.
"She left out the middle initial that's all, so it was ruled an invalid signature," Hissong said. "She is a valid voter. She just signed it wrong and I didn't catch it. I should have gotten more signatures but it was getting colder by the day."
Hissong added, he has no intention of appealing the electoral board's decision, which he would have to do at the circuit court level.
In April, Palacios will be challenging incumbent Alderman Mark Walsten, who had no objectors.
Palacios could not be reached Thursday.
A hearing this week on allegations that Palacios impersonated a government official was continued until March.
According to Des Plaines police, shortly after filing his nominating petitions for the April election in December, Palacios went to the Skokie courthouse to file an ethics statement with Cook County.
After setting off courthouse metal detectors, Palacios presented a sheriff's deputy with a Des Plaines fire and police commissioner badge, police said.
Palacios served on the commission until April, but resigned at the request of Des Plaines Police Chief Jim Prandini and Mayor Marty Moylan after they said he handed out business cards around town identifying himself as commissioner and using the position to gain favors from city businesses.
According to the police report, Palacios, 44, later admitted to the sheriff's deputy that he currently is not a fire and police commissioner and had been given the badge as a souvenir from his wife. The deputy then advised Palacios that it is illegal to represent himself as a government official when he wasn't one, the report states.
Palacios is charged with false personation of a government official, a misdemeanor that could carry a penalty of less than a year in jail if convicted.
Palacios is set to appear for a hearing 10:30 a.m. March 21 at the Skokie courthouse.