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Article posted: 1/31/2013 5:04 PM

Moffat remains on Geneva Library ballot

By Susan Sarkauskas

Jay Moffat will stay on the Geneva Library ballot, library director Matt Teske confirmed Wednesday.

The decision was made after Teske and the library's trustees, through the library's attorney, sought advice from the Kane County Clerk's elections director about whether the offices of library trustee and park district commissioner are compatible; and if they were not, whether state law required the park and library districts to not certify him for their ballots.

Elections director Suzanne Fahnestock said the Kane County State's Attorney's Office advised her that the clerk's office does not have the legal authority to issue an advisory opinion on the matter.

Teske, who was copied on the correspondence, said via email the state's attorney's office also said rendering an opinion now would be "premature."

Teske had asked the library's law firm to find out if it was possible for Moffat to run for library board, since he is also running for Geneva park board. Illinois law prohibits people from holding two incompatible offices, but the Illinois attorney general has not issued an opinion specific to a situation where a person wants to serve on park and library boards at the same time. Offices are deemed incompatible if there is the potential for both agencies to be involved in an issue, such as a contract for programming or a land sale. The library's attorney mentioned the Free Libraries in Parks Act, a 1903 law that enabled free, independently run public libraries to be built in parks.

Moffat initially ran for school board, too, but withdrew after learning the attorney general considered serving simultaneously on a school and a park board to be incompatible.

Moffat said Thursday the library had not yet contacted him. When told of Teske's decision, Moffat said it was "good news," but that he had found the whole process "disconcerting." It was wasteful of library officials to pay a lawyer to ask the question, he said, when they could have gotten an opinion from the attorney general for free, as he had done in December. He also questioned why the matter wasn't raised earlier, in the time period that would have allowed him to withdraw from a race.

Teske could not be reached for additional comment Thursday.

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