Island Lake mayor, clerk quit election boards, cite perceived conflict of interest
Island Lake Village Clerk Connie Mascillino and Mayor Debbie Herrmann recused themselves from a pair of local election boards Thursday, citing a perceived conflict of interest.
The boards' have been asked to decide if two political candidates -- mayoral hopeful Charles Amrich and trustee candidate Tony Sciarrone -- should be removed from the April 9 ballot because of possible electoral-law violations.
Amrich and Sciarrone are part of a political slate running against Herrmann, Mascillino and three of their political allies.
Mascillino was serving on both election boards. Herrmann was leading the one hearing Sciarrone's case.
Mascillino has been replaced on both boards by Trustee Thea Morris, who is not running in April.
Herrmann was replaced by Trustee Shannon Fox, who already was serving on the Amrich hearing board.
Like Morris, Fox isn't running in April.
The third member of both election boards is Trustee Laurie Rabattini, who is not seeking re-election in the spring.
Both Herrmann and Mascillino read prepared statements at Thursday's election board hearings.
They referred to motions from the attorney representing Amrich and Sciarrone, David McArdle, who has said the women could be called as witnesses in the cases.
Herrmann found that particularly odious.
"I believe the motion was filed for the sole purpose of disqualifying members of the electoral board who the candidate finds objectionable for political reasons," Herrmann said in her statement.
Amrich and Sciarrone did not learn their political fates during Thursday's hearings at village hall. Attorneys representing them and the men objecting to their candidacies debated preliminary legal points, and evidence in the cases was not heard.
The hearings have been continued until 8:30 p.m. Feb. 4. That's after the Jan. 31 deadline for filing candidate lists to the Lake County and McHenry County clerk offices.
Fox said she's been assured by the village's attorney that the boards have enough time to decide the cases and finalize the candidate lists.
Lake County Clerk Willard Helander isn't happy about the deadline potentially passing without the names of Island Lake's candidates.
"The electoral board waiting for this long to have a hearing on the motions and to set a hearing on the core issue ... is a serious impediment to the right of the candidate to seek judicial review if removed from the ballot," Helander said in an email. "By any stretch of the imagination, it is difficult to say the hearing board has attempted to work in a timely manner."
If either candidate is knocked off the ballot, the deadline to file paperwork for write-in candidacies with the county clerk is Feb. 7, Helander said.
Local residents Louis Sharp and Dan Field are seeking to remove Amrich and Sciarrone from the ballot. In their objections, Sharp and Field claimed the candidates were ineligible to run because of financial debts to the village.
Both Sharp and Field have financial ties to village hall. Sharp, a former trustee, runs a towing company called upon by police when needed. Field co-owns a company that does computer work for the village.
Amrich and Sciarrone campaign with clerk candidate Teresa Ponio and trustee hopefuls Mark Beeson and Keith Johns as the "For the People" slate.
Herrmann leads the "United for Progress" slate. She's joined by Mascillino and first-time trustee hopefuls Josh Rohde, Ken Nitz and Ed McGinty.