Why an East Dundee trustee is refusing to leave board after his term expired
Scott Andresen, an East Dundee village trustee whose term expired last week, says he is staying on the board until the next election, based on a legal opinion from the village counsel.
Andresen and two other incumbents chose not to run for reelection April 6. Two newcomers -- Sarah Brittin and Tricia Saviano -- ran for three open trustee seats, and newly elected Village President Jeff Lynam vacated a fourth board seat after defeating incumbent Lael Miller.
A one-term trustee, Andresen now says village code and the village attorney's research of applicable case law allow him to stay on until his replacement is elected in 2023 or the village board vacates his seat. That puts him at odds with Lynam, who prefers the latter option.
"It's a very rare circumstance," Andresen said. "Very seldom, if ever, do you actually have more seats available than candidates for a position like this."
At a special meeting Monday, Lynam said he will work with the village attorney to have Andresen's seat declared vacant in time for next week's board meeting.
Lynam, a four-term trustee, sees Andresen's move as an attempt to end-run elections.
"(He is) undermining the entire process and (he is) making a mockery of the board ... and it's not something I'm going to stand for," Lynam said in a telephone interview Tuesday.
"What I am most concerned about is the message that it sends to residents and to people outside of East Dundee. I don't want to give the impression that there is a circus in East Dundee. It's more of a distraction and an embarrassment than anything else."
Lynam said he's ready to begin the process of appointing a successor to fill his own and Andresen's trustee seats, but the rest of the board supports Andresen's position.
"It's not like we don't have people willing to take that spot," Lynam said. "We have everything that we need in order to seat this board properly and his refusal to leave definitely is improper."
Lynam argues the legal precedent researched by Village Attorney Greg Smith is vague and open to interpretation. The case cited was of a township supervisor who stayed on in that post after his term expired because no one else ran for the seat.
"They had to go all the way back to 1930 to come up with something that was even remotely similar," Lynam said. "Everybody on the board is buying this."
Smith could not be reached for comment Tuesday.
Lynam plans to challenge Andresen's legal claim possibly by filing a petition with Kane County election authorities seeking a review of the matter.
"This could have ramifications for other municipalities," he said.
Andresen said Tuesday he is reluctant to leave the village in a state of "upheaval" with a new village president and two new inexperienced trustees. If the board decides to vacate his seat, he's ready to leave, he said.