CRYSTAL LAKE – A challenger to Mayor Aaron Shepley will not be on the ballot this spring.
The Municipal Officers Electoral Board voted unanimously Wednesday to disqualify Sascha Chadwick’s nominating petitions as well as Crystal Lake City Council candidate Jeremy Krick’s, leaving only incumbents on the ballot.
Chadwick doesn’t plan on throwing in the towel, however.
Chadwick, a business owner, is considering an appeal or a write-in campaign. This is the accountant and property manager’s first go at elected office, although he served on his homeowners association board.
“Don’t write me off; write me in,” he said. “We’re not giving up.”
Shepley, who has been Crystal Lake’s mayor since 1999, filed the objection to Chadwick’s papers, arguing they were not consecutively numbered and neatly bound as required by Illinois election law.
“My opponent’s inability to comprehend or follow very simple – but important – rules or to seek legal guidance before filing his petitions confirms without a doubt that he is not qualified to serve as mayor,” Shepley said in a text message. “This is my sixth election process, and I have followed the rules each and every time. There is nothing unfair about expecting him to do the same.”
Krick’s nominating petitions also were objected to for this reason by the three council members up for election this spring: Cathy Ferguson, Brett Hopkins and Ellen Brady Mueller.
Their objection also said that two of the signators on his petition did not live within the corporate limits of Crystal Lake and could not be counted. Eliminating those two signatures would bring Krick’s count down to 14, less than the 15 required by law.
The number of required signatures is calculated by taking 1 percent of the number of ballots cast for mayor in the last election, which was 1,449.
The electoral board is made up of three members of either the City Council, the mayor or the city clerk.
For Shepley’s objection, the case was heard and voted on by City Clerk Nick Kachiroubas and council members Brett Hopkins and Ralph Dawson. The objection filed on Krick’s papers was heard by Kachiroubas, Dawson and Shepley.
Hopkins’ seat on the board was one of the issues Chadwick had with the process, he said, saying that because Hopkins had similar issues cited in the objection he helped file, he shouldn’t have been part of the decision making.
“Whether or not he was actually swayed by that, appearance is a huge thing,” Chadwick said.
The make-up of municipal officers electoral boards is determined by state statute, which requires that the board be composed of the mayor, the city clerk and by the council member who has served the most number of years. When one of these people is also the candidate, their spot is to be filled by the council member with the second most years on the council.
Chadwick also criticized how the attorney had a recommendation ready to go before the hearing, which lasted about two hours, started.
Nominating petitions were due Nov. 22, a month before most other offices up in McHenry County, because a Feb. 24 primary would have been triggered if more than four candidates filed for the position of mayor or more than eight candidates for the three City Council spots.
A primary will not be necessary in this election, so the Crystal Lake municipal election will take place April 7 along with other municipalities, school districts and park districts.