Kendall County asks judge to dismiss lawsuit challenging county board’s new system for assigning term lengths

Todd Milliron of Yorkville, right, and his attorney Ed Mullen, center, appear in a Kendall County courtroom on March, 29, 2023. At left is Assistant State's Attorney Ryan Zaborowski.

YORKVILLE – The Kendall County State’s Attorney’s Office once again is asking a judge to dismiss a lawsuit challenging the new system by which the Kendall County Board assigns term lengths.

Plaintiff Todd Milliron of Yorkville contends that the staggered two- and four-year terms for County Board members that are assigned every 10 years after the census must be determined by lottery under state election law.

However, the board decided ahead of the Nov. 8, 2022, election to change the way the staggered terms of office are determined.

Under the new system, the top five vote-getters start with four-year terms of office while the next five begin with two-year terms on the board. The new board was seated using that system last December.

Milliron was an unsuccessful candidate for County Board in the last election and the Kendall County State’s Attorney’s Office argued that because he failed to win a seat, Milliron lacked legal standing to bring the lawsuit.

But in a hearing Feb. 8, Kendall County Associate Judge Joseph Voiland rejected that argument, ruling that Milliron’s status as a voter and resident of Kendall County was sufficient.

Now, the state’s attorney’s office is contending that the court does not have the authority to force the County Board to change the system.

In a hearing March 29, Voiland agreed to hear the state’s motion to dismiss, setting a May 2 date for arguments.

Milliron’s attorney, Ed Mullen of Chicago, said the state’s motion repeats some of the same arguments that were rejected by Voiland in February.

Representing the county was Assistant State’s Attorney Ryan Zaborowski, who, in keeping with office practice, declined to comment on the case.

Every 10 years, the entire County Board is up for election to allow for redistricting after the decennial census. Terms of office are staggered so that half the board seats are up for election every two years.

The county has in the past used a lottery system in which the county clerk draws numbered pingpong balls to determine the five board members who will start with four-year terms and who will be up for reelection in two years.

Milliron charges that the new arrangement violates state elections law, which he contends requires the assignment of term lengths to be left to chance. He was running for a board seat in District 1 under the independent Kendall County Party banner when he filed the lawsuit in Kendall County Circuit Court on Sept. 19, 2022.