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Teske: Library Is Simply Seeking Clarification Regarding Moffat's Candidacy

Geneva's Library District director asks Kane County election officials whether the district should certify a candidate who is running for seats on both the Geneva Park Board and Geneva Library Board.

  • The following is a letter to the editor from Geneva Public Library District Director Matt Teske.

 

In response to Mr. Moffat’s recent statements, I felt that I needed to explain the rationale for the Library’s actions.

In the event that Mr. Moffat is elected to both governmental bodies, I felt it best to know the possible outcomes sooner rather than later. No one wants the Library to be placed in a position where hasty and perhaps incorrect decisions are made.

I was already aware of the question being raised in regard to Mr. Moffat’s candidacy for the Park Board and School Board and was concerned that the same question might be asked relative to the Park and Library Districts. Therefore, I contacted our attorney, who researched the situation and felt it was in the District’s best interest to obtain the opinion of the Director of Elections at Kane County regarding a potential conflict. In order to be fully transparent, we
sent Mr. Moffat a copy of our inquiry. I have attached the letter that went both to the Director of Elections at Kane County and to Mr. Moffat.

The Library is simply seeking clarification as to the law. Mr. Moffat has accused us of wanting to “remove him from the ballot”. That is certainly not our intention. It is a matter of getting an informed opinion that is in everyone’s best interest. Asking the question of the Director of Elections was the right decision to make in this situation, as was asking for Mr. Moffat’s input.

Matt Teske
Director, Geneva Public Library District

Terry Flanagan January 28, 2013 at 03:24 PM
Sooner would have been best served by resolving this issue within the 5 business day window following the petition filing deadline. At that point Mr. Moffat would have had the choice of withdrawing from one of the races. Instead he will now be removed from the ballot for both races if the offices are determined to be incompatible. He will then have to decide whether he wishes to file as a write-in canddate for one of the offices, which is always an uphill battle. In the past few months we have had the city council vote to make the city liquor ordinance more restrictive than the state, barring a potential candidate from running for office, had the township successfully challenge and remove a candidate from the ballot, and now the library actions may bar yet another candidate. There seems to be a bad pattern developing here.
John R January 30, 2013 at 09:12 PM
Terry I agree with your post. I find it all very frustrating and disheartening to follow. I was pretty upset about what the Township trustee's did so when to thier January meeting. I actually missed the meeting, because I missed my regular train out of the city, so ended up being about twenty five minutes late. They had just adjourned but allowed me to make a comment. Yea that's right there meetings are about thirty minutes. Anyways.....NOBODY else bothered to attend and speak up. So guess we are getting exactly what we desearve. Excluding the school board I think there are only two contested races in the April elections. The mayors race and Zack/Bruno. That's it.....No wonder only about 4,000 people or so bother to vote in local elections. Jay actually should have known better and should have had all his ducks in a row. Anyone running for anything in Geneva better have an attorney and about $3000 for a campaign and legal fee's. I think they are afraid that he will spike the new library plans. I also think that Jay's actions in respect to the school board have really earned the ire of our community. He should have expected and anticipated a big push back regardless of the board he was running for. When he filed for three he should have been ready. He's been ripping the school board for years and should have know better and been ready. His bad but still it's all still wrong. Rice
Mike Longo January 31, 2013 at 06:52 PM
Mr. Teske is just trying to avoid any problems in case there is challenge later. Same question was asked about the School and Park District conflict of interest. Relax!
Terry Flanagan January 31, 2013 at 08:23 PM
John, You hit on one of the other problems this whole situation exposes - the necessity for involving an attorney when campaigning for local office. Given that most of the local elected officials receive no salary, are expected to devote a great deal of time and effort to serving on these boards, and are subject to a lot of stress and the wrath of the public, expecting them to consult and shell out fees for an attorney just adds insult to injury. How can we expect good people to run for local office when there are so many impediments to doing so? We've turned the electoral process into such a legal minefield that it's no wonder more people don't run and the voters have been cynicized (is that a word) by the whole process.
Terry Flanagan January 31, 2013 at 09:44 PM
Mike, Why do these matters always require a legal opinion instead of a voter decision? The law is still not very clear about what constitutes incompatibility of office. Court decisions have been based upon potential agreements and contracts between government agencies in which there may be a conflict of interest between the agencies. The implications are that each government agency exists for its own purposes, which may or may not be in the public interest for any given situation, and that the elected official is expected to side with the interests of the agency as opposed to the interests of other agencies, regardless of what is in the best interest of the public. It's the kind of thinking that encourages bureaucracy and misplaced allegiance to institutions rather than the public good. The Founders felt that it was best to leave choice in the hands of the people. These kinds of actions have limited those choices intended or not.

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