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Normal Electoral Board to convene Friday to review objections to candidacy petitions

From left, Normal City Clerk Angie Huonker, Mayor and Electoral Board chair Chris Koos, and town attorney Brian Day at Monday's meeting.
Ryan Denham
From left, Normal City Clerk Angie Huonker, Mayor and Electoral Board chair Chris Koos, and town attorney Brian Day at an earlier board meeting.
Updated: December 7, 2022 at 11:22 AM CST
Editors' Note: This article has been updated to reflect a change of date for the hearing. A town spokesperson says the hearing has been moved from Monday to Friday, Dec. 9.

Two Normal residents have filed objections to three candidacy petitions for offices that do not currently exist, or have been appointed offices within the municipality — triggering formation of another electoral board review.

Patrick Dullard and Jeffrey Fritzen filed objections to petitions filed for town supervisor, town collector (neither of which currently exist) and town clerk, the latter of which is an appointed position. Dullard filed an objection to a petition effort to redistrict Normal earlier this year; Fritzen is a former decades-long member of Normal's town council. Both will be represented by semi-retired attorney Todd Greenburg.

The objections from Dullard and Fritzen to each of the contested candidacies are identical: Regarding the position of town collector, filed by Charles Sila, the objections note that Normal's municipal code does not require the position and "it is not mandatory under state law that municipalities have a Collector at all."

Similarly, both objections decry the notion of Normal requiring a town supervisor, filed by Robert Shoraga, saying it is "a function of a township, not an incorporated town government."

"The incorporated Town of Normal was never a civil township, and there is no need for that office, since that function is already carried out by Normal Township and other townships existing within the Normal city limits," the objections read. "A rule of statutory interpretation is that laws will not be interpreted in a manner which will lead to absurd results."

The objections to Amy Conklin's filing for town clerk say Normal "has not provided for the Town Clerk to be an elected office in its Municipal Code and until it does so, there is no vacancy to fill by election."

Normal Mayor Chris Koos said an electoral board will convene Friday at 11 a.m. to hear the objections. When the Normal electoral board convened earlier this year, its members were Koos, town council member and mayor pro tem Kevin McCarthy and town clerk Angie Huonker; Koos said because the clerk's position is "right in the middle" of the current matter, council member Scott Preston will take her place on Monday.

During the previous electoral board meeting regarding the redistricting petitions, lawyer and former GOP state attorney general candidate David Shestokas represented petition supporters; Shestokas did not respond to an email from WGLT asking if he was serving as legal counsel in this matter as well.

Much of what is currently playing out in the town is a result of arguments by Shestokas and Dullard's objection regarding exactly what kind of municipality Normal is. In filing the objection to the petitions asking for a referendum to redistrict Normal, Dullard said that kind of referendum question can, according to state law, only be asked of villages and not municipalities.

That effort stalled after McLean County Associate Judge Scott Kording ruled accordingly, saying that Normal is an incorporated town per its 1867 charter — the only other such municipality in Illinois aside from the Town of Cicero, near Chicago.

In a previous interview with WGLT, Shoraga, the candidate for town supervisor, said friends in politics had convinced him to run as a result of that ruling, claiming Normal would not be in compliance with state law unless its municipal form of government matches that of Cicero. Dullard and Fritzen's objections both say that Normal does not compare to Cicero, since in Cicero’s case, an "incorporated town took over the duties of a civil township."

"The incorporated Town of Normal was never a civil township..." the objections read.

A Chicago-based legal firm retained by town officials continues to review the petitions and Koos said there was no update from them as of Tuesday afternoon.

Lyndsay Jones is a reporter at WGLT. She joined the station in 2021. You can reach her at lljone3@ilstu.edu.