Charles Amrich of the northwest Island Lake community of over 8,000 who served politically from 1985 to 2005 may be voted off of the 2013 ballot after a vote today by an electoral board of three members.
Mayor Debbie Hermann is the only other candidate running for mayor. In an interview with TribLocal, a variation of the Chicago Tribune, Mayor Hermann was quoted as accusing Amrich of having an outstanding garbage bill “for a long period of time” at the time he signed his “statement of candidacy”
The garbage collection bill is reportedly in the amount of $174.
“This act, in which he declared that he was eligible to serve as mayor at a time he owed money to the town, was in violation of candidacy rules”, Herrmann said in a statement to the Chicago Tribune.
"You cannot be in arrears on any municipal bill and sign a notarized candidacy eligibility document to run for office." she said.
Amrich said he did pay his garbage collection bill on Dec. 26, two hours prior to filing his official election paperwork.
"There is case law that says as a long debt is paid by time you file nomination papers, then you are alright," Amrich said. "It is ridiculous what we have gone through the last month to get this hearing and how they drag their feet. Let the court decide."
According to TribLocal. “While some officials said paying the bill just before filing his paperwork was unacceptable, Amrich, his supporters and one member of the election board said he acted properly.”
In the 2-1 vote, Village Trustee Laurie Rabattini, a member of the 3 person electoral hearing board is the only member who voted to keep Amrich on the ballot.
"I listened to case law and the evidence presented and voted with the law," Rabattini said. "He had paid his debt before he filed his papers and there were four different case laws presented to us showing us that he was acting properly."
She said the law states that there not be debt owed when a candidate files his or her papers, nor at the time of signing an oath of candidacy.
The bill included a string of $42 monthly bills and late fees, a city official said.
Amrich's campaign manager Wayne Schnell has alerted the media that a case will be heard in the Lake County courthouse on Tuesday, Feb. 19, at 10:30 a.m. Schnell said “The garbage bill was paid at 8 a.m., two hours before Amrich officially filed nomination papers on Dec. 26, which is within the law. The electoral board is mistakenly using the date Amrich signed the statement of candidacy, Dec. 18, as the date the bill should have been paid by.”
Schnell said Amrich's attorneys will raise issues at the Lake County hearing including questions about the way the two panel members who voted against Amrich -- Shannon Fox and Thea Morris -- were chosen to sit on Monday's electoral hearing board.
Amrich claims that he wants to return to the mayoral post to get village spending under control.
"It's about time you held their feet to the fire," he said. "It's a sad day when we have a bunch of self-serving people sitting on the village board." Amrich told TribLocal
Listen to an archived radio broadcast on this topic by clicking here: Mayoral Candidate May Be Booted Off Ballot Over A $174 Garbage Bill