A challenger to incumbent Shiloh Mayor James Vernier's re-election has been thrown off the ballot by a unanimous vote of a special village committee.
The committee's main objections were that one of the 30 signatures presented belonged to an unregistered voter and two others didn't match signatures on file with St. Clair County voter registration.
Also, presumptive candidate Jerry E. Rich failed to completely fill out one form. invalidating an additional 13 signatures. Shiloh requires 29.25 signatures from registered Shiloh voters for a mayoral candidate to qualify for the general election to be held April 9. Vernier presented 40 signatures.
With his opening statement, Rich apologized to the committee for the necessity of holding the meeting brought by Shiloh Trustee Dan Weidenbenner's challenge to Rich's candidate's petition. Later in the meeting Rich said he was dissatisfied with the tedious nature of the technicalities of Weidenbenner's objections.
Members of the committee were Shiloh Trustees John Vassen and Colleen Powers and Village Clerk Brenda Kern. Weidenbenner has said he is a supporter of Vernier's past policies.
The open meeting held Thursday at Village Hall was guided by Weidenbenner's attorney Andrew Carruthers and an attorney representing the village, Douglas Gruenke.
Although Rich failed to include the name "Shiloh" in one form, it was stated elsewhere in the form and was correctly included in a second form.
The state election code requires that full addresses be listed. The sustained three of five objections, and overruled two leaving Rich with only 14 of the required 30 signatures to stay on the ballot.
"We've never had to do this in the Village of Shiloh before, and I think we did the best we could," Vassen said. "It's a shame that it is a difficult remedy, but the facts indicate that we needed to take the action that we did."
The committee sided with Rich on an objection to Rich's description of the office he was running for was "(President) Mayor" on one sheet and "President."
Though commonly referred to as a mayoral position, the official name is "president of the board."
Kern claimed she was torn because most of the community uses the title of mayor and president of the board synonymously.
"The things that were overruled, I felt they were a little vague, and the things we sustained were legitimate," Powers said. "We as trustees have to follow the law and take action as we see fit. If [community members] do this, they need to have enough signatures and make sure they complete everything on there. If they have questions - ask."
Pat Patrick, of Shiloh, attended the meeting to stay informed about the upcoming consolidated election. He stated he was slightly disappointed at the idea that there will not be any mayoral competition because he enjoys the democratic quality of elections.
"I think it was fair. I think they made the only decision they could," Patrick said. "The thing I don't understand is, if you have a minimum of 30 signatures -- you should have 50 signatures so there is no doubt."