Joe Hubbard's name suggested for township trustee vacancy

News-DemocratAugust 6, 2013 

— The Belleville Good Government party on Tuesday asked the Belleville Township Board to appoint a member of their party instead of hold a special meeting to elect a new trustee.

Ken Kinsella, a member of Belleville Good Government, said township officials should consider Joe Hubbard, who is a secretary for Belleville Good Government and a retired director of Catholic Urban Programs.

The board has discussed for months whether they have to appoint someone of the same political party as Paul Klingler.

Klingler belonged to the Belleville Good Government party. He was re-elected to a four-year term in April but he passed away on May 20.

Township code states that if the board does not appoint someone 60 days after the death of a trustee, then there must be a special township meeting so voters could decide. At that point, residents can elect someone regardless of political affiliation.

The board had appointed Ralph Hult, an independent, to the seat on June 18. Hult resigned July 19 after agreeing that his appointment was unlawful but he has plans to run for the seat at the special meeting.

Kinsella said Tuesday that Hult remained in office until the 60-day mark "in an apparent attempt to prevent a member of our party from rightfully being appointed..."

Kinsella asked board members to disregard the time period that Hult held the office and appoint Hubbard.

Belleville Mayor Mark Eckert, chairman of Belleville Good Government, said Hubbard embodies the township's main duty: general assistance.

"I don't think anybody can dispute Joe's 50-plus-year record of helping the poor," Eckert said. "I think people across the board know he is an outstanding man with a history of helping others."

The board did not discuss the request Kinsella made during public participation and the legality of such action was not immediately clear.

The Township Board currently has two trustees who are independent and two who belong to the Belleville Good Government party. In the case of a tie vote for appointments, Township Clerk Dallas Cook, an independent, breaks the tie.

Later in the meeting, township officials started to plan for the special meeting.

Township Supervisor Dennis Korte, of the Belleville Good Government Party, said he got permission to use Belleville West High School as the site of the special meeting and he likely will present a list of available dates to officials on Aug. 20.

Earlier this month, Trustee Joy Schreiber, an independent, asked St. Clair County Clerk Tom Holbrook, a supporter of the Belleville Good Government party, to moderate the special meeting.

It will be up to the voters to choose a moderator at the special meeting, but officials learned Tuesday that Holbrook is willing to do the job if voters pick him.

The format of the meeting will be up to the moderator.

If Holbrook is chosen, these are his ideas on how to hold the meeting.

Holbrook said he plans to have two election judges, one a Republican and the other a Democrat, to verify voters. Attendees will be seated in separate parts of the room, depending on if they are voters or nonvoters.

Holbrook also stated that he will allow each candidate to speak for two minutes. Voters will then stand behind their candidate of choice for an official count.

Contact reporter Jacqueline Lee at jlee@bnd.com or 239-2655. Follow her on Twitter at https://twitter.com/BNDBelleville.

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