Belleville Township eager to end saga; election to fill long-vacant trustee seat is set

News-DemocratAugust 20, 2013 

— Belleville Township voters will get the chance to elect a new trustee next month to fill the position vacated by the late Paul Klingler.

The Belleville Township Board decided Tuesday to have a special meeting at 7 p.m. Sept. 18 to elect someone to the four-year position.

Anyone who is registered to vote in the township as of Wednesday can vote in the "voice vote" style election.

Residents of the township, which has the same boundaries as the city of Belleville, must be registered to vote at least 28 days before the special meeting, according to state township code.

Township Supervisor Dennis Korte said he got permission from Belleville School District 201 Superintendent Jeff Dosier to have the special meeting at Belleville West High School.

Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and the St. Clair County Clerk's Office will begin verifying voters at that time.

The meeting format is up to a moderator nominated by the eligible voters in attendance.

Some township trustees have said they want St. Clair County Clerk Tom Holbrook to moderate the meeting.

If Holbrook is chosen, he plans to have two election judges, a Democrat and Republican, to verify voters. Voters and non-voters will then be seated separately.

Voters will then nominate candidates, who will have two minutes each to speak, Holbrook said.

Voters will stand behind their candidate to be counted.

Township Attorney Brian Flynn said after the meeting that no ballots will be involved because statute calls for a voice vote, and that could come in the form of a roll call.

The special meeting will come nearly four months after Klingler died May 20. He was re-elected April 9 but was never sworn in.

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

In June, the board appointed Ralph Hult, an independent. Hult resigned in July, on the 60-day mark, after agreeing that the appointee should be of the same Belleville Good Government political party as Klingler.

In other news:

* Trustees voted 4-0 to approve $1,500 for a Foster Grandparent Program organized by the Southwestern Illinois College Programs and Services for Older Persons in Belleville.

The money is for a stipend and transportation costs for PSOP volunteers to care for children who are born premature with physical disabilities or severe illnesses, belong to young mothers, or were abused or neglected.

* Trustees voted 4-0 to give a $500 donation to St. Vincent de Paul.

* The township's website, www.bellevilletownship.org, is under construction.

Are you interested in being the next Belleville Township trustee? If so, contact BND reporter Jacqueline Lee at 239-2655 or jlee@bnd.com. Follow her on Twitter at https://twitter.com/BNDBelleville.

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