Metro-East News

St. Clair County Board holds off on new board member, approves new voting precincts

Representation of the 25th district on the St. Clair County Board will have to wait until July.

The County Board held off on appointing James W. Haywood Jr. to replace Curtis McCall Jr., who resigned from the board after becoming mayor of Cahokia.

“There were concerns that were brought to our attention, we agree and we look forward to bringing another name,” County Board Chairman Mark Kern.

In the spring of 2013, Haywood had been charged with marking the absentee ballot of another person, which is a felony. However, that case was ultimately dismissed this year, after several continuances over two years.

“We’ve had some success prosecuting and getting convictions on vote cases and we are moving forward on several others, but if we can no longer meet our burden of proof then ethically we can’t move forward and have no choice but to dismiss,” State’s Attorney Brendan Kelly said in a statement.

“We had contradictions in witness statements, the overlapping dates for both applications and ballots, and one record saying our witness had received a ballot and one record saying the exact opposite which just killed our case,” Kelly added.

Haywood does have a pending driving under the influence charge in St. Clair County. He has pleaded not guilty and his next hearing is July 22. Kelly said the county is moving forward with prosecution in the DUI case.

In 2012, Haywood was charged with resisting a police officer, but the case was dismissed in May, according to St. Clair County court records.

Those charges were dismissed because the complaining officers failed to appear, Kelly said.

County Board members did approve a proposal to consolidate voting precincts in three townships.

The County Board approved merging two Caseyville Township precincts into one precinct, consolidating and realigning eight St. Clair Township precincts into six precincts, and consolidating and realigning 16 Centreville Township precincts into 10 precincts.

A proposal to consolidate and realign 12 of precincts into six in Canteen Township, was tabled until next month.

“There were some misunderstanding between people who were helping out,” Kern said. “This is more than changing numbers. It’s changing boundary lines it’s a complicated thing. We want to make sure everything is accurate.”

State law mandates voting precincts have between 500 and 800 voters.

County Clerk Thomas Holbrook estimated the consolidations could help save the county about $30,000.

County Board Member Frank Heiligenstein has pushed for precinct consolidation and realignment in order to help eliminate precincts with fewer than 500 voters to save money.

In other action

▪  New role: John Hughes, the current director of Military Affairs for the county, was appointed as the director of the county’s Central Services. Hughes replaces Tom Maziarz, who retired on Friday. Hughes will oversee both of the departmennts.

▪  Quarry expansion: A request from Casper Stolle Quarry and Contracting Company to expand its mining area by 65 acres was approved.

Casper Stolle asked for a special use permit to add 135 acres to its quarry. However, because of a county requirement to stay at least 1,000 feet from houses, the expanded mining area would be about 65 acres located to the south of Casper Stolle’s current operation. Company officials have said they believe it would take about 50 years to mine the additional area.

▪  New fee: County Board members approved a proposal to add a new $10 fee for those convicted of a felony, a Class A, Class B or Class C misdemeanor, petty offenses or business offenses, to help recruit, train and support volunteer Court Appointed Special Advocates. The volunteers would advocate for neglected children as they go through the juvenile court system, according to the ordinance.

The fee would not apply to noncriminal traffic offenses.

Contact reporter Joseph Bustos at jbustos@bnd.com or 618-239-2451. Follow him on Twitter: @JoeBReporter.

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