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4 Incumbents May be Banned from Village Ballot

A local nonpartisan political group has challenged the validity of petitions for candidacy filed by four members of the Mokena village board.

Four members of the Mokena Village Board of Trustees hoping to run for re-election may not have their names on the ballot in April.

Objections were made to the petitions for candidacy filed by Mayor Joe Werner and Trustees Joe Siwinski, John Mazzorana and George Metanias.

The objections were filed by the Mokena Friends and Neighbors Candidates — a group of nonpartisan, non-incumbent candidates also running for various positions within the village. The Friends and Neighbors include Frank Fleischer, Jenifer Sciaky, Mary Beth Winberg, Vincent L. Di Fiore and Tony Bruozas.

According to Karl Ottosen, the team’s legal advisor, the Friends and Neighbors object to the petitions filed by Werner, Siwinski and Mazzorana on the grounds that none of the petitions contain the minimum number of signatures from registered voters who live in Mokena. For the 2012 election, village candidates are required to collect at least 223 valid signatures.

The objection to Metanias’ petition is on the grounds that he withdrew his petition after filing it and then filed it again later on the same day with the same signatures he included on the petition when he originally filed, which is prohibited by the Illinois Election Code, according to Ottosen.

“You don’t do these things lightly,” said Ottosen, who believes there is a sound legal basis for the challenge.

In order to move forward with the objection, the Friends and Neighbors must review the questionable signatures by comparing the signatures on the candidate petitions to those on the corresponding voter registrations. They must also confirm that registered voters reside at the addresses listed on the petitions and that the addresses are located in Mokena.

“It’s a process of verification,” said Mayor Joe Werner, whose petition included approximately 265 signatures. “I’m very confident in the signatures that we have.”

Village attorneys are currently carrying out the state procedures for a petition objection. A meeting will be held before an electoral board in the near future to address the matter.

Typically the electoral board would comprise of the mayor, the village clerk and the village board’s most senior trustee. However, because all of those individuals are directly involved in the objections, the Chief Judge of Will County will appoint a board to oversee the proceedings

“This is all part of the voting process,” Werner said.

John Mazzorana and George Metanias did not respond to Patch’s request for comment. Joe Siwinski was unavailable to make a statement.

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Tell the Truth January 12, 2013 at 10:40 PM
What an Ego this Werner has , his comment in the Southtown about how he and the members of the Electoral Board recused themselves is untruthful . In situations such as the one the Mokena candidates are in being challenged and as witnesses a judge selects/appoints the members of the Board . Werner is trying to act the Hero when again he only acts the Fool . What a Shame !
Linda Carson January 13, 2013 at 07:52 AM
Nobody puts baby in the corner.
Legal Doc January 13, 2013 at 05:05 PM
As the leader of our community I would have hoped Mayor Werner and Trustees Mazzorana,Siwinski and Metainias would have used great care into preparing their petitions . It concerns me that the inattention shown in the Petitions reflects the direction our community has been steered by these Incumbents . Challenges are occurring in many communities around us and almost all because of mistakes that could have easily been avoided if due care was executed in the preparation .
Mike January 16, 2013 at 04:45 PM
For you folks who wish to take a shot at Werner, you should remember how bad things were in village govt before he was elected mayor. The village board meeting was the best sitcom on tv. Now the village is run like a serious business. Call the village and you get a response to your concerns and action. A good case in point were the train horns. Big thing for us in town people. The board recognized this and our quaility of life is now better. When I called about this, I received at least three calls from the village, usually John Downs, keeping me advised as to the progress of allieviating the problem. Downs is one of the people targeted by the Di Fiore group. We should be thankful to have Downs leading our village. They say govt is best when it is close to the people. That's what we have now, don't mess with it. I have only one piece of advice for an incumbent ------ Siwinski, time to get a hair cut. You and your dentist friend need to look in the mirror.
DR- Mokena March 13, 2013 at 12:42 PM
Metanias and a few others should be finished....take off your football cap and go off into the sunset. It's like a party...time to leave. Good for Jim Giglio in challenging some things that were wrong.

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