ECW urges Chatham clerk to resign over election petition handling
Alleging election and oath of office violations in the Village of Chatham, Edgar County Watchdogs (ECW) recently requested that Village Clerk Pat Schad resign -- first at a recent board meeting and subsequently via ECW’s website.
ECW’s Kirk Allen initially took issue with a bungled request concerning an innocent third party: mayoral candidate Darlene Judd, who sought to correct her application’s administrative errors.
Judd mistakenly assumed that withdrawing the papers to fix the mistakes would suffice. However, ECW faulted Schad for following through in what Allen argued was an illegal procedure.
Alleging that the clerk took the documents home, Allen cited Illinois statute 10 ILCS 5/10-4, which explicitly states that a petition “shall not be withdrawn, altered or added to.” He appeared at the board’s Dec. 27 meeting to formally make the request, addressing “violations” pertaining to petition packets during the public comment session.
“How do you explain the documents being (altered) in violation of the law?” he asked Schad, who remained silent. “I know you want to answer during the meeting, but rest assured, you may soon have to answer to an ethics complaint.”
When a clerk violates election law, Allen said, the public loses trust in its government unless the board holds him or her accountable. Additionally, he suggested that the village amend its policy to allow anyone to file an ethics complaint, not just residents — claiming that restricting participation to villagers is a form of intimidation.
“Clerk Schad, please resign right now and save this community from going through another ethics hearing to find you guilty of what we already know you did,” Allen said.
Allen continued the conversation via ECW’s Illinois Leaks website after concluding his presentation.
“If the public can’t trust their election documents with their elected officials, then it’s time for them to resign and/or be replaced at the next election,” he said.