BRADLEY — The voters of Bradley will decide who will lead the village for the next four years, rather than the court.
A move to have the entire slate of Bradley Citizens United Party candidates — headed by mayoral hopeful and former 16-year Bradley Trustee Lori Gadbois — removed from April 6 municipal ballot failed at Tuesday’s Bradley Electoral Board hearing.
That result means there will be a crowded field of candidates seeking to lead Bradley come April.
By a 3-0, electoral board members Darren Westphal, Brian Billingsley, who are both village trustees, and Steve Lagesse concluded there was a shortage of evidence to remove the slate which, in addition to Gadbois, includes Clark Gregoire, clerk, and trustee candidates Erika McGrath, Bob Redmond and Jeff Hackley.
This slate of candidates will face the Progressive Citizens Party candidates, including Mayor Pro Tem Mike Watson, who is seeking the mayoral post; clerk, Julie Tambling; incumbent trustees, Ryan LeBran and Brian Teiri, as well as Grant Vandenhout.
“We’re back on the ballot,” Gadbois said shortly after the ruling was granted by the board. “There is always some feeling of uncertainty, but we always felt confident we were never wrong. We just want to serve the people. ... I will certainly sleep a little better tonight.”
The election also includes Democratic Party mayoral candidate Gene Jordan and Democratic trustee candidate Josh Glenzinkski.
The point of contention was brought forward by Charles Burke, a two-time Progressive Citizens Party candidate. He alleged in his challenge that the Bradley Citizens United Party petitions were not properly completed. That assertion brought into question the party’s nominating signatures.
In the end, electoral board, under the direction of attorney Jamie Boyd, threw out only one page of signatures — which was a total of 10 signatures.
Because the party had collected 233 signatures, well in excess of the 166 needed to get on the ballot as a new party, the matter was mute. The removal of that single page of signatures left them with 223.
One witness brought forward by Burke’s attorney Anna Nugent, Bradley Police Lt. Phil Trudeau, testified he signed the petition being circulated by Jeff Hackley. He stated the petition did not have the proper information completed, which is a violation of election law.
That was the page which was ultimately tossed.
In a surprising move, Nugent rested her case after Trudeau’s questioning.
With no other witnesses and with far more signatures on the petitions than were actually needed, the electoral board seemingly had no where to move but rejecting Burke’s claim.
Nugent had other witnesses who were expected to testify to the same issues as brought up by Trudeau, but they never were brought forward.
Attorney Chris Bohlen, representing the Citizens United Party, then asked Boyd for a directed finding, which basically means tossing the case.
After a 10-15 minute recess, Boyd returned and stated matter would go no further as the party had far more signatures than required.