Crusader Files New Niles Term Limits Petition

After a petition for term limits for Niles officials got quashed by a judge, citizen advocate Joe Makula and his attorney filed a new petition Friday. Advocating good government, it would limit officials to 16 years in office.


A battle-tested Joseph Makula stepped to the Niles village clerk's counter Friday afternoon to officially file a question he wants placed on the April 6, 2013 ballot. It would limit the Niles mayor and trustees to no more than 16 years in office.

The scene was a deja vu from July, when Makula filed a similar petition, with 1,018 signatures. Except this time, Makula was accompanied by an attorney. And having suffered a petition challenge by the village of Niles and a subsequent court defeat, Makula is wiser on to how to dot the i's and cross the t's of an election petition.

Earlier: Village of Niles Challenges Petition in Court 

Earlier: Judge Dismisses Petition: Now What? 

Now, in Round 2 of the term limits battle in Niles, the situation has complicated.

Since a judge struck down the July petition, the Niles village board passed its own version of a term limits ordinance at its Nov. 13 meeting. That ordinance  limits the time served to three terms (12 years) for a trustee and two terms (eight years) for a mayor, with a total possible service of five terms.

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The clock would start running if and when the referendum passes, so that the fact two trustees, Andrew Przybylo and Louella Preston, have already served 20-plus years would not count. 

If Makula's citizens' petition gets on the ballot, its time-limiting ability would go into effect four years from the April 2013 election.

"If Andrew and Louella win this election, they would likely be able to serve four years until 2017," Makula said, and his attorney, John G. Fogarty, confirmed that.

"Their term limits (the village board's ordinance) would go into effect in 2024," Makula added.

"And both these term limit referendums could be on the April ballot next to each other. People could vote yes for both."

That could present a unique, or very rare, case in election law, Makula and Fogarty said, and legal and good-government organizations or scholars may study the case.

Fogarty specializes in election law. Last spring, on behalf of Rep. Judy Biggert, he successfully challenged her primary challengers' petitions and they were prevented from getting on the ballot, he said.

The petition Makula and Fogarty filed Friday contains 67 pages and about 960 of what Makula called "high quality" signatures, or more than enough to satisfy the requirements for getting a citizen-initiated measure onto the ballot as a referendum.

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HARRY ACHINO December 11, 2012 at 01:40 AM
Thank you for the clarification Pam.
Jac Charlier December 11, 2012 at 04:12 AM
Let the people decide...process has its place but is not equal to the substance of our democracy. What is that substance? Simple - the people having a free right to exercise choice and be heard, equally, fairly and without repurcussion. The rules that govern those types of processes i.e. voting, referendum, public meetings are always secondary to freedom.
HARRY ACHINO December 11, 2012 at 07:16 AM
I agree Jac and believe me they will. As for you Me thinks 2, Are you that much of a coward that you can't use your real name? Sadly, I prefer not to hang out in alleys with your so called normal people. But through my travels in Niles if I see some people milling around the alleys, calling each other cute little nicknames, like Me thinks to, Clark Kent or Ck, i will gladly say hello and give you my opinion of the issues of the day.
HARRY ACHINO December 11, 2012 at 07:44 PM
Just a guess, are you really Chris Hanusiak.
LisaG December 14, 2012 at 06:54 PM
I'm all for term limits, in all areas of Government. Including Niles where I have lived for 45 years. If you need help, reach out. It's been embarrassing to watch the Village I grew up in, and at Village Meeting bumble over themselves. I am with Jac on this one, as well as Joe Makula. Bitter or not, he has a good point!!


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