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September 29, 2022

McHenry Co. Sheriff Candidate Tony Colatorti Remains On Ballot –

By John Kraft & Kirk Allen

On April 14, 2022

McHenry County, IL. (ECWd) –

Today, the McHenry County Electoral Board voted unanimously to deny the objection to Antonio “Tony” Colatorti’s, Candidacy for McHenry County Sheriff, by determining he did meet the minimum statutory qualifications for the office of Sheriff.

Both County Clerk Joe Tirio and Circuit Court Clerk Kathy Keefe recused themselves and State’s Attorney Patrick Kenneally designated Lake County Assistant State’s Attorney Lisle Stalter to sit in his place on the Electoral Board, while McHenry County Chief Judge James Cowlin appointed Steve Cuda and Sam Weyers to replace Tirio and Keefe.

We wrote about the objection earlier (here).

You should be able to watch the McHenry County Election Board Hearing video (here).

The change made in the Counties Code for qualification for the office of Sheriff became effective on January 1, 2022, and states:

<span style="font-family: Courier New; font-size: small;">Sec. 3-6001.5. </span><span style="font-family: Courier New; font-size: small;">Sheriff qualifications. </span><span style="font-family: Courier New; font-size: small;">A person is not eligible to be elected or appointed to the office of sheriff, unless that person meets all of the following requirements:</span>    
    <span style="font-family: Courier New; font-size: small;">(1) Is a United States citizen.</span>        
<span style="font-family: Courier New; font-size: small;">(2) Has been a resident of the county for at least</span><span style="font-family: Courier New; font-size: small;">    </span><span style="font-family: Courier New; font-size: small;">one year.</span>
    
    
<span style="font-family: Courier New; font-size: small;">(3) Is not a convicted felon.</span>        <span style="font-family: Courier New; font-size: small;">(4) <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>Has a certificate attesting to his or her</strong></span></span><span style="font-family: Courier New; font-size: small;">    </span>
<span style="font-family: Courier New; font-size: small;"><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>successful completion of the Minimum Standards Basic Law Enforcement Officers Training Course as prescribed by the Illinois Law Enforcement Training Standards Board or a substantially similar training program of another state or the federal government. This paragraph does not apply to a sheriff currently serving on the effective date of this amendatory Act of the 101st General Assembly.</strong></span></span><span style="font-family: Courier New; font-size: small;">(Source: P.A. 101-652, eff. 1-1-22</span><span style="font-family: Courier New; font-size: small;">.)</span>
    
successful completion of the Minimum Standards Basic Law Enforcement Officers Training Course as prescribed by the Illinois Law Enforcement Training Standards Board or a substantially similar training program of another state or the federal government. This paragraph does not apply to a sheriff currently serving on the effective date of this amendatory Act of the 101st General Assembly.
(Source: P.A. 101-652, eff. 1-1-22.)

In our opinion, the argument by candidate’s counsel attempted to equate the part-time officer training course to the full-time (Basic Law Enforcement Officers Training Course (“BLEOTC”)) officer training course, for the purposes of qualifying for the office of Sheriff. The BLEOTC specifically requires full-time continuous training – not so for the part-time course.

We are unsure whether this Electoral Board’s decision will or will not be appealed to the circuit court, even though we certainly are looking forward to an appeal if for nothing more than clarifying how the courts would interpret this new provision of qualification for the office of Sheriff.

We will publish the Electoral Board’s Order once we obtain a copy.

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