Will County Judge John Anderson ruled Monday that Kathy Miller, New Lenox School District 122 board member, will be back on the April 2013 ballot.
The judge found the petition to be sufficient to stand after a three-member panel of Miller's fellow board members voted 2-1 to kick her off the ballot.
"It was not a fatal error," said Board President Nick DiSandro, who attended the hearing.
Miller later issued a statement: "I am proud and honored to serve both the children and the taxpayers of this community as a School Board Member and I am ecstatic that I have the opportunity to ask that the voters allow me to do so for another term. Unfortunately, the events leading up to today's verdict were an attack meant to tarnish my reputation and an infringement on my rights as an citizen.
"I find it unacceptable the amount of money, time and energy that was spent on this issue and that it took away from our core mission of educating the children of New Lenox and maintaining outstanding schools. My goal is to see that this is the last time our resources are wasted in such a shameful manner."
Broderick has not returned calls to Patch.
She was temporarily kicked off after a Jan. 11 hearing of the New Lenox School District 122 Electoral Board, which voted 2-1 in favor of upholding an objection to a notary error on her nomination petition.
The decision by the electoral board unleashed an outcry from Miller supporters and accusations of foul play. According to the objection, the notary on page four of the five-page document was faulty.
The page was struck from the petition, which worked to invalidate the 12 voter signatures. This left Miller six short of the minimum 50 signatures needed for a position on the ballot.
Read more coverage:
- D122 Member Kathy Miller Kicked Off April Election Ballot
- Anonymous Tip Led to D122 Petition Objection (UPDATE)
- Candidate Petition for New Lenox School District Challenged; Hearing Set for Friday
- D122 Board President Says Fellow Member Was Behind Kathy Miller Objection
- D122 Board Chastises Members Broderick, Smith at Packed Meeting
DiSandro, who was one of three to sit on the Electoral Board, called a press conference on Jan. 15, where he announced that board member Maureen Broderick had a hand in filing the objection to incumbent Miller's petition for the April election.
The Electoral Board was comprised of DiSandro, Broderick and Vice President Sue Smith. Smith and Broderick went against the advice of the school district's attorney, who cited legal precedent as a reason to ignore "clerical errors" involving petition notaries.
In response to the judge's ruling today, Smith said: "I did my duty and the judge did his; now I'm looking forward to getting our focus back to business."
After the ruling was announced, DiSandro said, "At this point, I think the judge did what was right—reviewed the case and made the right decision based on law. And we move on."
DiSandro said the objection to Miller's election petition was politically motivated and embarrassing. At the press conference, he shared details of a phone conversation with Broderick he had on Jan. 3, the day the objection to Miller's petition was filed.
DiSandro said Broderick reviewed the petitions of those who filed for the April 2013 school board election and filed objections to the documents turned in by Miller, an incumbent, and Thomas Hottinger.
"She wrote both statements but she did not sign (the one against Miller)," DiSandro said.
That objection was signed by New Lenox's Nikki Sanders, who never viewed the petition. DiSandro said Broderick didn't sign the objection against Miller, because she wanted to remain seated on the Electoral Board. She also withdrew her objection to Hottinger's petition so she could sit on the board.
When asked to respond to DiSandro's accusations, Broderick said, "I never told him I wrote it. I never told him that at all. I'm extremely upset that this whole thing is coming to bite me. The main focus is on me now; it should be on Miller. I had nothing to do with what he is alleging that I did."
At the Jan. 16 NLSD122 meeting, DiSandro again publicly attacked the legitimacy of a Jan. 11 hearing that resulted in removing Miller from the April ballot.
Then one-by-one, with the exception of Broderick and Smith, board members expressed their disappointment over the way the hearing and the events surrounding it have played out. Board members Debbie Kedzior, Bill Pender, Miller and Patrick Martino united in chastising Broderick. Kedzior said she was embarrassed by the board's actions this week.