Board confident voters’ will effectuated in April election

‘Call the Tune’ by Mike Anthony

By Mike Anthony

We reported last week that the Crestwood Board of Aldermen was prepared to take action regarding a candidate’s qualifications, depending on the outcome of the April 5 election.

At the direction of the Board of Aldermen, City Attorney Lisa Stump read a statement May 24 that said city officials and aldermen have no authority to investigate a candidate’s qualifications or remove a candidate’s name from the ballot before an election — only a candidate can seek the removal of another candidate from the ballot.

“Once an individual is elected to the position of alderman or mayor, the board has authority under the city Charter to investigate qualifications and if warranted, refuse to seat an unqualified person …,” Stump read. “The Board of Aldermen was prepared to take such action after the April 2016 election, if it was needed, and will likewise be prepared after subsequent elections.”

Given the fact that questions were raised about only one candidate’s qualifications, a logical conclusion would be that aldermen were prepared not to seat Ismaine Ayouaz had he prevailed in the Ward 4 election.

If that is the case, why would city officials allow citizens to cast votes for a candidate they knew they would not seat if elected?

In October, Ayouaz announced his intention to run as a write-in candidate, issuing a press release that stated he wasn’t qualified to be placed on the ballot because he would not be a registered voter for one year before the filing deadline, as required by the city Charter and code. But on the last day of filing, Jan. 19, Ayouaz filed on the advice of his attorney, whom he repeatedly has declined to identify.

Ayouaz became a registered voter on Feb. 6, 2015, and the Charter and code require candidates to be a registered voter for one year before the filing deadline. Mathematically, Ayouaz did not meet that requirement.

In the election, Tony Kennedy prevailed with 369 votes, followed by Ayouaz, with 289. Former Alderman Steve Nieder garnered 168 votes, while Ryan Pascoe tallied 95.

Stump also said in the May 24 statement, “… The qualifications of those elected to the Board of Aldermen in April 2016 are not in question, and thus the board considers the questions relating to that election moot. The Board of Aldermen has confidence that the will of the voters was effectuated in the April 2016 election …”

Unfortunately, we don’t share the board’s confidence that the voters’ will was effectuated in the election.