League objects to Lake Forest committee endorsement; ‘Rejecting your membership’s majority vote ... undermines the democratic process’
By Daniel I. Dorfman Pioneer Press• Dec 06, 2022 at 2:45 pm
Last month’s controversial decision by the Lake Forest Caucus Committee to proceed with the endorsement of former Alderman Stanford “Randy” Tack for mayor despite his not being recommended by the general membership is disturbing some members of the community.
The leadership of the League of Women Voters of Lake Forest/Lake Bluff Area recently sent a letter to the caucus executive committee expressing concern over the continued recommendation of Tack despite not getting the support of the general membership at the caucus’s Nov. 9 annual meeting.
In October, the caucus committee announced it was endorsing Tack, who represented the Third Ward from 2012-18 ahead of the caucus annual meeting on Nov. 9.
While the annual meeting customarily features a perfunctory vote by the general membership, this year a majority of those in attendance declined to support the Tack endorsement by the caucus committee. However, the committee announced two days later it would stand by its support of Tack in next April’s general election, noting only 3% of Lake Forest voters attended the annual meeting.
Part of the dispute is an interpretation of the caucus bylaws, which do not explicitly
state whether the general membership vote at the annual meeting is binding.
“There is no indication in your bylaws that general member votes are nonbinding,” the LWV letter read. “In fact, Section 2.01 clearly states that the general membership is eligible to attend and vote at public meetings, and the last sentence of Section 3.05 states that action will be taken on majority votes at public meetings.
“Our mission is to empower voters and defend democracy,” the letter continued. “Based on your bylaws, and your invitation to members to attend your annual meeting, we believe your general membership had a reasonable expectation that their vote would be counted.
“Rejecting your membership’s majority vote violates your bylaws and undermines the democratic process,” it said. “League of Women Voters of Lake Forest/Lake Bluff Area does not condone this decision.”
Two days after the Nov. 9 meeting, caucus president David Hunt explained the decision to stand by Tack.
“Multiple attorneys were consulted, including those with domain expertise in this area of law. As noted on Friday, we have been advised that Wednesday’s vote is nonbinding per the bylaws,” Hunt wrote in an email.
On Dec. 5, Hunt deferred to a FAQ section now posted on the caucus website maintaining its support for Tack.
“While the bylaws are silent on how to proceed in the event of a ‘no’ vote at the annual meeting, they are also nonbinding and do not overrule the verifiable work completed to identify the best qualified candidate for the role of Mayor by the Caucus Committee,” the statement read.
The FAQ section added the caucus committee reconsidered second-place candidate, former 1st Ward Alderwoman Prue Beidler. The caucus committee believed Beidler invited the community to vote against Tack, which went against caucus custom of all candidates supporting those who eventually get the caucus support.
“In doing so, she reneged on her own commitment to the Caucus process, thereby invalidating any endorsement of her by the Lake Forest Caucus,” the statement read.
Beidler declined to comment on the caucus statement placed on their FAQ.
Beidler previously said she was considering an independent run for mayor challenging Tack. She has yet to make a formal announcement.
The filing deadline for the April 4 election is Dec. 19, according to City Clerk Margaret Boyer.