of Education v. Loudermill, 470 U.S. at 543-45.
Indeed, what plaintiff really appears to be objecting to here is the fact that there was such a referendum at all. The Illinois Municipal Code provides a method by which the terms for which trustees are elected can be reduced from four years to two years, Ill.Rev.Stat. ch. 24, para. 3-2-9, and it appears that the referendum held in Maywood in 1988 may have violated this provision.
Even if it did, however, this fact provides plaintiff no help here. In Clarke v. Village of Arlington Heights, 57 Ill. 2d 50, 309 N.E.2d 576 (1974), the Illinois Supreme Court held that Article VII, § 6(f) of the Illinois Constitution gives home rule municipalities such as Maywood the right to alter the structure of their government as they please, even if such structural revisions violate the Municipal Code; § 6(f) specifically includes terms of office within the sorts of structural changes that may be made. Thus, it appears, the referendum to which plaintiff objects satisfied Illinois law.
Moreover, to the extent that the Illinois Municipal Code is the source of plaintiff's complaint, he is making it in the wrong place. The federal Constitution protects state and municipal employees with property interests in their positions from being deprived of their jobs without due process of law. But it does not protect them from being fired even with such process. And whereas the source of the property interest is state law, it is the federal Constitution which prescribes the necessary procedure for taking that property. Thus, even if state law provides no process for removing an incumbent, a federal court can prevent it only if the removal is done without due process. Cf. Kasper v. Board of Election Commissioners of the City of Chicago, 814 F.2d 332, 342 (7th Cir. 1987). As noted earlier, a public election suffices on this score. See also Gordon v. Leatherman, 450 F.2d at 567.
The discussion could end here were it not for the fact that plaintiff has described another theory for recovery in his briefs, and one not necessarily inconsistent with the facts in his complaint. According to the plaintiff, the procedures by which the referendum was placed on the March 15 ballot were insufficient to satisfy his constitutional procedural rights.
Although his description of the facts is far from clear, it appears that the March referendum was placed on the ballot after a certain number of petitions in favor of the referendum had been presented to the county clerk's office some period of time before the date of the election. Plaintiff maintains that he never received actual notice of the petitions being filed, and was thereby deprived of the opportunity to object to them.
Even setting aside plaintiff's failure to allege these facts in his complaint, and his nearly incredible contention that he knew nothing of the proposed referendum until it was too late, this court finds no constitutional infirmity here. The methods for petitioning to place public questions on ballots, and for objecting to the petitions, is clearly set forth in the Illinois statutes and has been followed by Illinois citizens for years. See Illinois Election Code, ch. 46, para. 28-1 et seq. Although the election authorities must employ fair procedures in examining and determining the validity of the petitions and objections, see Briscoe v. Kusper, 435 F.2d 1046 (7th Cir. 1970), plaintiff's contention that in order to satisfy due process constraints the Village had to give him personal notice of the petitions and of his right to object to them is misguided. As defendant points out, "under plaintiff's theory, every time a referendum was sought to be placed on the ballot, actual notice would have to be given to every individual who would be affected if the referendum passes." Due process in this context requires no such thing.
Defendant's motion to dismiss is granted.
DATE: February 17, 1989
JUDGMENT IN A CIVIL CASE
Decision by Court. This action came to hearing before the Court. The issues have been heard and a decision has been rendered.
IT IS ORDERED AND ADJUDGED
that judgment is entered in favor of the defendant and against the plaintiff. Enter judgment.
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