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Davis v. City of Country Club Hills

Court of Appeals of Illinois, First District, Third Division

September 30, 2013

ANTHONY DAVIS, JOHN EDWARDS, CYNTHIA SINGLETON, VINCENT LOCKETT, LEON WILLIAMS, TYRONE HUTSON, STEVEN BURRIS, and FRANK MARTIN, in Their Official Capacities as Aldermen of the City of Country Club Hills, and OSCAR MCNEAL and CHESTER MILLER, as Individuals, Plaintiffs-Appellants,
v.
THE CITY OF COUNTRY CLUB HILLS, DEBORAH M. MCILVAIN, in Her Official Capacity as Clerk of the City of Country Club Hills, and DAVID ORR, in His Official Capacity as the Cook County Clerk, Defendants-Appellees.

Held [*]

Plaintiffs’ appeal from the denial of their petition to preliminarily enjoin the results of a referendum to reduce the number of aldermen in defendant city from 10 to 5 was dismissed as moot, since the publicinterest exception to the mootness doctrine did not apply where an authoritative determination of the underlying issues in the case would not be provided by an opinion from the appellate court on the trial court’s denial of the preliminary relief plaintiffs sought.

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County, No. 12-COEL-25; the Hon. Maureen Ward Kirby, Judge, presiding.

Keri-Lyn J. Krafthefer, of Ancel, Glink, Diamond, Bush, DiCianni & Krafthefer, P.C., of Chicago, for appellants.

John B. Murphey, of Rosenthal, Murphey, Coblentz & Donahue, of Chicago, for appellees.

Panel PRESIDING JUSTICE HYMAN delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Justices Pucinski and Mason concurred in the judgment and opinion.

OPINION

HYMAN PRESIDING JUSTICE

¶ 1 This interlocutory appeal challenges the trial court's denial of a petition to preliminarily enjoin the results of a referendum reducing to five the number of aldermen in the City of Country Club Hills. A majority of eligible voters approved the referendum at the November 6, 2012, general election, and in April 2013, the voters elected five aldermen, who then took office.

¶ 2 The only issue the trial court determined was the request for preliminary relief. That issue is now moot, and the public-interest exception to the mootness doctrine does not warrant our exercise of review.

¶ 3 BACKGROUND

¶ 4 The City of Country Club Hills' city council consisted of 10 aldermen, with 2 representing each of the City's five wards. Qualified voters petitioned to place a referendum on the ballot for the 2012 general election seeking to reduce the number of elected aldermen to five, with one alderman representing each ward. The petition requested that the following proposition be placed on the ballot:

"SHALL THE CITY OF COUNTRY CLUB HILLS RESTRICT YES [ ] NUMBER OF ALDERMEN TO 5, WITH ONE ALDERMAN NO [ ] REPRESENTING EACH WARD?
All existing aldermanic terms shall expire as of the date of the next regular aldermanic election, at which time a full complement of aldermen shall be elected for the full term."

ΒΆ 5 This language was taken from section 3.1-20-20(a) of the Illinois Municipal Code (65 ILCS 5/3.1-20-20(a) (West 2008)). After the time for filing objections closed, the city clerk submitted a written certification of the ballot proposal to the county clerk. The referendum question as certified by the city clerk included the question as to whether the number of aldermen should be reduced to five, but omitted the ...


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