Judge: Janiec must give up school board seat to make mayoral run
Lake Superior Court Judge Jesse Villalpando has placed the ball in George Janiec’s court.
Janiec, who wants to run as a Republican for Hammond mayor, created the controversy surrounding his candidacy when the nonpartisan school board member decided to run for office, Villalpando ruled on Wednesday.
And, as Villalpando sees it, Janiec is the one person who can remove it.
Villalpando found that the Lake County Election Board didn’t abuse its powers in removing Janiec from the May 3 ballot.
He ruled Janiec breached the oath of office he took months ago as a new school board member and violated state law requiring school board members avoid political influences.
“On July 1, 2010, Janiec pledged to not be influenced by any consideration of politics in the performance of official duties as a member of the school board,” according to Villalpando’s ruling.
However, the judge maintained, “He still has time to help himself.”
A final hearing in Janiec’s appeal is set for today. Janiec’s attorney, Cordell Funk, didn’t wish to comment ahead of today’s hearing.
Election Board Attorney Jim Wieser sees the judge’s ruling as confirming the Election Board’s action. Board members voted 3-2 to remove Janiec from the ballot earlier this month.
“We’ve contended all along he shouldn’t be a valid candidate,” Wieser said.
Janiec when contacted late Wednesday said he had just finished reading the ruling and planned to meet with his attorneys. He said he’s never entertained the idea of giving up his school board position to run for Hammond mayor.
Both sides have expressed the time constraints in the case. Early voting begins Monday.