Judge needs more time in contested Macomb council race

A McDonough County judge order the results of Tuesday's sealed in an already contested alderman race in Macomb.

Steven Wailand received 17 votes for 2nd ward alderman in the February election. His opponent, incumbent Kay Hill, received 16. Wailand said the city told him after the election that he needed 50 percent of the vote, plus one more vote, to actually win.

However, Wailand's attorney said the â??50 percent, plus oneâ?? phrasing doesn't appear in the city code or its special charter.

In court, Macomb city clerk Melanie Falk said the city defined the word "majority" as 50 percent plus one. She also agreed that the words "50 plus one" are not written on the municipal code.

Circuit Judge Rodney Clark said the issue needs further legal consideration and will hold a full-hearing April 26 just days before the council seat would be officially filled. This was after the city asked for more time to provide evidence suggesting "50 percent, plus one" defines majority.

That means one of two things can happen with the results of Tuesday's run-off election.

If the city prevails at the future hearing, the results will be unsealed and the seat will go to the winner.

If the Wailand prevails, then the results will remained sealed and he will take the seat as alderman.

County Clerk Gretchen DeJaynes ordered the run-off election after ruling neither candidate received 50 percent of the vote plus one in the cityâ??s February election. DeJaynes has said thatâ??s the way the city has told her to administer the election.

The Justice Center Legal Counsel took up his defense. Diane Cohen represented him in court Monday.

An attorney for the city clerk's office declined to comment.