Worth Twp. Electoral Board leaves incumbent candidates on April ballot

By Laura Bollin

Two Worth Township elected officials have withstood objections to their candidacy in the April 9 election and will remain on the ballot, a township electoral board ruled Monday.

Worth Township Democratic Committeeman Jack O'Sullivan, of Oak Lawn, filed objections against incumbent Worth Township Trustee Jack Lind and incumbent Worth Township Assessor John Toscas, claiming that holding two elected positions in the same township is a conflict of interest.

Lind, of Chicago Ridge, is running for his township trustee seat and is a sitting trustee on the Chicago Ridge Village Board, while Toscas is running for township assessor and is a Crestwood village trustee who is running for mayor.

The Worth Township electoral board, consisting of township Clerk Roger Benson, Trustee Mike Mahoney and Supervisor Jack Murphy voted to keep Lind and Toscas on the April 9 election ballot. The board on Monday determined neither Lind nor Toscas were in violation of state election codes by simultaneously holding two elected offices.

O'Sullivan is a supporter of the Worth Township Community First slate, a political opponent of Lind's and Toscas' party. "[O'Sullivan] is trying to make it a big political thing, but it is really not," Lind said. "It's about service. I'm proud to serve [in both elected positions]. I love working with the township, and I was born and raised in Chicago Ridge, so I am really active in my community."

Toscas said an objection was filed against him because of a concern could assess property values in Worth Township' however, that is the sole responsibility of the Cook County assessor's office.

"We don't assess property at all, ever," Toscas said. "Under the [state] revenue code, in all the other 101 counties other than Cook, they do assess property. In Cook County, the code says that the only person that can assess property is the Cook County assessor."

In his role as township assessor, Toscas' main job is to help people find information, he said.

"The most important thing is that we let people know our office exists, because when I took over in 2000, no one even knew it existed," Toscas said. "We help people file appeal with the Cook County assessor's office and the Cook County Board of Review. Some people come in and say, my tax bill is too high, so we look for homeowner or senior exemptions."

A senior citizen in Worth Township might pay $4,000 in property taxes, but his neighbor with a senior exemption may only pay $1,000, Toscas said. His office can help people find exemptions to lower their taxes.

"We have no authority whatsoever to assess any property," Toscas said. "If I was in one of the other 101 counties, and I wanted to run for trustee, I could not. Because I am in Cook County and I don't assess property, there is no conflict whatsoever."

Lind has served as a Worth Township trustee since 2000 and was appointed to his trustee seat on the Chicago Ridge Village Board in 2011. He is the former public works director in Chicago Ridge. Toscas has served as the Worth Township assessor since 2000 and a Crestwood village trustee since 2011.