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Grundy County asks to remove school board member

GARDNER – A judge is being asked to remove a Gardner Grade School District board member because the Grundy County State’s Attorney’s office believes the man no longer lives in the school district.

Gary N. Morris, known as Nick Morris, said he lives at 207 E. Odell St. in Gardner, which is the address on his driver’s license, voter’s registration card and checking account, according to evidence he submitted.

But assistant state’s attorney Perry Rudman has submitted evidence from the Will County Recorder’s Office with Morris’ name, allegedly in his handwriting, on a warranty deed for a residence at 607 Westshire Drive in Joliet, according to the complaint.

“Public policy requires the person reside in the district of the school board they were elected to,” Rudman said.

A person living outside of the district may take a different point of view as someone who has a financial investment to the district through their taxes, he said.

Morris said he lives in Gardner, but owns property in Will County. He has been on the Gardner Grade School District 72C Board of Education for almost two decades, with a brief break a few years ago, Morris said.

He is still currently active on the school board.

If the judge sides with the state’s attorney’s office and ousts Morris from the board, the court could impose a $25,000 fine, according to the case file.

It also states Morris received a letter requesting his resignation; he has continued to occupy the elected position. On Sept. 23, Morris requested the case be dismissed against him arguing that he provided the legal documentation proving he was a Gardner resident.

Rudman responded the county was moving forward with its complaint.

The parties met in court Oct. 1 and the court granted the state’s attorney’s motion to strike Morris’ motion to dismiss. Morris was given 28 days to respond to the complaint to move forward with Morris’ removal from the board and fine. On Tuesday, Morris said he had not yet responded.

The case is set for a status hearing Nov. 7 before Judge Lance Peterson.

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