Election Update - False Claims Regarding the Mailing of Ballots Prior to February 9, 2023
The Election Committee has received several protests related to false accusations being made by members of the Second City slate that the mailing of the ballots prior to February 9, 2023 was authorized by John Catanzara to “rig” the election. Due to the serious nature of these accusation, the Election Committee prepared this notification to state, unequivocally, that John Catanzara played no role in the Committee’s decision to authorize the mailing of the ballots prior to February 9, 2023. Below are the FACTS:
- The Election Committee initially set “on or about February 9, 2023” as the mailing date due to the printer being unable to guarantee that it could complete and mail the ballots any sooner than that date;
- In mid-January, the printer advised the Election Committee that it needed the final ballot candidate listing as soon as possible in order to complete and mail the ballots by the February 9, 2023 target date. This was announced at the Candidate’s meeting on January 17, 2023 and the meeting was paused to allow each candidate or their designee to review and approve how the candidate’s name would appear on the ballot. That information was then forwarded to the printer immediately after the candidate’s meeting;
- After the Nomination meeting and including at the Candidate’s meeting, the Election Committee heard concerns from the membership, including candidates from both slates, that the February 9 mailing date did not provide sufficient time for members to receive, review, and return their ballot by March 3, 2023:
- On January 23, 2023, the Election Committee authorized the printer to mail the ballots immediately upon completion. THE ELECTION COMMITTEE DID NOT CONSULT WITH, OR NOTIFY, ANY CANDIDATE OF ITS DECISION;
- During the evening of January 30, 2023, the Election Committee learned that the printer completed the ballots and had delivered them to the post office earlier that day;
- On January 31, the Election Committee posted a notice on the FOP, Lodge 7 website notifying the membership of the mailing of the ballots;
- In response to protests related to the mailing of the ballots prior to February 9, 2023, the issue was submitted to the Independent Election Judge who issued his decision on February 1, 2023. The Election Committee posted a notice that same day on the FOP, Lodge 7 website which included a summary of the Independent Election Judge’s decision;
- On February 2, 2023, approximately 24 hours after the posting of the summary on the FOP Lodge 7 website, Bob Bartlett issued a text message to multiple recipients making the false accusation that Catanzara “is trying to rig the election” with respect to the ballots being mailed prior to February 9;
- On February 3, 2023, the Election Committee posted a notice on the FOP Lodge 7 refuting Bartlett’ s accusation and published the full Independent Election Judge’s decision which explained, in detail, the facts related to the mailing of the ballots prior to February 9, 2023;
- On February 3, 2023, over 8 hours after the decision of the Independent Election Judge was posted, Rick King, who is a member of the Second City Slate, sent an email to multiple recipients repeating a similar false claim that Catanzara "had the ballots sent out 10 days before they were supposed to be according to the election rules";
- The Committee provided both Bartlett and King with the opportunity to respond, in writing, and provide any support for their claims;
- The Committee received a response from Bartlett in which he stated that his team compiled the phone numbers from his team’s personal mobile phone contacts. At this point, the Committee is satisfied with Bartlett’s explanation. Further, the Committee has since learned that individuals who are not members of FOP, Lodge 7 received the Bartlett text message, which further supports the conclusion that the FOP Lodge 7 list was not utilized by Bartlett.
- Bartlett further responded that his claim was his “opinion” and did not provide any facts to support his opinion.
- King did not submit any response to the Committee.
This Election Committee collectively has over 95 years of membership within FOP Lodge 7 and each of us has known most, if not all, of the candidates that are running for elected office for many years. We have served the Lodge in various capacities under multiple administrations. Going forward, if false claims continue to be disseminated by candidates, the Election Committee will have no alternative but to consider disqualification
The 2023 Election Committee urges all candidates to focus on what they believe are the issues facing FOP Lodge 7 and their plan to address those issues.
The 2023 Election Committee
Shawn Hallinan, FOP Lodge 7 member since 1994
Cora Hudik, FOP Lodge 7 member since 1981
Tim Fitzpatrick, FOP Lodge 7 member since 1998