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Gardner school board member submits resignation

After county state's attorney's office accuesd him of living out of district

Published: Saturday, Dec. 28, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT

GARDNER – After months of stating the Grundy County State’s Attorney’s Office was wrongly accusing him of living outside of the district, Gardner Grade School District board member Gary Morris has submitted his resignation.

The state’s attorney’s office filed a complaint in August against Gary Morris, known as Nick Morris, stating the District 72C board member does not live in the school district, and asked for his resignation.

Morris originally responded that 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.

In the complaint, Assistant State’s Attorney Perry Rudman stated Morris lists his home address on a warranty deed as 607 Westshire Drive in Joliet. Morris argued in his case filings he owns multiple homes, but the Gardner address is his legal residence.

But in court Friday morning, Rudman told Judge Lance Peterson, Morris submitted a signed resignation letter to Rudman on Thursday. He said Morris said he also submitted his resignation at the school.

Morris was not present in court Friday and did not return calls. Calls to Superintendent Tony Whiston and School Board President Brian Hansen for confirmation of this also were not returned.

Rudman told the judge the superintendent is out of town and a special meeting is supposed to be called to accept the resignation when he returns. In the meantime, Rudman requested a later court date to ensure the resignation is accepted before dismissing the charges.

“I fear he’ll attempt to withdraw his resignation,” he told the judge.

The next court date is set for 9 a.m. Jan. 24.

Rudman said after the court hearing if Morris’ resignation is accepted, he will dismiss the case against Morris.

“As I understand it, he was a board member for a lot of years. The public elected him. It’s sad he doesn’t live down there,” he said.

Morris was due in court Dec. 19, but the day before he called the state’s attorney’s department and stated he would not be in court and that he would be submitting his resignation to the school board Dec. 19 evening. But Morris did not submit his resignation or go to the school board meeting, Rudman said.

Because of this, on Dec. 23 Rudman asked to have Morris held in contempt of court for misleading the court and to punish him with a $1,000 fine and/or serve jail time. Three days later Rudman received the resignation letter.

Once Morris’ resignation is official, the case will be dismissed all together, Rudman said.

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