By Steve Metsch
Longtime Moraine Valley Community College board member Joe Murphy, whose candidacy had been challenged earlier this year, easily won re-election last week.
Murphy received 13,363 votes in the hotly contested race, according to unofficial totals from the Cook County Clerk’s office.
He was one of three people, among eight seeking election, who won six-year terms on the board in the election that was held April 2.
In the race for the two-year seat, Patricia Joan Murphy was the winner.
Earlier this year, Murphy and four other candidates were challenged by a man who formerly worked for the Village of Orland Hills.
Murphy said at the time that Orland Hills Mayor Kyle Hastings was trying to gain control of the community college board, a charge Hastings denied.
Also elected to six-year terms were Bernadette Barrett, 14,054 votes, and Beth McElroy Kirkwood, with 12,199 votes, according to the county clerk’s office.
Incumbents Murphy and Sandra Wagner are among the five who were challenged along with Linda Ehlers, Brendan Houlihan and Shadin Maali.
Craig Schmidt, a former Orland Hills village employee, was the notary public on nomination petitions filed by Barrett, Kirkwood, and Jaclyn O’Day, none of whom he challenged. He challenged the other candidates.
Murphy had said that Barrett and Kirkwood were supported by Hastings, which he denied.
In January, Murphy said: “He’s got his daughter (Kimberly Hastings) there already. Two years ago, he got his assistant village administrator, Brian O’Neill, elected to the board.
“What he’s doing is he’s shooting to pick up more seats,” Murphy said. “Kyle has been very involved with this. He hand-delivered the petitions for the candidates he is running.”
Hastings in January said “I don’t think so” when asked if he was trying to get his people elected to the board, or trying to have others removed.
“I don’t think they’re my people,” he said. “They’re representative of hundreds of people. They’re from Palos. They’re from Orland. It’s a good representation of the district.”